Sunday, January 29, 2012

Nethack Tileset

I did not make this tileset, but it's an awesome example of roguelike graphics. Who needs animations? Tiled RPGs all the way.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Ms. Pac-Man High Scores and a Crazy Ms. Pac-Man Sticker

I know I've posted stuff like this in the past, but for some reason I feel like I've never posted this one. If you search 8bitcity's Youtube, you can find some videos of old 100k+ Ms. Pac-Man games and other fun stuff as well.

Below is the Ms. Pac-Man video, enjoy!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Another NESTalgia Screenshot!

An awesome NESTalgia screenshot of a lot of the players (But not nearly everyone!) with whom I used to play. Holler if you see yourself, you probably look a lot different now!

I'm the Fighter looking sick in red.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Song of the Week: Lufia & the Fortress of Doom Town Theme

Lufia has the perfect town theme: happy and fun. That's why it's this week's "Song of the Week." We continue hope for the VC release of this most epic of RPGs.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Pixel Art: Star Quest 2 Mock-Up

This is somewhat interesting: an old promo I made for Star Quest 2, a game which is still in the early stages of brainstorming development. The idea was to follow Princess as the story continues...

I really like the style I used for this sprite, and I think it would suit Star Quest 2 well.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Pixel Art: Emulation Arcade Wallpaper

A virtual arcade wallpaper. The idea is that you can place icons inside the screens of the arcade machines, and they should line up in Windows.

1280 x 1024 resolution.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Pixel Art: Zelda Atari

Because I did Zelda II in Atari-style the other day, I decided to give the original a try as well. Atari mock-ups are great fun, and I expect to do more of these in the future.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Pixel Art: RPG Sprites 10

The latest in my long-going series of 8-Bit RPG Sprites. Some of these are inspired by Realm of the Mad God, an MMORPG/twin-stick shooter that I plan to review very soon.

The sprite "classes" are:

Knight, Mage, Rogue, Hero
Ranger, Gladiator, Skeleton, Space-Warrior

Friday, January 20, 2012

NESTalgia Screenshots

I played NESTalgia heavily over three months, and it was awesome. I've been playing more Realm of the Mad God recently, and haven't had time to play both. I found these screenshots from 6 months ago on my Desktop and thought I'd post 'em. I wonder how NESTalgia's doing these days; anyone still play?

I've considered getting back into it, but honestly I won't have the time in the next 15 months or so because of work-related issues. NESTalgia was a small community, and I miss the players more than the gameplay, which was solid--but slower-paced than I would have preferred.

NESTalgia is a free 8-Bit MMORPG for Windows/PC. I highly recommend it, and you can search for "nestalgia" on 8-Bit City to find numerous posts I've made about it in the past if you're interested in learning more.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Will.i.Am sums up retro gaming

"I remember Joust and then Q*BertC, right with the graphics started getting better and then there was Pole Position and Mike Tyson Punch-Out. That's when Nintendo started coming in. I loved Duck Hunt. Do you remember Gyromite? What was that all about? And then Zelda came out. That's when I was like it's all about video games. Zelda. Did you save the princess yet? Did you get the fairy? Where's the fairies at? Wow, that was like the dopest. And there was that little pond that you had to go to get some more lives and stuff. I loved that. I mean, that's my childhood from just video games."

My favorite part is when he says, "Wow, that was like the dopest." He also discusses a back alley "arcade" his "friend" used to scam people out of pocket change.

Cool interview, you can read it on of all places.

Pixel Art: Zelda II Atari

Most people don't know that a prototype of Zelda II: The Adventure of Link was developed for the Atari 2600.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012


I'm sure most of you guys have heard about SOPA, a bullshit bill designed to give corporations unlimited power to force the government to shut down websites they don't like.

Under fire, among other things, would be sites like this one that offer things like screenshots, video game music, and remix/pastiche works of original creation. Basically, if SOPA passed, I'd have to seriously consider, not just ceasing production, but permanently deleting most of this site. Then I'd cease production, with my website gutted.

Wikipedia blacked out there site today. No one online supports this bill, but TV, music, and movie conglomerates continue to ruin the world for everyone else. Most people take a tolerant tone on "preventing piracy," but I say fuck the media companies. Their TV, music, games, and movies are total shit. No one cares if you go out of business for peddling lowest-common denominator fluff and rotting peoples' minds for the last 60 years. Its time to move on.

