Dark Chambers

Dark Chambers
Company: Atari
Model #:
Year: 1988
Based on the 8-bit computer game Dandy


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.  Dark Chambers also adds hearts to the game mix.  Hearts are basically a continue feature which allows the second player to be revived when they die.  However if a player shoots a heart when someone is not dead, the heart will turn into an indestructible monster generator.  How's that for a nasty surprise?



Although Dark Chambers was obviously supposed to be the 7800's Gauntlet game, according to old Master lists the original Gauntlet was actually a planned future title.  Why they scrapped and replaced Gauntlet with Dark Chambers is anyone's guess, but rumors have it that an actual Gauntlet prototype is out there somewhere.  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 two player games.


Version Cart Text Description
8/12/88 DK. Chambers C300051-037B 7800 8/12/88 Final Version


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