Dark Chambers

Name:
Dark Chambers
Company: Atari
Model #:
CX-26151
Programmer:
Adam Clayton (Sculptured Software)
Year: 1988
Released?
Yes
Notes:
Originally called Dungeon

 

At first glance it's easy to pass Dark Chambers off as a mere Gauntlet clone.  However did you know that it's Gauntlet that's the clone?  For you see, Dark Chambers is actually based off an 1983 APX (Atari Program Exchange) game by John Palevich called Dandy.  Two years later Ed Logg created his arcade mega hit Gauntlet, using Dandy as inspiration.  John was none too happy about this and planned to file a lawsuit, but later settled out of court (rumor has it he received a free Gauntlet machine).  A few years later in 1988, Atari re-published Dandy for the 2600, 7800, and XE under the name Dark Chambers.  This time however Atari gave John proper credit and no lawsuits were filed.

 

Although Dark Chambers may be similar to Gauntlet, it's actually a little less complex.  The first (and probably most noticeable difference) is that Dark Chambers only supports two players at once instead of four.  Also of note is that the players are the same, there are no special job classes in DC.  Dark Chambers also lacks the special power ups and theme levels that made Gauntlet so interesting.  There are no rebounding shot amulets, no "Don't touch any food" levels, and sadly no fire breathing dragons.

 

So what does Dark Chambers have?  Just about everything else Gauntlet does.  Players must work their way through twisty mazes, shooting (throwing daggers) at monsters and their generators, while trying to collect treasures and food.  There are keys and locked doors, food and poison, and even bombs (which take the place of potions) that can kill all monsters on the screen.

 

 

Although Dark Chambers doesn't have the fancy power ups that Gauntlet does, there are still three basic power ups to collect.  There are Guns to increase your firing speed, Daggers to increase the power of your shots, and Shields to help reduce the amount of damage you take.

 

 

One new twist that Dark Chambers adds are traps.  Traps look like squares with X's through them, and will damage your player if you walk through them.  Unfortunately most of the time, traps just happen to be right in the way of the good treasure, so you're going to have to decide just how badly you want it.

 

 

Although Dark Chambers is an amazing feat of programming for the 2600, the graphics are somewhat lacking.  Enemies tend to look a bit blocky, and there seems to be a distinct lack of variety at times.  Still, Dark Chambers did its best to try and bring the 2600 into the modern age with level intermission titles, simultaneous two player action, a snazzy title screen, large open levels, and other features not often seen in 2600 games.  Although it never achieved quite the fame as its predecessor (successor?), Dark Chambers is a fun cooperative maze crawl on a system that was far too lacking in adventure games.

 

Version Cart Text Description
11/22/85   Early Title Screen

 

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