New Atari 7800 Homebrew - Dungeon Stalker

Started by Atarius Maximus, April 09, 2015, 18:34:41 PM

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Atarius Maximus

I wanted to share my latest game in this forum too for those that don't frequent the AtariAge forums. I posted it there last week.  It's an homage to the original Intellivision Night Stalker.  AA user RevEng and I have been working on this for many months.  It has High Score Cart support as well as support for the AtariVox with lots of speech samples, high score tables for each skill level, and uses the higher resolution 320A mode on the 7800.  It's still a WIP but is nearing completion.

Below is an guide to the game/instruction manual. 


Your character is a female archer stuck in a dungeon with no way out, your only option is to fight and try to survive.  As you gain points, you will level up and face increasingly more difficult and dangerous enemies in the dungeon.  The object is to fight as long as you can and get as high a score as possible. 


Strategy is the name of the game!  Below are some tips to help get you started.

Because you are smaller than the enemies in the dungeon, it is possible to dodge their shots when they fire at you in a vertical passage.  You can also fire near the bottom of a horizontal passage and quickly move out of the way of oncoming fire.   

Be careful when you're shooting at bats as it's very easy to fire underneath them and miss them completely. 

If an enemy fires a shot near the top of a horizontal passage - you can easily duck into the passage below their shot and get a shot off to take it out.  Enemies can't fire again until their current shot is off the screen. 

Plan your moves in the Dungeon carefully and always be mindful of your path to the treasure, sword, quiver, and bunker.  It's key to try and plot the safest path to your destination.

Bats are a quick way to rack up some points and level up more quickly, but watch out! The next path to the quiver when you run out of arrows could be a dangerous one.

When you get to an enemy that blocks your arrows with theirs, it's key to get the vertical placement of your shot just right.  Take them out from around a corner after they fire so you can see where their arrow is, then shoot just above or below it.


Dungeon Stalker features high score saving to the High Score Cart and the AtariVox/SaveKey.  Each of the 4 skill levels available has it's own top 5 high score table and will save your scores automatically to the HSC or AtariVox/Savekey, depending on which one is plugged in.  If both are plugged in at the same time it will save to the High Score Cart only.  If you don't have either plugged in the high score tables will still work, but you will lose the data when you turn your system off or change skill levels in-game.  When you select a skill level from the main menu, it will change the menu option to view the high score table to the currently selected level.  When you achieve a high score, you will be taken to the high score entry screen to enter your initials and your score.  You will also be ranked!  Can you achieve the rank of Supreme Warrior?

Dungeon Stalker also has speech support for AtarVox.  The game has over two dozen speech phrases that are used at various points throughout the game.  Note that the AtariVox is physically too large to fit in to the 2nd joystick port of the Atari 7800, you will need to Buy a Sega Genesis extension cable in order to use it.

Dungeon Stalker features a main menu with several selectable features.  The top menu line is to select your skill setting, the second line lets you view the high score table, the third line is for starting the game, and the fourth line is for selecting color.  Push up and down to select a line.  Arrows indicate if a menu item can be changed to the left or right, and a button indicates that the option is activated with the fire button.  On the main menu of Dungeon Stalker you can also select from one of 8 different background colors:  Blue (the default), Green, Brown, Grey, Orange, Purple, Red and Yellow.

Dungeon stalker also features an attract mode.  If you don't make any selections for a period of time you will enter 'Demo Mode', where you will see the game play by itself for a while.  Demo mode is completely silent at the moment, there are plans to add music to that mode.

Skill Settings

Dungeon Stalker has four skill settings.  The default skill setting is standard.

Novice: You start with unlimited arrows on level 1 with 6 lives.
Standard: You start with 8 arrows on level one with 5 lives.
Advanced: You start with 7 arrows on level two with 4 lives.
Expert: You start with 6 arrows on level three with 3 lives.  All enemies have the large shot blocking arrows all the time and the bunker starts out in the blasted state, so you have no protection from the beginning of the game.

Your Weapon

You are equipped with a bow when you start the game, and with the default options you will start with 8 arrows on the standard skill setting.  You will notice that as you get low on arrows you will hear your heartbeat increase in speed and volume.  It's stressful to get low on arrows!  The bow shoots arrows a bit high on the bow, which is intended.  You'll see why when you try and make a quick shot around a corner at a quickly approaching Skeleton Warrior.


The sword - The sword will appear randomly and give you approximately 20 seconds of invincibility.  You cannot be harmed by enemies or frozen by bats or spiders.  You will flash when you have this powerup, and will flash faster as you get closer to it running out.  You will also hear a countdown timer sound that increases in speed as you get closer to the powerup running out.  "God" will also appear in place of your lives remaining on the status bar.  You will get 200 points for collecting a sword powerup.