Oh wait, we did. 14 years ago.

Song of the Week: StarTropics 2 - Mike's Theme

When Nintendo offered a refund to all who had purchased the Internet Channel, I didn't know about it for months. When I turned on my Wii, I found 5 free bucks sitting in my Wii Shop Account. I immediately purchased StarTropics 2, and I haven't gotten very far, but it only takes a few minutes before you here Mike's Theme, a great 8-Bit song, and this week's "song of the week." Thanks to StarTropicsKing for uploading.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Berzerk Atari 2600 Review

Berzerk and Frenzy are two of the best video games ever made, but unfortunately Stern went bunk and these classic have not appeared in subsequent anthologies because of licensing issues. Stern launched an agressive marketing campaign to demonstrate how arcade gameplay could exist in the home on the 2600.

This sort of marked the beginning of the end, as home consoles began to make more financial sense to most gamers and children. Nowdays, arcade are relics and littered with ticket games--if they even exist at all.

The only upside is that you can own Berzerk in your home for Atari. The only problem is that this version fails to capture the perfection and depth of the original. It still constitutes a great game in its own right, and it features more options and gameplays than the arcade DIP switches. My personal favorite option is turning evil Otto off, which makes the game much easier and allows for truly epic marathon games.

The original Berzerk featured 64,000 possible mazes, the main drawback of the Atari version is that only a handful of maps exists. Still, you get to lead a lone hero through a nightmarish electric mall avoiding robots and fighting for great justice.

You can score this cart for peanuts, so it's a must for any Atari collection. I just wish this game made it on to some of the anthologies. Considering it hasn't, it might just be the best reason to own an actual 2600.

I'll never get tired of zapping killbots.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Retro City Rampage Still Forthcoming

The long-awaited 8-Bit GTA parody is "almost at the finish line" according to its development blog. I can't wait to get my classic controller on this game. I've actually been watching development since the project was titled "GrandTheftendo" and was a Famicom homebrew project. Thankfully the developer scrapped that idea in favor of the possibilities available in a modern format.

If you wanna see some screenshots, click here.

You can also read the post I made right after E3 about Retro City Rampage.

Hopefully Nintendo won't drag asses with this project, but knowing them, they will. You'll be able to download the game on either the 360 or Wii, and its nice to see cross-platform publishing that includes the Wii.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Pixel Art: RPG Hi-Res Wallpaper

An 8-Bit Dungeon Crawler mock-up wallpaper. Fetures a hero and several enemies. Loosely inspired by Tower of Doom for the Intellivision.

1280x1024 resolution.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

VG Music: Duane and Brando - Dragon Warrior

The Adventures of Duane and Brando were smash Internet stars for a few years. However, life, like so many other video games, got in the way. The two comedic rappers have sense gone their separate ways, but the LP of Devastation, a collection of songs using NES melodies, remains for all to enjoy.

Dragon Warrior is a perfect example of what these guys could do best: turn a classic NES song into a gangsta rap, cuss like hell, and paint a realistic portrait of what the attitudes of video game characters would be like if they existed contemporaneously.

If you like the song, check out their Zelda songs, Mega Man 2 rap, Final Fantasy rap, and just about anything else. It's all gold.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Friday the 13th NES Box Scans

What better way to celebrate Friday the 13th than with a small tribute to the classic NES game. I got this game for free as a kid (along with Karnov) because a cousin didn't like them, or something. I was very young, and I can't exactly remember the circumstances except that I was so young this game scared the crap out of me.

It all worked out for the best, and I grew up loving all the terrible 1980s horror flicks.

Friday the 13th is a solid game, but some people (like the AVGN) seem to hate it. It's not a walk in the park... well actually it is a walk through a park, but its a zombie-infested, siolated camp park. You'll have to explore caves, abandoned houses (in a sort of 1st-person perspective), forests, a lake, and the fear within yourself if you want to conquor one of the most challenging and rewarding popular NES titles.

I didn't beat this game until college, and it took a few days of trying, but I still clearly remember giving Jason the middle finger after so many years of failing to save Crystal Lake.

