|Adam Clayton (Sculptured Software)
|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
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
||Early Title Screen
to 2600 Software