Elf Adventure

Name:
Elf Adventure
elf1
Company: Atari
Model #:
Unknown
Programmer:
Warren Robinett
Year: 1983
Released?
No
Notes:
Planned to be a sequel to Adventure

 

A sequel to Adventure?  Yes it appears that Warren was tinkering with a sequel to his smash hit Adventure in his spare time while working at The Learning Company which he founded in 1980 after leaving Atari.   It’s unknown if Atari actually ordered a sequel or if Warren was doing this on his own and hoping to sell it to Atari.  However since Atari was considering calling SwordQuest: Earthworld Adventure II (and Fireworld Adventure III) the later scenario sounds more plausible.  Either way, this prototype has an air of mystery about it.

elf2

 

This version of Elf Adventure is obviously in a very early state and appears to be graphically quite similar to the original Adventure.  The first thing to note is that this prototype uses the right joystick instead of the left.  It’s not known why this is, but this is most likely a bug in the code.  There are six rooms to explore in this prototype, but four of them loop endlessly giving the impression of a bigger area.  There are a few items scattered which you can pick up and drag around plus two odd egg shaped figures (more on them later).

Shield This appears to be a shield (or possibly a ring).  It can be found in the starting room. 
Axe
There are two axes in the game.  The first one can be found in the room north of the starting room being carried by the white figure, while the second can be found in the room north of that.
Cloak This appears to be a cloak or armor.  It can be found in the room north of the starting room being carried by the yellow figure.

Helmet


This appears to be a helmet.  It is found one room north and one room east/west of the starting room.


Normally the two figures will float serenely across the screen in an endless loop, but if you steal one of the items they hold they will briefly take on a shocked expression then turn angry.  Once they turn angry they will pursue the player and attempt to take the item back.  However they will always pick up the first item they come across which will give them either a happy or sad expression which is determined by some unknown variable.  The items themselves do not appear to do anything with the exception of the axe.


So what about those axes?  As it turns out they can actually be used as weapons!  If one of the figures picks up the axe it will attempt to throw it at you.  If you are hit an X will appear on your square and you will be stunned for a few moments, but if the figure misses with his throw the axe will appear in another room.  The same rules apply to the player, they can attempt to throw the axe at one of the figures by pressing the fire button while pushing the joystick in the direction they wish to throw (it may take a few tries to work).  If the axe hits a figure they will take on a frustrated looking expression and be stunned for a few moments before resuming their pursuit.  This is about all the gameplay this is in this early prototype.  You can kill the figures multiple times or collect all the items into one room, but the game does not seem to have an ending.


As this is an early prototype there are several bugs in the code.  Throwing the axe is difficult to pull off and doesn’t always work.  If one of the figures hits you with the axe, they will immediately grab it and try to kill you again leading to an endless death loop unless you’re quick enough to get away.  The player can get stuck in walls when moving between rooms which necessitates a reset when encountered.  Lastly the player can pick up and drop the figures themselves along with any item they’re carrying.


As it stands there really isn’t much to Elf Adventure.  It’s a nice enhancement to Adventure (the axes are a nice touch), but it’s still far too early along to form any real opinion.  It’s unknown how far along the game eventually progressed before being cancelled, but given the last known prototype (5-25-83) and the growth of The Learning Company around this time it's doubtful it got much further.  We can only guess at what would have been.


Version Cart Text Description
4/22/83 Elf Adv 22 APR 83
Very early prototype
5/2/83
Somewhat playable early version
5/25/83
Last known version

 

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