Tower of Doom Intellivision Manual and FAQ

This is a copy of the manual for Tower of Doom for the Intellivision. Hopefully you are considering tracking the game down, but maybe you're emulating it first to see if it's worth the effort. In either case, if you're starting to play this game, you probably have some questions. Very little documentation exists about this title, and the official manual from is the only really useful source of hard data about the game.

I've copied the manual below to hopefully help newer players get into Tower of Doom. For example, it's got a weapon chart which presumably lists the weapon strength. Additionally, one can see which levels are randomly generated, because this information is not provided on the selection screen, probably due to technical limitations and budget cuts.

This is the official Intellivision Manual, I hope it helps players. I'm considering playing this game a lot and writing a proper FAQ/Walkthrough for this game, but this will have to do for now:

(if you know one that exists, please post it!)

(For 1 Player)

Monsters. Magic. Good. Evil. Strength. Cunning. Traps. Mazes. Prepare
to face the greatest challenge any mortal has ever known -- the
Tower of Doom. Explore the winding corridors of the Tower: collect
precious treasure, discover the secrets of magic artifacts, encounter
the vilest creatures ever unleashed.

Surviving the Tower of Doom requires quick reflexes and quicker
wits. You must learn for yourself how to use many of the items you
will find. You must decide when to fight a monster, and when to
trade treasure for your life. You must maintain your strength,
increase your stamina, and develop your diplomatic skills.

Select your adventure. Select your character. Then prepare to enter
the Tower of Doom!

Insert cartridge (make sure power is OFF). Turn power ON and press
RESET. Title screen will appear. Press any hand controller KEY or the

Select your adventure. In all adventures, you begin at the top of the
Tower of Doom and work your way down through numerous levels of
mazes to freedom. Some adventures have more levels and will take
longer. In some, the mazes and item colors are the same each time; in
others, the mazes and colors are different each time you enter the
Tower (item colors are very important, as will be explained later).
Other features also differentiate the adventures.

The chart below outlines the adventures.

No. of Levels: 6
Mazes: Same each time
Difficulty: Easiest (good introduction to the Tower's secrets. . .)
Color of Items: Same*

No. of Levels: 8, 12 or 20
Mazes: Same each time
Difficulty: Easy
Color of Items: Same*

No. of Levels: 12, 18 or 32
Mazes: Different each time
Difficulty: Medium
Color of Items: Different

No. of Levels: 6, 12, 18 or 32
Mazes: Different each time
Difficulty: Difficult
Color of Items: Different

No. of Levels: 14
Mazes: Different each time
Difficulty: Difficult (each level you descend introduces a new
Color of Items: Same

No. of Levels: 32
Mazes: Different each time
Difficulty: Difficult
Color of Items: Different

No. of Levels: 32
Mazes: Different each time
Difficulty: The Hardest (you must locate the Grail to succeed!)
Color of Items: Different

Press the DISC to cycle through the choices. When the adventure you
want appears on screen, press any SIDE KEY.

* If you assume the character of the Waif or the Barbarian (see
below), the item colors for these adventures will always be different.

Select your character. The character you select will determine your
abilities and the contents of your pack as you begin your adventure.
Strength and stamina are rated from 0 to 18.

There are ten characters you can assume:


Overall, the Warlord, strong and fully equipped, is the easiest
character to begin with. The Waif, weak and poor, is the hardest.
The other characters have varying combinations of strengths and
weaknesses, as you shall discover!

Your screen is divided into several sections, each giving vital

The largest section shows your immediate vicinity within a level,
along with nearby weapons, treasures, doors, traps, stairs, and
monsters! As you explore new areas of a level, the walls of the
corridors and rooms will appear. They remain visible when you
return to areas you've explored. If you come face to face with a
monster, the map is replaced with a view of the battle.

In the upper left corner of the screen is the LEVEL MAP. This map
shows the areas of the level you have explored, with your current
position indicated by a white dot.

At the middle left of the screen are three rows of symbols. You can
use the symbols in the top row to find out your status, to select items
from your pack, to use items, and to open doors and to descend
stairs. The second and third rows show the items you are currently
carrying in your pack.

