Crisis Mountain For Apple And Atari
Patrick Parrish, Editorial Programmer
Crisis Mountain, programmed in
machine language by Ron Aldrich and David Schroeder, is an excellent,
exciting game, requiring an Apple II or Apple II Plus with 48K RAM
(also available for the Atari 400/800 with 48K) and a disk drive. This
one-player contest from Synergistic Software can be played with either
joystick or the game paddles.
The scenario of the game is that a group of
terrorists was hiding out in the caverns of a dormant volcano in the
Pacific Northwest. The volcano erupted unexpectedly, forcing the
terrorists to abandon their hideout. As they fled, they left behind
their loot and supplies - and several nuclear bombs. To save the West
Coast from impending disaster, you must
venture into Crisis Mountain, dig up and defuse the bombs while
avoiding numerous hazards.
Nine Skill Levels
Crisis Mountain alternates
between two cavern scenes as you progress through nine skill levels. In
the beginning of the game, you are given three lives. And if you're
skillful enough you can earn a life at 10,000, 30,000, and 50,000
points. On each level you are presented with a labyrinth of
passageways, precipices, and fiery lava pits which sporadically spew
rocks and debris.
Scattered about the cavern, in addition to innocuous
objects left by the terrorists, are active bombs positioned randomly in
one of five locations. Each displays a time, also randomly chosen,
before detonation. As you advance from one skill level to another, you
are challenged with more bombs and less time to defuse them. Thus,
picking the appropriate route through the maze of passageways becomes
more and more critical.
Points are awarded for the completion of several tasks. Nominal scores
are given for gathering the loot, gun caches, and boxes left by the
terrorists. Once you've collected all items, certain bonus forms appear
in random positions about the cave.
Another way to score points is to leap boulders. The
larger the boulder, the more points you receive. Being struck by a
boulder, on the other hand, diminishes your strength. The strength
level is indicated with a number from one (weakest) to three
(strongest). When you are weakened, your point scoring abilities are
significantly impaired. In fact, at strength level one, scoring becomes
secondary to mere survival since you can rarely manage to leap boulders
in this weakened condition. Fortunately, there are several safe nooks
around the cavern where you can recover.
Your running figure (center) leaps a
tumbling boulder in Crisis Mountain.
There are other ways you can be destroyed in the game. You can fall or
be knocked into a lava pit by a boulder, a bomb can detonate, or you
can be bitten by the deadly bat, Bertrum.
It is obvious that tremendous effort went into
designing this game's high-resolution graphics. Each form is drawn in
intricate detail. The frothing lava pits and tumbling boulders are
The Deadly Bat
But the most remarkable graphic element of the game (and the most
confounding to any player) is Bertrum, the bat. Bertrum flits about the
cavern in a way that resembles a real bat. If a boulder is blasted from
a nearby lava pit, Bertrum will dart toward it for a quick inspection,
determine the rock is not prey, and fly off to another part of the cave.
But Bertrum is more than just a visual success. His
presence adds a degree of chance to the game which makes it faster and
more challenging. This dreaded bat has a knack for determining where
your player is at any moment in the game. Sometimes, you can avoid
Bertrum with a last minute duck or leap. At other times, escape is
simply impossible. I've yet to discover a foolproof way to evade this
creature, though there may be a tactic.
There are several other excellent features of this
game. For one, the ESC key allows you to halt or resume a game at any
time during play. With Crisis
Mountain, a game can sometimes last an hour or more. A break
during such a prolonged period of play, beyond being a convenience, is
often essential for maintaining your concentration. (No "save game"
option is offered.)
Although the sound effects are very good, you may
want to turn them off occasionally. If so, you can cancel output to the
Apple speaker with CTRL-S. On the other hand, if you want an engulfing,
environmental audio effect, output can be sent to external speakers via
the cassette port. You can also store on disk, and subsequently
display, the high score to date.
Mountain is a superior programining achievement and a thoroughly
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