Adventure 2600 Reboot
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5  |  A Bit of a Misadventure...
Darryl B. , 5/17/2009 8:52:09 PM

Adventure 2600 Reboot title screen - fatmanadventuretitlescreen.jpg

Adventure is one of the most beloved games of the entire Atari 2600 lineup. Even to this day there are many hacks on the Atari Age website for Adventure to play on a 2600 emulator, along with a “Quake Adventure”, and other Adventure-related stuff.

Which that includes this update as well.

In the original game, your character, as a square (ahhh, those were the blocky-graphic days), had to find a magic chalice and bring it back to the gold castle to win the game. In your way were two dragons that looked like ducks (again, the oh-so-great graphics from back then) and a maze to get lost in, but you also had a trusty sword to kill the dragons with, a magnet to attract items you couldn’t reach that you needed, and a bridge for shortcuts.

Granted, that was the first game on the cartridge; after that, the difficulty level was raised a bit by playing the second game, which the kingdom was expanded then with bizarre catacombs where their paths were obscured and difficult to navigate (until you got used to them), an extra castle and two more rooms were added, the Red Dungeon in the black castle was pretty much the same as the confusing catacombs, and the most fearsome dragon of them all, Rhindle, the red one, was also included, as he moved fast and chomped down on you quicker than the other two dragons (oh yes, the dragons can eat you).

And there was the blasted bat, who would steal your objects, which was pretty infuriating.

Game three was the same as game two, although all items were placed in random areas each time, making for excellent replay value, and many games only took a few minutes each for the seasoned player.

So, I was actually looking forward to this ‘reboot’ of the game. Of course the graphics were improved, as your character (although I was a little disappointed it wasn’t made into a square, but it resembles the guy from the Sega Master Game Ys The Vanished Omens) is actually a person this time around, the dragons actually look like dragons, and the magnet looks more like a magnet. Even though I liked the way the castles looked in the original, they were greatly improved here, and the labyrinth now has the very original touch of having a “sea” look to it, complete with seagulls and all (you’ll have to see it to see what I mean). The chalice looks cool too, although at first I was disappointed with it, since it’s smaller, but I grew to like it though, along with several music pieces added (the original was very quiet with very few sounds) that will go through your head hours after you quit playing this update.

There’s only a few minor problems with the remake, since there’s no “two or more objects allows you to pass through dead dragons blocking your way and irritating you” any more (due to the flicker problem in the original), which, if a dragon is blocking your path this time around, you’re pretty screwed. The bridge is also more difficult to place and you’re more likely to get stuck somewhere, but there’s the “classic bridge” option you can activate in the menu screen though, along with a few other minor quibbles that escape my mind at the moment.


Check out how the White Castle looks now! (Ok, it - fatmanadventurewhitecastle.jpg

Then with the other two games, the catacombs are made into an outdoor forest, complete with unseen creatures that growl at you when you walk through their territory. The Red Dungeon also looks very much like a dreary dungeon, and the white castle is now the “ice castle”, which looks GREAT! There’s also a nice eight-bit type cinematic ending when you beat the game too. On the flip side there’s a few bugs, mostly in regards to the bridge and the bat freezing in place occasionally (plus the magnet doesn’t attract all objects on a screen at the same time, unlike on the original), but nothing that really destroys the gameplay with...well, *almost* nothing...

Unfortunately, one, and I mean just ONE thing got screwed up, and that was the damn bat, as it was made so much more incredibly infuriating than he already was.

He steals stuff left and right. It’s admitted on the official web site of this remake that he was purposely made more difficult in this update. There is a much less sense of continuity with him as well, since you can get mugged by him from, say, the catacombs, come out, run into him again at the gold castle, then AGAIN in the freakin’ labyrinth. I haven’t been this infuriated over a game in years and years and years; if there’s ever a time the bat needed to be killed, it was definitely here on this update. And most of the time you can’t grab and hold onto him to use like a key to unlock a castle with (oh yeah, he can get into castles now too...great), he gets away almost every time now. It’s a huge load of infuriating crap.

That’s what killed my rating on this; so much that at first I was thinking about only rating this a 4. However, I raised it up by one since I thought it was more of a fair rating to the casual gamer, rather than a hardcore one like myself, as I was trying to figure out how to unlock all the extra modes, as playing this over and over just made my experience with this "reboot" worse and worse.

Almost none of the extras are worth it either: the “2.5" quest just seems like game 3 to me (random object placement), there’s the original “duck” mode (dragons go back to looking like ducks) and the original game mode (ditto, most of the original graphics are back), and on the “H” quest, I assume the ‘h’ means “hell” (literally! You’ll see why), as it seems that the green and red dragons are always in the labyrinth guarding the bridge (for some reason, as the red dragon used to guard the white key and chalice only in the original game) and your sword is always locked up in the Ice Castle. Oh gee, big deal!

Where’s a new kingdom? Ok, I don’t know much about programming, maybe this would be a bit difficult to hack. So why hack it up? How hard would it be to place a teleporter somewhere that just TAKES you to a new kingdom? I want a blue or purple castle, dammit! The only new worthwhile trick on here is getting the dot like on the original game and seeing the new surprise in that room, which shows a bunch of consoles rendered in eight bit (mostly Sega and Nintendo consoles), which is pretty cool. Other than that, the other unlockable secret stuff is pretty useless, if you ask me.

I’d just download this one for a look around the new/old kingdom. The bat just turned me off so freakin’ much I couldn’t even think of many sarcastic things to say on this one.

Other than that, you’re better off with some of the aforementioned Atari Age hacks and the Adventure 2 homebrew for the Atari 5200, I’ve heard rave reviews about that one. Seems like the original Adventure spirit was kept in that one, even with gamers waiting years for it to be completed. 5/10



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