Review: Adventure (Atari 2600)

In this review, we seek out the chalice in the Atari 2600 game Adventure. We find out how well this adventure game plays.

While there is conflicting information on when this game was released, we’ll stick with 1980.

Your character is a square. Your goal is to locate the chalice and bring it back to the golden castle.

Along the way, you can pick up objects one at a time. If you are playing the first adventure, the first object will be the yellow/golden key. This unlocks the golden castle. Other objects include the arrow (weapon used against dragons), black key (used for unlocking the black castle), a whole bridge (used for crossing rivers, and how strong is this character anyway?), the magnet (used for pulling objects from places you can’t otherwise reach), and the chalice (the ultimate goal item).

The only real enemies in all three adventures in this game are the dragons. These dragons can be taken down by a prodding of the arrow. If a dragon manages to eat you, it’s game over. Otherwise, the only real obstacle in this game is your problem solving skill. If you play the first adventure, it’s the problem solving skills that are most needed. If you are playing adventure 2 or 3, then evading the dragons will be the highest priority.

In adventure two, you’ll also encounter a bat that steals random objects, frustrating your adventure.

The first adventure is very nicely balanced. While it does lean a little on the easy side, you still need to think in order to solve things. This adventure also allows you to get used to the basics.

The second and third adventure is frustratingly difficult. The game forces you to go through labyrinths that greatly restrict your movement. While this doesn’t seem like that big of a deal, you also get to try and run away from dragons who can go through walls and just charge directly at you. This makes it not exactly a fair fight. If this game focused more on problem solving than evasion, it probably would have been better off.

There is a bit of a learning curve at first, but it’s not too bad as you eventually will make your way through the game.

What I do like is the fact that you basically get a full all out adventure game that almost seems ahead of its time. The complexity is pretty high considering games at the time are so focused on being so simple and like the arcade games. This is a positive for this game.

Generally speaking, the complexity is a strength for this game. The decent learning curve also helped this one along. The difficulty spike when you go from adventure 1 to 2 or 3 is rather annoying. The game would have been better served focusing more on puzzle and problem solving than unfair dragons that fly straight through walls.

Graphically speaking, this game has its strengths and weaknesses. The strengths come from the rendering of the objects. some of them are very well realized. A weakness is that some of the levels have such a low level of contrast between two colors, that your character or even dragons almost vanish into the background.

The sound effects are pretty decent. They do add something to the game as well.

Overall, this is an alright game. If this game focused more on puzzle and problem solving, I would be willing to call it a great game. As it is now, this game has a pretty severe difficulty spike between adventures 1 and 2. The mechanics are pretty solid and the learning curve is pretty decent. The graphics have their hits and misses. The hits include the rendering of objects while the misses include contrast problems in some areas. The sound effects are decent enough, though. So, a pretty decent game, but stick to adventure 1.

Furthest point in game: Beat adventure 1.

General gameplay: 17/25
Replay value: 7/10
Graphics: 6/10
Audio: 3/5

Overall rating: 66%

Drew Wilson on Twitter: @icecube85 and Facebook.

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