|Originally called Excalibur
In 1982 an innovative company named Arcadia developed what would become
the best 2600 accessory ever created. This accessory not only allowed
games to be loaded from tapes (a much cheaper format than cartridges),
but added a whopping 6K of memory to the 2600 (bringing the total up to
8K). Not only did this allow for more complex games (multiple levels
could easily be loaded from the tape), but the extra memory allowed programmers
to create better more detailed graphics. What is this miracle device
I speak of? Why it's the Supercharger of course! And without
the miracle of the Supercharger, a game like Dragonstomper would never
have been possible.
Often referred to as Dragon Warrior 0.5, Dragonstomper is the only true
RPG for the 2600 (and no games like Adventure don't count!). Not
only is Dragonstomper an intriguing multi-screened adventure game, but
it also allows the player to fight monsters and gain experience using
a turn based combat system. While it may not be on the same level
as the complex RPG's of today, Dragonstomper is amazingly impressive considering
that it's running on an Atari 2600.
You are the Dragonstomper (how exactly does one stomp a
dragon?). The king has summoned you to dispatch the evil dragon
and return peace to the land (peace is so overrated.). However even
with your fabled powers you are not yet powerful enough to take on the
dragon. You must first explore the countryside, gaining strength,
experience, and most importantly gold! For without gold you will
not be able to recruit men or buy items to help you defeat the dragon.
The Enchanted Countryside
You will spend most of the game here in the enchanted countryside.
Your goal here is explore the region, finding useful items and earning
gold. As you explore you will be attacked by the various beasts
the roam the countryside, this is a good thing. By fighting monsters
you will gain gold, and items such as keys, rings, potions, axes, and
shields which will help you in the final battle against the dragon. You
start out with 23 strength points which are used to calculate how much
damage you do to an enemy, but also double as your hit points. Strength
points will return slowly over time, but you can gain more by donating
money to the church. Your character also starts out with 23
dexterity points, which are used to help you escape traps, dodge enemy
attacks, and run from fights. Both strength and dexterity max out
Scattered throughout the countryside are various structures
which you can enter such as castles, temples, huts, and churches. Usually
entering one of these buildings will result in being attacked, but occasionally
you will find a useful item. Since theft is a problem even in this
enchanted realm, most structures are locked and require a key to open.
You can find keys occasionally after fighting a monster. Take
special caution around castles since they have traps around them, getting
caught in a trap will cost you strength and dexterity points. Also
keep an eye out for the flashing castle for it contains a special item
you will need to get into the village.
As you journey through the countryside you will start to
acquire a large cache of items. These items can be used to increase
or decrease your strength and dexterity stats, but using them is a gamble.
The effect an item has is random until you use it for the first
time (i.e. if the cross decreased your strength, each subsequent cross
will do the same until you reset the game). The random items are:
the cross, ring, potion, charm, and staff, while the set items are: the
key, ID scroll, shield, and axe. The axe will increase your attack
power (very useful) and allow you to break down doors (talk about breaking and entering), while the shield can be used to trigger the programmers
initials (use it while an axe symbol is on the screen).
To enter the village you will have to get past the bridge
guard. There are three ways to do this: bribe him (this takes 600
gold), give him the ID scroll (found in the countryside), or fight him.
Fighting the bridge guard is almost impossible and not recommended
unless you have at least three gain strength items in reserve. Once
you make your way past the guard you will enter the oppressed village.
The Oppressed Village
This is your one and only chance to stock up on supplies
and hire some help. There are several shops here such as a magic
shop, trade shop, and a hospital. You can also hire a warrior or
two (the little guys marching through town) to help you fight the dragon.
Once your ready, go down to the gate and prepare to enter the dragon's
In the Magic Shop you can buy powerful scrolls which will
come in use against the dragon.
||Powerful offensive spell
||Lights up the cave for a brief moment
||Causes enemy attacks to miss
||Removes magic barriers
||Temporarily stuns enemies
||Allows you to see traps
The Trade Shop is your basic item shop, and is full of
||Lights up traps in the cave
||Needed to safely enter the dragon's lair
||Used to hire warriors (cheaper than gold)
||Same use as rope
||Used to hire warriors (cheaper than gold)
||Long distance weapon
As you may have guessed the hospital is full of healing
The Dragon's Cave
This is the final part of your journey. The dragon's
cave is full of nasty traps, so make sure you use a vision scroll to get
around them. Also found in the cave are poison darts which must
be avoided or you'll be poisoned, if this happens use the medicine to
cure yourself. Once you find the hole leading to the dragon, you
will automatically use the rope or chain to descend.
Fighting the dragon can be a frightening prospect. Make
sure you use the stun spell to stop the dragon from countering, and then
hit him with your blast spells. If the dragon wakes up he'll go
after your warriors (assuming you hired any), so attack him from a distance
with your longbow until he goes down. Once the dragon is dead,
grab the amulet and you'll win the game. Now sit back and reflect
on your amazing accomplishment, you've beaten one of the hardest games
on the 2600.
||Excalibur Version 39
||A mid level work in progress
||Excalibur Version 48
to 2600 Software