At bottom , your Hit Points appear as a series of yellow shields
against a black background. These indicate how much injury you can
sustain before dying. You lose Hit Points as you are hurt in battle or
by evil magic; you gain them back over time as you heal. The black
background indicates your POTENTIAL Hit Points, which will increase
as your Stamina and Experience increase. Note: a magic spell can
occasionally make your current Hit Points exceed your potential Hit

In addition to the above information, helpful messages will
frequently appear on the screen, moving slowly from left to right.

The use of your hand controller depends on whether you are
exploring, going through your pack, or engaging in battle. In general,
the controls are:

DISC: MOVE through the maze/RUMMAGE through your pack.
TOP SIDE KEY: USE an item.
BOTTOM LEFT SIDE KEY: DROP an object from your pack.

These are explained in more detail below.


MOVE ABOUT THE MAZE -- Press the DISC in the direction you wish
to move. As you explore new areas, the corridors of the Tower will

currently held item is shown in the third position in the top row of

TO PICK UP AN ITEM -- Walk over it. (If your pack is full, you must
drop an item first.)

your pack by pressing the LOWER LEFT or RIGHT SIDE KEY.


SELECT AN ITEM FROM YOUR PACK -- Press the DISC to move the
HAND SYMBOL (second from left in the top row of symbols) over the
item you want. Once you have selected an item, you can USE it, CASH
it, HOLD it, or DROP it (see below).

SIDE KEY to use the artifact or cash the treasure under the HAND
SYMBOL. Weapons cannot be used while you are in your pack.

HOLD AN ITEM -- When you get out of your pack by pressing the
LOWER RIGHT SIDE KEY, the item under the HAND SYMBOL becomes
the currently held item.

DROP AN ITEM -- Press the BOTTOM LEFT SIDE KEY to drop the item
currently under the HAND SYMBOL. (Note: You can't drop an item if
you are too close to a wall or if the corridor is too narrow.) If you are
engaged in battle, the monster will take the dropped item as a bribe.

OPEN A DOOR (When you are standing at a door) -- Press the DISC to
move the HAND SYMBOL over the DOOR SYMBOL (rightmost in the
top row of symbols). Press either TOP SIDE KEY. You can then enter
the chambers behind the door...or let out what is locked inside!

DESCEND A STAIRCASE (When you are standing over a staircase) --
Press the DISC to move the HAND SYMBOL over the Down Arrow
(rightmost in the top row of symbols). Press either TOP SIDE KEY.
You will descend one level in the Tower. Note: you can not go back up
to previous levels!

over the Question Mark, then press either TOP SIDE KEY. Your
Strength, Stamina, Life Force, Diplomacy, Experience, or Treasure
Score will appear on screen. Press again to see the next statistic.

of your pack by pressing the LOWER RIGHT SIDE KEY. The item under
the HAND SYMBOL becomes the currently held item.

When the map on screen is replaced by a view of you and a monster,
it indicates you are about to engage in battle. . .


ATTACK! -- Press either TOP SIDE KEY to use your currently held
item. If you are holding a weapon, your success will depend upon
your Strength, Stamina, choice of weapon, and the monster itself.
Other objects in your pack may have magic powers you can use
against the creature. If nothing works, retreat! (Note: A successful
battle will increase your strength, but at the cost of your Diplomacy.)

BRIBE THE MONSTER -- Get into your pack (LOWER LEFT or RIGHT
SIDE KEY) and drop an item (see above). The monster will consider
your offering and may let you live. (Whether or not it does, it keeps
the item -- you've lost it.) Its decision will depend upon your
Diplomacy, the worth of the item, and the monster itself. If it accepts
the offering, you may continue through the corridors. If not, try
another bribe, attack, or retreat! (Note: A successful offering will
increase your Diplomacy!)

RETREAT -- Press the LEFT SIDE of the DISC. Once you successfully
retreat, the map reappears. Run away before the monster chases

Throughout the tower, there are Traps and Gas Clouds. Be careful!
Some Traps always affect you, others only occasionally. And you
may be able to time your passage through a Gas Cloud so as to not
interact with it, but for some, interaction is unavoidable. Different
Traps and Clouds have different properties:

Transporter -- Moves you to a new location in the tower level.

Paralysis -- Freezes you for several heartbeats. Keep pushing the
DISC, because you may get paralyzed again if you don't get out

Confusion -- Causes you to walk around baffled -- the DISC does not
respond properly! Wears off in a few heartbeats.

