Venture is a dungeon-crawling action game originally developed by Howell Ivy at Exidy. It was released into arcades in 1981. Home versions began appearing in 1982, with Coleco picking up the rights to publish ports on the Colecovision, Intellivision, and Atari 2600. Atari Corporation would eventually re-release the 2600 port in 1988.
Players control Winky, a circular smiley face with a bow and arrow for a weapon. Winky can move and shoot in eight different directions. While he moves in straight lines quickly, Winky's gameplay control when shifting directions is slow and awkward. Most of the game's difficulty comes from Winky's lack of directional agility.
Upon beginning a stage, players will be located in the outside "hallway". When Winky is in the stage's hallway, he is represented as a small dot and cannot shoot. The objective in the halls is to avoid green Hall Monsters while entering white doors to individual rooms.
In each stage, there are four individual rooms with one or two entrance points each. In each room there is a treasure that Winky needs to grab, but also enemy creatures that will impede his path. After grabbing the treasure, Winky needs to exit the room alive. After succeeding in this task, the completed room will "white out" and become inaccessible. By completing all four individual rooms in each stage, that stage is considered complete, bonus score is tallied, and the next stage begins with new rooms and new treasure.
The bonus score is determined by a timer. The faster that players finish a stage, the more bonus points they earn. There's no penalty for being slow, however players may not receive any bonus points. These bonus points are instrumental in racking up extra lives.
The Treasure Chart
Each time players start a game, start a new stage, or die, they will be shown the blue treasure chart, which contains 36 question marks. Each time players find a treasure, it will replace the question mark on the chart. The act of finding a treasure requires players to enter each room, grab the treasure, and make it out of the room alive (killing all enemy creatures is, however, not required). There are nine total stages with four treasures each. While Venture is played for score, the ultimate goal is to complete the treasure chart.
The Hall Monsters are green evil entities that inhabit the halls of each stage. Each one is invincible and will pursue Winky tirelessly. In addition to guarding the halls, they will also enter individual rooms if players stick around for too long. They can not be defeated by any means, so the the only way to avoid Hall Monsters from inside rooms is to exit the room immediately. Their main purpose to to supply Winky with a sense of urgency, as each room must be completed rapidly to avoid death by Hall Monster.
Each room is named after its creature inhabitant. These creatures almost always act identically. Some creatures won't appear until Winky enters a specific portion of the room or until he grabs the treasure. One arrow shot will kill any creature, and that creature's corpse will remain on the screen for a short period of time. In a unique twist, the corpse of any creature is just as deadly as a live creature, so touching dead enemies is not allowed. Even more so, shooting a dead corpse will reset its decomposition timer, keeping it on screen for a longer period of time. In this way, shooting wildly can be terribly counter-productive, especially if enemy corpses are blocking the player's path to the treasure or the only exit!
Stage 1: Pink
Most outside doors are easy to get to, so navigating the inner hallways is not necessary nor recommended. Only the top right Serpent Room requires using the inside door, and it's generally simple to get to without much threat from Hall Monsters.
Contains two doors and three goblins. The lower door is the preferred entrance, with a more direct path to the treasure and more time to line up arrow shots.
Contains two doors and three skeletons. The left door is the safer entrance, but it's a longer path to the treasure and it can sometimes be difficult to sneak in that door from the outside. With the treasure tucked away down a far path, players must be fast.
Contains two doors and three serpents. Entering from the left is practically required, as the three serpents crowd around the right door and there's little to no time to react. Players should shoot enemies fast, as their corpses will likely block access to the treasure for a short duration due to the cramped quarters.
Contains two doors and four moving walls. Either entrance is a safe bet. Wait for the top or bottom wall to open all the way up, then sneak into the center. The middle area is safe, so wait patiently for the upper or lower walls to completely retract again, then run back out.
Stage 2: Blue
Use the wide open spots on either side of the map to avoid the Hall Monsters. These spots can also be used to lure Hall Monsters away from the middle room's door, which can be difficult to get into. Most other doors are fairly unobstructed and easy to get to.
Contains two doors and three initial spiders, followed by two additional spiders. Once players grab the treasure, any remaining spiders and spider corpses will immediately disappear, and two new, yellow spiders will appear, one in front of each door.
Contains one door and three trolls. The room is initially blocked off so players cannot get into the inner chambers. After a few moments, wall sections will disappear allowing players to get inside.
Contains two doors and four two-headed creatures. The enemies do not appear until the payer grabs the treasure, and two will appear down each of the exit paths.
Contains one door and four dragons. Players will be bombarded from the moment they enter the room, so the best tactic is to shoot to the sides and try to move left or right into the open spaces in order to buy time. If the dragons are driven away from the treasure, go grab it and shoot the dragons on the way out. If players miss their first few shots when when entering the room, players can go back out the door and come back in to reset the room and try again.
Stage 3: Yellow
Stick to outside doors, as they are easiest to get into and also tend to give the best tactical advantages once players get inside individual rooms. Getting into the center room can be tricky if the Hall Monsters gather there. Try to lure them out one side, then go around the other side to the door.
Contains one door and three cyclops. The cyclops have the unique ability of warping around the room, to they can be tough to kill and tougher to anticipate. It's completely possible for a cyclops to warp on top of Winky, registering instant death.
Contains two doors and three genies. Players must lure the genies away from the treasure in the left corner.
Contains two doors and three demons. The demons won't appear until players enter the narrow area of the key-shaped room. Grabbing the treasure and moving back out of the narrow area fast can keep this from happening, and usually shooting only one or two demons is necessary.
Contains one door and three bats. There's not a lot of room move around and the bats close in fast, so accuracy matters most here. If players miss the first few shots, the room can be re-entered to reset the enemy locations.
Stages 4 - 9
After completing the three initial stages, stage four will return players to the "pink" hall with faster Hall Monsters and slightly faster creatures in each room. The same goes for stages 5 (blue) and stage six (yellow). Stage seven again returns players to the pink hall with very fast Hall Monsters that tend to be more aggressive and take a more direct path towards Winky. After completing stages 8 (blue) and 9 (yellow), players will have completed the treasure chart. Stage 9 will continue to repeat endlessly until all lives run out.