Published by Atari Adventure for the Atari 2600 is not only the first graphical action adventure game, but it also known to be the first console game to contain an Easter Egg.
Adventure puts you in the role as a hero (represented by a square) on a quest to find find the holy grail, or the flashy cup (or the enchanted chalice, according to the manual). Once acquired, you must return your treasure to your base of operations, the yellow castle. But the road to glory is dangerous. The land and the chalice itself is guarded by fierce dragons. They look like ducks (or Big Bird!) but they are still fierce. The Yellow Dragon slow moving and easy to evade or kill, and it is also afraid of the golden key, leaving any room that has it. The Green Dragon is fast and respectable. The Red Dragon is lightning quick and relentless. And to complete the ensemble of enemies is the bat. A pesky little guy who likes to steal what ever item you are carrying at the most inopportune time (including stealing the enchanted goblet right from your hands as you're about to deliver it to the golden castle!).
As in any standard adventurer the player must explore the game world of rooms, mazes, and castles. Along the way you will no doubt encounter the foes as mentioned above but you will also find some handy tools to reach your goal. Such as a trusty dragon slayer sword, keys to other castles, a bridge, and maybe even a magnet.
The game features three difficulty settings:
1. A very simplified version of the game
2. Includes the annoying Bat and the Red Dragon and utilizes all components listed above in a linear fashion. In short, a complete story.
3. The hardest of difficulty settings, all items and enemies for the most part randomly placed at the beginning of the game. Which in turn can even make it next to impossible to complete your objective.
These are the main enemies in the game. They pursue your character throughout the mazes, sometimes, but not always, through multiple screens, making it very hard to escape them once they've spotted you.
Their behavior is slightly modified by one of the difficulty switches: In position B they ignore the fact that your character has a sword, and will sometimes impale themselves on it. In position A, which is arguably much harder, they run away from you if a sword is there, making them much harder to kill.
The other difficulty switch dictates the speed of their bite. In the B position, their mouth hesitates a bit before chomping down, allowing you a chance to escape. In the A position, they are much harder to avoid because there usually is very little pause between roar and slow roasting in its guts.
Dragons can be slain with the sword (see below), although the dragon's death is a mixed blessing, as its corpse can block further movement. A dragon can even be slain after you have been eaten by it! Sometimes the collision detection is imperfect, resulting in dead dragons when they aren't even close to your sword; this usually happens when near the end of a screen, possibly due to spawn points sometimes making the dragon act as if it's in several places at once. Dead dragons, though, are brought back to life should the player use the resurrection feature (described under "You", below).
Arguably worse than the dragons in its destructive potential, the bat grabs items and dragons, and transports them to other parts of the maze. It is a right bastard. It, like other items in the game, can be grabbed, so that you don't fully lose control of the thing it's carrying. Unfortunately, once you let go it'll just go flying away again. When it's tempted by an item, instead of flying in a straight line it will hone in on it. If it's honing in on you because of what you're carrying, you may either have to run or position yourself to grab the little guy before it runs off with your item. This could result (and has resulted for this writer) in the bat grabbing the coveted goblet, the thing you need to win the game, at the last possible moment, transporting it to some other part of the environment. Devastating. That, or it takes the sword from you when you're using it to fend off dragons... Or it actually flies in and drops a dragon right where you're standing, taking your sword, allowing you to be eaten.
It has the potential to be helpful, though, because it will sometimes drop items in much more accessible locations than they were before. It may also pick you up while you're still alive in the belly of a dragon, and you'll actually get to fly around, viewing where the bat goes over walls and over multiple screens. If you grab the bat while in the dragon's belly, you can actually control the direction it flies to some extent until you get stuck in a wall! You can use this to your advantage to plan after your next resurrection, as well as place the dragon somewhere else on the board, in a way.
The Bat is a strong random element in the game, adding frustration and extra fun at the same time. It only exists in the second and third levels of difficulty.
Your character can hold one thing at a time (or two, if you count dragging things with magnets or holding a bat that's holding an item). You use an item by running into the thing you want to use it on, although it's a bit trickier with bridges. You let go by pressing the fire button, and pick things up by running into them, exchanging anything you have in your possession for the thing you ran into. Sometimes this can be used to transport multiple items: you place them both in front of you and run into them. You'll hear the item pickup sound repeatedly as they roll in front of you, presaging Katamari Damacy in a weird way.
In what is probably one of the first resurrection features in any game, you may hit the reset switch. Whether you're stuck inside a dragon's gut or otherwise trapped, resetting will bring you back in front of the Golden Castle. This may be vital to use even if you haven't died, just because you were put in a position, through the death of a dragon or the loss of an item, that made things tedious or impossible to escape. Items will still be in the places you left them, in this case, which is much nicer than having to start all over because of a random drive by dragon eating.
Unfortunately, resurrection also resurrects any dragons you may have slain.
Along with creatures, if there are four or more objects on the screen at once, they cease to reliably interact. This can mean that you're able to avoid dragons more easily, but it also makes it hard to grab things, and nearly impossible to use them.
The Enchanted Goblet
Without this, you can't beat the game. The goal of the game is to take this color-shifting monstrosity from its place inside the Black Castle and transport it to the Golden Castle. When it is inside, the game is instantly won.
Scattered throughout the kingdom are three keys, each of which grants access to the castle corresponding to their color. The golden key is needed before you can place the Enchanted Goblet inside the Golden Castle, making it one of the most vital items in the game. It also scares off the golden dragon, regardless of difficulty level, which can be a blessing at times. The black key grants access to the common area where the Goblet is held, so it too is important. The White Key allows access to the White Castle, which contains tools necessary to beat the linear versions of the game, although the white key may not have any use depending on how items are distributed in the volatile 3rd difficulty setting.
Players may never need to find this weapon to beat the game, but it's sure handy, no matter what difficulty setting you have. Should the sword intersect with any dragon, the dragon will instantly die. If the difficulty switch makes them run away, it is still useful for clearing dragons away for an end-run with the goblet.
One of the weirder items in the game, the magnet attracts all objects toward it (though only one at a time if there are multiple objects in the room). This can be very useful if an item is stuck in/on a wall, or is far away on the other side of a given screen.
It takes a bit of practice to get this thing to work right, but it is one of coolest items in the game, and can be used to wreak all sorts of havoc on the way the mazes are designed. Placing the bridge across a wall will allow vertical passage THROUGH that wall should both ends of the bridge be clear. Should you (or the bat) pick the bridge halfway through walking, you will get stuck. The only way to fix this is to activate the bridge again, if you still have it (or the bat drops it in your hands again). This, like the magnet, can be used to grab items (including the magnet!) which may be trapped or otherwise inaccessible, and is necessary for use in the advanced (difficulty 2) game.
Microsoft Game Room
Adventure was included in the first batch of 30 (?) games in Microsoft's Game Room.
This game is available to play for free at Atari's Arcade Website here.