Life Eater -- Reduces your Life Force.

Poison -- Reduces your Stamina.

Fire -- Reduces your Hit Points!

You are not always affected by traps, gasses, and fires. Fires, for
example, will injure you only one out of ten times; the transporter,
on the other hand, always moves you to another location (unless
you're holding a certain Key).

You will encounter monsters throughout your adventure. You will
have to battle some; others must be bribed with treasures. Then
there are times when it's best to run for your life!

There are two ways to fight monsters: with projectile weapons while
exploring, or with hand-held weapons while engaged in battle. You
will have to become experienced at both, since some monsters can
only be killed from a distance, others only from close up.

The results of a battle are determined by your Strength and Stamina,
the strength of the monster, the type of weapon you're using, and
any assisting magic you may have acquired (cloaks that protect,
spells that help defend, etc.). Be careful to keep track of your Hit
Points at the bottom of the screen, as you may get hit several times
before felling a creature.

Successfully defeating a monster by fighting increases your Strength,
while decreasing your Diplomacy.

You can only bribe a monster while engaged in battle. You may
attempt to bribe the monster even if he has started to attack you.
You must get into your pack and drop some item. The monster will
take the item, and, if he likes it, will retreat, leaving you in peace.
Wait for him to walk away! If you walk away from him, he may
become angered and attack!

If he does not retreat, he may accept more treasure - bribes during a
single encounter accumulate, so offering a monster three boots (for
example) may make the monster leave, whereas offering the
monster one dagger may do the same.

It is easier to bribe a monster as your Diplomacy increases. Having
high Diplomacy is the only way to make some monsters accept
anything at all. The monster takes -- and keeps -- the item
regardless of whether or not he decides to let you alone. And there's
one monster that will NEVER leave, no matter how diplomatic you
are, no matter how much treasure you give it.

Surviving a battle by bribing a monster increases your Diplomacy.

Fleeing is often the only way to stay alive. While exploring, it's
simple -- RUN AWAY!!!! During battle, it takes more coordination.
You can always retreat from a battle by moving your hero left. Once
you back away, you are returned to the map where, depending on
the monster, you may have an instant or two to further your escape.
It may take two or three feints to and from battle before you are in a
position on the map to run (if you were backed into a corner, for
example, or were being blocked from a hallway by the monster).

Fleeing does not affect any of your statistics.

You will find many enchanted items in the tower. What these objects
can do is for you to discover.

Potion Bottle
Potion Flask
Mortar & Pestle
Small Scroll
Large Scroll

The magic can have good effects...

Heal your strength...
Make you faster...
Make you invisible...
Freeze or slow monsters...
Teleport you to another room...
Turn off all traps in a tower level...
Increase your potential strength...
Increase all your abilities...
Remove evil spells cast upon you...

Watch out! The magic can also have BAD

Freeze or confuse you...
Make monsters invisible...
Decrease your abilities...

And a magical items can only be used once! Once used, it disappears!

The effects of a magical item may last a few moments, or for an
entire adventure. It may last until counteracted with other magic, or
it may wear off when you descend a level...

Using these items protects you in some way, perhaps by enabling
you to fend off blows or to fight with greater strength.


Be careful! Some rings and cloaks actually CURSE the fighter! Such a
curse can only be removed with the magic scrolls that remove evil


Key -- Different colors of Keys allow you to pass unaffected through
different traps in the mazes. Must be the currently held item to

Boot -- Worthless, except in bribing particularly stupid monsters.

Food -- Keeps your Life Force high. Messages will tell you when you
HAVE to eat ("Life Force low..." "Life Force critical..."). If you ignore
these messages, your strength will start to diminish -- you're dying
of starvation! (Note: The Grail and Rosary Necklace increase your
Life Force.)


These can only be used BEFORE engaging a monster in battle, while
the map is still displayed. (Like all other objects, however, they can
be offered as a bribe during a battle.) Select a Projectile weapon as
your currently held pack item. Pressing either TOP SIDE KEY causes
the weapon to fire in the last direction you ran. The weapon will
continue until it hits something -- hope it's a monster! Watch out!
Depending on the character you have assumed, you may be hurt by
the backlash of the powerful Wand and Holy Handgrenade! (But a
certain Ring can protect you...)

