8-bit gets classic mainframe dungeon adventure
As far as Antic knows, this is the first 8-bit Atari version of Rogue-one of the famed early graphic adventure games on mainframe computers. This BASIC program works on 8-bit Atari computers with minimum 48K memory and disk drive.
Rogue is among the earliest and most famous adventure games developed on mainframe computers by anonymous programmers fooling around after official work hours. Rogue went beyond the all-text "Original Adventure" format and used simple character graphics to create an addictive fantasy role-playing dungeon treasure-hunt.
After I played Rogue on a mainframe at the University of Southern California, the idea of an Atari 8-bit version challenged me. So, after many weeks of writing and debugging, the result is A-Rogue.
First, type in Listing 1, AROGUE.BAS, check it with TYPO II and SAVE a copy before you RUN it. This is the game file. Next, type in Listing 2, CHARMAKR.BAS, again checking it with TYPO II and SAVEing it. This program creates a redefined character set (AROGUE.CHR) for A-Rogue to use. Finally, RUN CHARMAKR.BAS to create AROGUE.CHR. Both AROGUE. BAS and AROGUE.CHR should be on the same disk.
Antic Disk owners: Copy AROGUE.BAS and AROGUE.CHR to another formatted disk before playing the game. The monthly disk is write-protected and won't let you save a game in progress.
Your roguish mission is to go through the dungeon and find the jewel of Taldra. Naturally, there's a whole horde of creepy monsters out to stop you. Worse, you also have cursed weapons and deadly potions to worry about- and make sure you don't starve to death.
But first you'll be prompted to type the name of your own rogue, up to 20 characters long. Then you'll see "LOAD A GAME?" Since this is your opening game, press [N]. The first level of the dungeon will then be generated in a minute or so. You start the game with a handaxe, leather armor, two rations of food and a handful of spells. More equipment is in the dungeon for you to find.
You're represented by the small square on the map of the level, which is under a display with commands and the current dungeon level. You only see a small part of the dungeon at first, but you uncover more by exploring. The dungeon is made of hallways and rooms. One of the rooms contains a set of stairs down to the next level and you can't leave until you find it.
[Arrow Keys] move you through the dungeon. Sorry, your joystick won't work with this game. You only need to type the first letter of the following commands.
[I]nventory shows your status. A sample display would be: Health <15> 13; Food 2; Gold 54; Armor, Leather; Weapon, Handaxe; Health 1: Teleport 1; Fireball 2. Most of this information is self-explanatory. The number in brackets is your endurance (the maximum health you can have), and next to it is your actual health.
[R]est gives you one health point for each rest turn. Don't rest too long, or a monster might attack.
[E]at nourishes you with a ration of food.
[D]ownstairs brings you down to the next level. Be careful, after you descend, you can't go back up.
[C]ast Spell launches one of the magic spells in your inventory. (See below).
[S]ave your current game, using the name you gave. Games are saved in a file, ARSAVE, which A-Rogue will create if needed. Any earlier games are replaced and only one game can be saved on each A-Rogue disk.
[L]oad an earlier game. Once loaded, the file is deleted so you can't use it again. If there is no saved game on disk, the load will cancel.
[Q]uit stops the current game. If you want to play later, use [S]ave instead.
No matter what you do, sooner or later a fight breaks out. Blow-by-blow descriptions appear at the bottom of the screen. At each combat turn, you'll see a fight prompt- [A]ttack the monster, [W]ithdraw (try to escape), or [C]ast a magic spell.
[H]ealth shows how much health you have at the moment. If this falls to zero, you die. The fight continues until someone dies, or you escape.
There are three kinds of spells in A-Rogue, and you can cast them any time you have one in your inventory. A Heal spell restores you to your maximum endurance level. A Teleport moves you from one part of the dungeon to another. A Fireball spell is best for fights: it automatically hits the monster-and hurts. You start with one of each spell, and you find more later.
There are also magic potions. Each color potion has different powers. You can't keep potions: you must either drink them immediately or they disappear. Approach them with caution, and remember what each color stands for. For example, if you find a green potion that heals, then other green potions also heal.
If you find armor or a weapon, you must either take it now, or kiss it goodbye forever. If you take it, you lose your old item.
You'll find magic weapons in the lower levels. The only way to tell if a weapon is magic is to take it and then use [I]nventory to check. Magic weapons will have a +1 or +2 on the end. Sometimes the magic is evil, and a weapon is cursed-you can't hit a monster with it. The only way to get rid of it is to find another weapon.
FINISHING THE GAME
A game ends when you die in battle, starve, [Q]uit, or you find the Jewel of Taldra. In any case, you'll be asked 'ANOTHER GAME?" Press [Y] to play again or [N] to stop playing.
Robert Jung currently studies computer science at the University of Southern California. He's also a sysop of the 0-Mayer V bulletin board, (213) 732-0229, where ARogue is an online game.
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