The Treasure - The treasure randomly appears and only stays on the screen for a limited time.  It gives you 500 points and after you collect 5 you will gain an extra life.  The maximum number of lives you can have is 9.  If you have an AtariVox plugged in, you'll hear a random speech pattern indicating you've earned an extra life.

The Quiver - The quiver will appear when you have run out of arrows. It will appear in a random location in the Dungeon.  The quiver will contain between 5 and 8 arrows, it's random every time you pick it up.  Note that the quiver will not appear on the Novice skill setting as that setting will give you unlimited arrows.

The Bunker

The Bunker is where you start the game and initially you are protected from all dungeon enemies.  They cannot shoot you or enter the bunker. After reaching level 4 it will be partially destroyed and it will no longer block enemy fire, however enemies will still not be able to enter it. The bunker will change visually when it's broken, the top will appear to be blasted.  The bunker starts out in the blasted state on the Expert skill level and remains that way for the entire game.

The Spider Web

Be cautious in the spider web.  It will slow your movement by 50% making you much more susceptible to enemies.  Occasionally the treasure will appear in the spider web so you'll have no choice but to enter it.


There are 5 types of enemies in Dungeon Stalker, described below.  You will notice that later in the game some enemies will change color after being shot one time rather than dying.  That's because they have more than one hit point.  They will require two shots to kill.  If you are at very close (think point-blank) range to an enemy and hold the fire button down, you will automatically fire two arrows to quickly take an enemy out.  It's a risky move!

Demon Bat - The Demon Bat aimlessly wanders the map.
Snake - The snake will usually choose a path that moves toward the player, and is faster than the Demon Bat.
Skeleton Warrior - The Skeleton Warrior is the fastest enemy in the game.  It will always move toward the player.  On Level 5, it shoots a powerful, larger arrow that will block your arrow shots if they collide.
Spider - Wanders the maze and will steal one arrow from you if you touch it, and freeze you for a short period of time.
Bats - Wander the maze and will freeze you for a short period of time if you touch them.

Level Progression
You will progress through 5 levels as you fight to survive in the dungeon.  Each time you level up you will face increasingly more difficult and faster enemies.  Once you have reached level 5 you will remain on that level for the remainder of the game.  As you get to the higher levels the bats will start to disappear, letting you focus on the more difficult task of taking out the enemies stalking the dungeon.  Note that on the Advanced and Expert skill settings you start out on level 2 and level 3 respectively, but still start a new game with zero points.  It will take longer to level up on those skill settings.

  Level 1:   00,000 Pts 
  Level 2:   15,000 Pts 
  Level 3:   30,000 Pts
  Level 4:   50,000 Pts 
  Level 5:   80,000 Pts   


  Treasure=500 (Pick up 5 for an extra life, maximum of 9)
  Demon Bat=300
  Skeleton Warrior=1000




Looks great! Thanks for stopping by and filling us in :)

Atarius Maximus

Thanks!  I was going to post about Diamond Drop too, but saw that TrekMD already did. :)


This is really cool. Thanks for posting about it here.  You've done a great job with this game.  I saw the Rev also joined RVG but he hasn't posted yet.  Maybe he'll post here about his work on the game.  :) 

Going to the final frontier, gaming...


Fantastic piece of gaming kit, looking super forward to giving this a go, many thanks all the hard work on this game.


I'm just going to leave this here for all to feast their eyes on...

Going to the final frontier, gaming...

Atarius Maximus

There have been changes and updates to the game since my original post here.  The game is now a release candidate and is now complete unless any bugs are found.  I'm attaching the latest binary and instruction manual.  For those in the USA, Albert from AtariAge will have Dungeon Stalker up and running at his booth at the Classic Game Fest in Austin, Texas next weekend, and the plan is to have a general AA release of the game on cartridge with a new manual designed by David Exton (and likely a box) at the Portland Retro Gaming Expo in Oregon in October 2015. 


Very cool.  I'll be at CGF so I'll be seeing the set up there.  Can't wait to get the final version!

Going to the final frontier, gaming...

Atarius Maximus

Jealous! I live in St. Louis, Missouri, about a 12 hour drive or so from Austin, but my schedule won't let me attend. 


I'm flying into Austin.  It worked out for me.  I'd love to go to Denver but that's harder for me. 

Going to the final frontier, gaming...


you lucky so and so Trek, please take some pictures of it, I love seeing these great games and retro events, lets me imagine how good they are all the way across the water :113:


Going to the final frontier, gaming...

Atarius Maximus

Quote from: "TrekMD"Picutres?  That's the plan.  :)


Absolutely.  I will be posting the pictures of the event at the thread I started here.  I will make sure that I take pictures of the game in action.  :)

Going to the final frontier, gaming...

Atarius Maximus

Cool, thanks!

Here's a picture of the game on cartridge that Al at AA shared with me, he's of course taking it with him for the demo at his booth.  It looks great!