Holy Handgrenade

These weapons can be used several times, but eventually will be
exhausted and disappear.

These can only be used during battle.

Small Sword
Double-Handed Sword

These weapons can be used as many times as needed.

Note that some weapons can be used hand-held or as a projectile.

You will find rare Treasures throughout the tower! You can save
treasures to use as bribes, or you can cash them. Cashing a Treasure
adds its value to your Experience (possibly increasing your potential
Hit Points) and to your Treasure Score. When you cash a treasure, it
disappears. Bonus: Whenever you descend a level, the value of the
treasures currently in your pack (not cashed) is added to your
Treasure Score.

Two treasures, the Rosary Necklace and the Grail, give you maximum
Life Force and have other mysterious magical properties! They take
effect when you cash them.

Note: Monsters are usually impressed by your Treasures and will
take them as bribes. Using a Treasure to bribe a monster, however,
DOES NOT add to your Experience or Treasure Score, and the item is
lost to you!

In order of value...

Gem Necklace
Small Gem
Large Gem
Rosary Necklace

The color of an item determines its type, strength, or worth. In the
NOVICE and TOWER adventures, the colors of all items remains the
same every time. In the more difficult adventures, however, the
colors are different every time you begin. In order to which colors
are more powerful, or what type of spells the colored magic items
bring, you must use them! In all cases, throughout any single
adventure, the colors remain consistent: a brown potion that
increases your speed means that all brown potions for the remainder
of the adventure will increase your speed.

The color of a hand-held weapon denotes its strength. The color of a
projectile weapon denotes its remaining number of uses. Hand-held
items never lose their strength when used in Battle. Projectile
weapons eventually become exhausted with use and disappear.

Identical items of the same color will always conjure the same magic

The color of a treasure determines its value, which either goes into
your score or determines how useful it is to offer to a monster. The
magic associated with the Rosary Necklace and Grail is also
determined by their color.

Listen carefully! You can learn many useful things with your ears.
Certain spells are timed to your slow, rhythmic heartbeats. Different
types of Traps and Gas Clouds have distinctive sounds. And learning
the sounds of battle tells you when you hit the monster and when he
hits you!

Your Hit Points are always displayed at the bottom of the screen.
Other information about your status is found by going into your pack,
placing the HAND SYMBOL over the Question Mark, and pressing
either TOP SIDE KEY.

A number from 3 to 18 indicating how hard you can hit monsters
during battle. Increased by magic and by defeating monsters.

A number from 3 to 18 indicating how durable you are (affects your
potential Hit Points). Increased by magic and by eating food.

A number from 3 to 18 indicating how successful you will be in
bribing monsters. Increased by magic and by successfully bribing

A number from 0 to 255 indicating how long until the next time you
have to eat. You lose one point for every heartbeat. Warning
messages appear as you approach 0. At 0, your Hit Points begin to
disappear as you starve to death. Increased by magic and by eating

A number from 0 to 650,000 representing your success as an
adventurer (affects your potential Hit Points). Increased by magic,
killing monsters, and cashing treasures.

A number from 0 to 650,000 representing the value of treasure you
have cashed (not given up as bribes) and/or successfully carried
from one level to another.

Your adventure ends when you successfully escape at the bottom of
the tower, or when you die. (If you have selected the Grail Quest
adventure, you must find the Grail before you can escape the tower.)

To find out how well you did, you can look at your Treasure Score.
But the REAL test of how well you did is this: Did you
©1987, 1998 Intellivision Productions, Inc.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Pixel Art: TI-Calculator Sprites

This is the first part in a TI-83 (or whatever) RPG sprite sheet. These sprites were created with the utmost in limitations: each sprite is no greater than 8x12 pixels, and all are rendered in 1 color + transparency.

Advanced Dungeons & Dragons: Tower of Doom (Intellivision)

Advanced Dungeons and Dragons: Tower of Doom (later known simply as "Tower of Doom" when licensing issues became a problem) is the third entry in the AD&D series for the Intellivision. The three games were revolutionary console RPGs and each broke new ground in a different way. The first entry, Cloudy Mountain a.k.a. Crown of Kings is more of an Action Adventure game. The second entry, the Treasure of Tarmin, introduces a first person perspective. Tower of Doom scraps that design in favor of hardcore dungeon crawling similar to glorious games like Nethack. One must give credit here, however, considering Tower of Doom was designed with limited resources (unlike Nethack) and release in 1989... which is fairly late considering the previous AD&D game (Tarmin) was released in 1983 (although writtin in 1981).

