SwordQuest FireWorld

Name:
SwordQuest FireWorld
Company: Atari
Model #:
CX-2657
Programmer:
Tod Frye
Year: 1982
Released?
Yes
Notes:
Originally titled Adventure III

 

The second game in the ill-fated SwordQuest series (see EarthWorld for more information), FireWorld is the worst of the three games which is saying alot given how bad the other two are.  The main problem with FireWorld is that the action sequences are very difficult (much harder than the other two games), and the room structure is based on the Tree of Life (found in the Jewish Kaballah), which most people aren't familiar with.  FireWorld is also riddled with bugs making an already difficult game nearly impossible.  It seems Atari wanted to get the second game out as soon as possible at the cost of proper gameplay testing.

 

The storyline for FireWorld continues the adventures of Torr and Tarra as they search for the Sword of Ultimate Sorcery (no I'm not making this up).  Konjuro relates to King Tyrannus how the twins' adoptive parents were also killed, and how they became the fugitive thieves they were when we first met them.  Then Tyrannus (through a spell), offers the twins part of his rule but of course they refuse and are dumped into FireWorld.  The Twins split up in search of water.  Using the Talisman, Torr summons Mentorr who reveals the Chalice of Light and says it will quench his thirst (and more).  Both Tarra and Torr discover armor and weapons, which they use to dispatch various creatures that are attempting to kill them.  They are eventually reunited and pass through a gateway of flame to find a chalice.  Startled by a voice behind them, Torr drops the chalice, which shatters.  They turn to see Herminus drinking from the true Chalice.  He hands it over to them, stating that he no longer needs it, and an image of the crown can be seen at the bottom.  After Hermanus's departure, the twins quench their thirst and the Chalice begins to grow.  They mysteriously find themselves inside the Chalice, which is the gateway to WaterWorld

 

FireWorld has more action sequences than EarthWorld, but many of them are buggy and completing them is more a matter of luck than skill.  All the action sequences suffer from poor collision detection and graphic glitches.  The more clues you reveal, the harder the action sequences become making many of them unwinnable past a certain point in the game.  Are we having fun yet?

 

 

Goblins In this test you have to catch little falling blobs (goblins) in a box.  The more goblins you catch, the faster they fall.  If you miss eight goblins you will fail the test, but there's a bug in the game that causes you to miss a Goblin as soon as the test starts so you really only get seven misses.  Having the Amulet will make this test slightly easier.
 

 

Snakes This is the easiest of the six action sequences, and is actually almost fun to play (almost).  In this test you control a bird that must shoot the snakes that come crawling out of the walls.  If a snake hits your bird you fail the test.  The only snag in this test is that you must actually be moving the direct you want to shoot, which can be frustrating at times.  There is also a bug that sometimes doesn't make you bird appear when the test starts.  There are no help items for this test, but you really don't need any anyway.
 

 

Knives

Similar to the Goblin test, except this time you control the knives instead of the box.  Beating this test seems to be mostly a matter of luck than skill, as you obviously can't get a screenful of knives into a tiny box in the center of the screen.  Having the Shoes of Stealth will make this test easier (I guess you sneak up on the knives).
 

 

FlameDragons

This test shows a bunch of "FlameDragons" flying around the screen breathing fire at you.  You must throw your little knife at the dragons in an attempt to kill them.  The problem is usually when you're about to shoot the knife a dragon it decides to breath fire, killing you instantly.  You only get one life in this test, so make it count!  Having the Dagger will make this test easier, but not by much.  Occasionally a beam of fire will shoot out from the bottom of the screen when you start the test, killing you before you can even move.  Another fun bug from the friendly folks at Atari.
 
Firebirds This test is the absolute worst!  Not only is it overly difficult, it's so buggy it's almost unplayable.  The screen is very similar in appearance to the Salamander test, except this time you're a long pole (hehe.) that must avoid touching the falling Firebirds.  The Firebirds fall at a frantic rate making for many impossible to avoid collisions.  If you hit eight Firebirds you fail the test.  The Firebirds have a nasty habit of changing to obnoxious colors during the course of the game making them almost invisible at times.  The screen will also appear to jump from time to time since the display code for this test is very buggy.  Having the Cloak of Invisibility will supposedly make this test easier, but I haven't seen any evidence it does anything.
Salamanders Be thankful this test only appears in one room, it's hard as hell.  The Salamanders test is similar to the Firebirds, except the Firebirds have been replaced by rotating knives of different sizes (Salamanders).  The jumping screen bug from the Firebirds test is very bad in this test and makes an already difficult test much harder.  Having the Leather Armor will make this test easier.

 

There are many items in FireWorld, but only a few of them have a secondary use.

Amulet
Makes the Goblins easier
Cloak of Invisibility
Makes the Firebirds easier
Chalice
Opens up hidden passageways
Dagger
Makes the Flamedragons easier
Leather Armor
Makes the Salamanders easier
Shoes of Stealth
Makes the Knives easier

 

The following items don't have any secondary use, but are used to trigger some of the clues.

Shield
Rope
Talisman of Passage
Oil Lamp
Water
Ring
Food
Warrior's Sword
Short Sword

 

Unlike EarthWorld, the clues for FireWorld are simply numbered 00 trough 09 and don't seem to correspond to pages in the comic book (making them useless).  Players had to look through the comic book and guess at which words were the correct ones for the phrase.  Another example of how this game wasn't properly tested before release.  Another oddity in Fireworld is the ability to "warp" through the corners of various rooms.  This can be accomplished by standing in a corner and moving the joystick in a clockwise direction.  If you do it correctly your character will be sucked through the wall into the next room.  It's unknown if this was put in by design or is the result of a programming bug.  The "warp" is not mentioned in the instruction manual, but it seems too convenient to be a simple bug.  Perhaps it was a shortcut left in by Tod while he was programming?

 

FireWorld is quite simply one of the worst 2600 games ever made.  It's difficult, not even remotely fun to play, and has no redeeming features (especially now that the contest is over).  It's hard to believe Atari let a game this buggy out the doors, it's as if they didn't even bother to playtest the game.  Perhaps Atari was feeling the pressure to release the next game in the series as quickly as possible and cut a few corners?

 

Version Cart Text Description
?????? SwordQuest II FIREWORLD Cartridge Final Version

 

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