Tower of Doom, not to be confused with the Capcom beat-em-up, is a standard dungeon crawler. You can fight enemies with ranged attacks, or go into melee combat in first person. You choose one of 10 classes, I prefer Warlord, but others are fun as well, and journey into the dungeon. I've heard the levels are actually 256 floors deep, but I've only gone down 15 floors so far.

As you dive down, you find more items and stronger monsters. It's a dash to the next door in the dungeon, because your health will start to drain if you waste time. You can't save, so you're always going for a high score.

You can also find food, potions, magic spells, weapons, and treasure. Treasure ads to your score, and thankfully disapears once you use it. You can only hold 8 items, so inventory management becomes important, but not impossible. I haven't found any armor, so I'm pretty sure it doesn't exist, although you can find magical rings and treasure crowns, and ghostly spells; the game packs variety.

The dungeon floors are randomly generated on some levels, but the game has pre-existing adventures as well. Honestly, as a serious rougelike player, I prefer the randomly-generated levels.

It's an amazing game, and well worth purchasing Intellivision Lives! or even a real Intellivision to play this game. I don't own a better, faster paced, randomly generated dungeon crawler on the DS.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Beating Tower of Doom Catacombs 12

After a few days of attempts, I finally beat one of the levels in Tower of Doom for the Intellivision. Admittedly, 12 levels is not that bad. I lucked out hard with stair placement and pretty much zoomed out of the tower. Using Warlord was another major advantage (the Warlord starts at level 4 & with tons of gear)

Now I'm working on the deeper mazes, but it seems everytime I'm on a roll my health starts dropping mysteriously. Maybe I'm not eating enough food, but I didn't see any "starving" message. Maybe I'm being poisoned and I just don't know it; in any case these mysterious "health leech" deaths are beginning to become a serious pain. I just wish I knew what was killing me.

My "winning" game was played on the PS2, even though most of my Tower of Dooming takes place on Intellivision Lives! for the DS. Both versions are completely solid; the touchscreen doesn't offer much in terms of gameplay for this title.

The Catacombs are a randomly-generated series of dungeons. It's a little like playing Berzerk the RPG. Supposedly even stronger monsters exist in the later levels; I'm looking forward to giving them a medieval smackdown.

Song of the Week: Activision Anthology PS2 - Squeeze - Pulling Muscles from a Shell

I first heard this song in the Activision Anthology for PS2. Since then I've heard the song playing in Walgreens, Mexican restaurants, and even a few arcades. It's weird how that works. I've never heard anything else by Squeeze and I don't want to ruin this great song.

Say what you will about 1980s music, but some songs just capture the era in the same way as classic games.

It might be a stretch for "video game song of the week," but who's going to stop me?

Thanks to the youtube uploader as well.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

New Retro Site Affiliate: SuperPhillip Central is our newest affiliate, and this guy has been blogging about games for as long as 8-Bit City. If you need more video game blogs, then this should do just fine. He covers all kinds of games, so you'll probably find something to enjoy. You can add it to you blogger news feed by subscribing, in the same way as you can subscribe to 8-Bit City.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Play Star Quest! (and a huge Star Quest secret)

Star Quest is an epic adventure that's as much fun to play as it was to create. You control the Spaceman on a mysterious planet and it's your quest to assemble your party and beat the 4 dungeons. Once you've done this, you gain access to the spaceship's computer (have you found the secret room in the spaceship? Look hard in the arboretum on board...your ship contains much more than you realize). Only after you've defeated the Scientist will the information in the Starship computer's databases be accessible. Somehow, all this is tied to the arcade machines and the robots which populate this strange planet. You'll have to talk to everyone, make ethical decisions, and outsmart your foes in this game. It's free to play so let the Star Quest begin.

The Official Star Quest Page

Also, there is a guide if you get stuck.

If you email me an ending screenshot, I'll send you more information on the game and a secret computer entry revealing even more of the plot.

Frog Bog Intellivision

Frog Bog was one of several games featured in the recent cult classic film Grandma's Boy. It's easy to see why: the movie definitely has a retro penchant, and an Intellivision game is perfect for the movie's comedic vibe.

Supposedly this game is a remake of Frogs and Flies for the Atari 2600, but for some reason I just like Frog Bog better. The graphics are definitely improved, but I enjoy the controls on the Intellivision, oddly enough, better than on the Atari.

In the movie, a younger gamer challenges pro-taganist Alex to a game of Frog Bog, and its the perfect choice for multiplayer action. The game test reflexes, timing, and prediction of parabolas (mental calculus) to the extreme. Your competition is the only real difficulty setting, because the computer is laughably easy. Both players jump around catching flies for three minutes, flies are worth different amounts of points, and the player with the most points after three minutes wins the game.

There are several different control options. A fixed arc across the lilypads serves as the easy setting. I prefer medium, in which you have to plan your jumps more carefully by holding down the button to determine velocity; this setting also allows you to choose between low hops and high hops. This also allows the players to fall off the lilypads, and this is great because it only penalizes you by taking a little time to swim back up to the lilypad. Its both realistic (i.e. frogs shouldn't die when they touch the deadly water) and fair. Players won't be discouraged from taking risks, and an agressive strategy is the only way to victory.

As you play, the pond shifts slowly into nighttime--a nice graphical touch, and one that provides the game with some extra charm. The game was included in the PC, PS2, and DS versions of Intellivision Lives! On the DS you can play single-cart multiplayer with a friend of stranger. It's a game you can challenge anyone to, anytime-- to the death or for money.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Intellivision Lives! DS Review

Most Intellivision games are terrible. However, there are enough exceptions to make this collection worthwhile for any retro gamer.

The stars of this collection are undoubtedly the AD&D games, relabeled as generic fantasy adventures, but with all the original art and gameplay.

Crown of Kings was the first. It's something in-between Adventure for the 2600 and The Legend of Zelda. It randomly-generates caves and the map to offer endless potential and replayability.

Tower of Doom is my other personal favorite, offering a selection of dungeons, many randomly-generated, and is quite simply an awesome dungeon crawler.

Frog Bog is a nice addition as well, and I've always thought it was better than Frogs & Flies for the Atari.

Other Intellivision classics like Astromash appear, but I'm sure they left a few of the favorites out. They certainly left out the extras--such as documentaries present in the PS2 version--out of this release. Every game, however, has an in-game instruction manual, and I've found the interface intuitive and easy-to-navigate.

It's definitely the collection to own, and although it'ss getting hard to find these days, scoring a copy is not impossible. I'd recommend getting this collection while you can, and maybe even supplimenting it with the Intellivision Lives! disc for the PS2 or PC. I picked the PS2 version up for $1.59 at gamestop this week, and that's a hell of a deal. The DS version is a little more expensive, but it's got the better game selection and the the touchpad function nicely with the overly-complex Intellivision controls.

Get both--Intellivision might not be the best, but it's good enough. The AD&D games are truly epic, and legitimize the purchase, everything else is just gravy.

Many of the games are sports titles, a few are basically unplayably slow by today's standards. Others are just a little dull. However, it does have over 60 games, and single-cart multiplayer modes on tons of titles. Outside the Dungeons and Dragons games, many simply lack the spark of classic Atari adventures like River Raid, Adventure, Pitfall, Super Breakout, Missile Command, Centipede, Pac-Man, Circus Atari, and Berzerk.

Still, every now and then you'll find a great gem like Space Spartans, Frog Bog, Tower of Doom, Crown of Kings, or Treasure of Tarmin. What's the harm in having some crappy titles rounding out the collection? The variety ensures that this will last you at least a year if you're just now getting into the Intellivision. I've only been playing the games a few years myself ever since I bought an Intellivision Plug-N-Play a few years ago. It required 4 AA batteries, and I promptly returned it, but not before playing Crown of Kings and getting hooked. However the game is unfortunately missing from the PS2 and PC collections, which makes getting both versions a must for everyone. The $1.49 price tag is worth it for the cool virtual arcade menu, documentary, programmer interviews, and ability to play on a large monitor.

I like to think of it as an expansion pack for the DS version, and a necessary one at that.