Dragonstomper

Last updated
Dragonstomper
Dragonstomper.jpg
Cover art
Developer(s) Starpath
Publisher(s) Starpath
Designer(s) Stephen H. Landrum [1]
Platform(s) Atari 2600
Release
Genre(s) Role-playing
Mode(s) Single-player

Dragonstomper is an Atari 2600 role-playing video game programmed by Stephen Landrum and published in 1982 by Starpath. It requires the Starpath Supercharger peripheral.

Atari 2600 Video game console

The Atari 2600, originally branded as the Atari Video Computer System or Atari VCS for short until November 1982, is a home video game console from Atari, Inc. Released on September 11, 1977, it is credited with popularizing the use of microprocessor-based hardware and games stored on ROM cartridges instead of dedicated hardware with games physically built into the unit. The 2600 was bundled with two joystick controllers, a conjoined pair of paddle controllers, and a game cartridge: initially Combat, and later Pac-Man.

A role-playing video game is a video game genre where the player controls the actions of a character immersed in some well-defined world. Many role-playing video games have origins in tabletop role-playing games and use much of the same terminology, settings and game mechanics. Other major similarities with pen-and-paper games include developed story-telling and narrative elements, player character development, complexity, as well as replayability and immersion. The electronic medium removes the necessity for a gamemaster and increases combat resolution speed. RPGs have evolved from simple text-based console-window games into visually rich 3D experiences.

Starpath was a U.S. company known for creating the Starpath Supercharger in August 1982. The company was founded under the name Arcadia Corporation in 1981 by Alan Bayley, Robert Brown, and Craig Nelson. It changed its name to Starpath shortly after for trademark reasons because Emerson Radio Corporation had released a video game console named the Emerson Arcadia 2001.

Contents

Dragonstomper follows the adventures of a dragon hunter who is given a quest by the king to defeat a dragon and reclaim a magical amulet that was stolen. The player makes his way over the countryside vanquishing various adversaries and gaining gold and experience. After gaining strength, the player enters a shop in an oppressed village where equipment can be purchased, soldiers hired, and special scrolls obtained to defeat the dragon in its lair. The final leg of the journey traverses into the dragon's lair where he must avoid a series of traps strewn throughout the cave and defeat the dragon.

Dragon a large, serpent-like legendary creature that appears in the folklore of many cultures around the world

A dragon is a large, serpent-like legendary creature that appears in the folklore of many cultures around the world. Beliefs about dragons vary drastically by region, but dragons in western cultures since the High Middle Ages have often been depicted as winged, horned, four-legged, and capable of breathing fire. Dragons in eastern cultures are usually depicted as wingless, four-legged, serpentine creatures with above-average intelligence.

Amulet Object worn in the belief that it will magically protect the wearer

An amulet, also known as a "good luck charm", is an object believed to confer protection upon its possessor. The word "amulet" comes from the Latin word amuletum, which Pliny's Natural History describes as "an object that protects a person from trouble". Anything can function as an amulet; items commonly so used include gems, statues, coins, drawings, plant parts, animal parts, and written words.

Gameplay

During the first segment of the game ("The Wilderness"), the player's goal is to either collect enough money and valuables to bribe the town guard into letting him pass through, or to find an identity card that will grant him permission to do so freely. Either way, the overworld is a vast open space littered with castles, huts, churches, and other areas that can be explored.

Castle Fortified residential structure of medieval Europe

A castle is a type of fortified structure built during the Middle Ages predominantly by the nobility or royalty and by military orders. Scholars debate the scope of the word castle, but usually consider it to be the private fortified residence of a lord or noble. This is distinct from a palace, which is not fortified; from a fortress, which was not always a residence for royalty or nobility; and from a fortified settlement, which was a public defence – though there are many similarities among these types of construction. Usage of the term has varied over time and has been applied to structures as diverse as hill forts and country houses. Over the approximately 900 years that castles were built, they took on a great many forms with many different features, although some, such as curtain walls, arrowslits, and portcullises, were commonplace.

Church (building) Building used for Christian religious activities

A church building or church house, often simply called a church, is a building used for Christian religious activities, particularly for Christian worship services. The term is often used by Christians to refer to the physical buildings where they worship, but it is sometimes used to refer to buildings of other religions. In traditional Christian architecture, a church interior is often structured in the shape of a Christian cross. When viewed from plan view the vertical beam of the cross is represented by the center aisle and seating while the horizontal beam and junction of the cross is formed by the bema and altar.

Every so often, a random battle will occur, heralded by the opening bars to the Dragnet theme. The player and enemy take turns attacking one another until one or the other is dead; if the player expires (accompanied by a faster version of Taps being played), a simple hit of the Reset switch brings him back to life right where he lies, but with all of his collected gold lost and his Strength and Dexterity reset to their normal values. Experience points do not exist in the game, although every so often, items such as staves, potions, or magic rings will be found in the spoils of battle, or inside of the aforementioned buildings. These items have a random chance of either raising or lowering the player's Strength or Dexterity.

Dragnet (theme music) instrumental theme of Dragnet (series),  composed by Walter Schumann

"Dragnet" is an instrumental theme from the radio and television show of the same name. It was composed by Walter Schumann for the radio show, and was also used on the subsequent television series and later syndication of the TV series under the name "Badge 714". The theme is in two parts: an opening signature "Main Title" and the "Dragnet March" used over the end credits.

Taps bugle call; musical piece sounded at dusk, and at funerals (American version)

"Taps" is a bugle call played at dusk, during flag ceremonies, and at military funerals by the United States Armed Forces. The official military version is played by a single bugle or trumpet, although other versions of the tune may be played in other contexts. It is also performed often at Boy Scout, Girl Scout, and Girl Guide meetings and camps. The tune is also sometimes known as "Butterfield's Lullaby", or by the first line of the lyric, "Day Is Done". The duration may vary to some extent; the typical recording below is 59 seconds long.

Agility Ability to quickly change the quantity and direction of body speed

Agility or nimbleness is the ability to change the body's position efficiently, and requires the integration of isolated movement skills using a combination of balance, coordination, speed, reflexes, strength, and endurance. Agility is the ability to change the direction of the body in an efficient and effective manner and to achieve this requires a combination of

Monsters largely consist of animals, insects and arachnids of various types, as well as human occupations (Maniacs, Warriors, etc.) Some fantasy-themed creatures, like slimes, also exist. Equipment is only available in the form of an axe and a shield which can be found from various locations or monsters (churches often contain shields). Once the bridge guard permits it, the player can advance into the Oppressed Village.

Insect Class of invertebrates

Insects or Insecta are hexapod invertebrates and the largest group within the arthropod phylum. Definitions and circumscriptions vary; usually, insects comprise a class within the Arthropoda. As used here, the term Insecta is synonymous with Ectognatha. Insects have a chitinous exoskeleton, a three-part body, three pairs of jointed legs, compound eyes and one pair of antennae. Insects are the most diverse group of animals; they include more than a million described species and represent more than half of all known living organisms. The total number of extant species is estimated at between six and ten million; potentially over 90% of the animal life forms on Earth are insects. Insects may be found in nearly all environments, although only a small number of species reside in the oceans, which are dominated by another arthropod group, crustaceans.

Arachnid Class of arthropods

Arachnida is a class of joint-legged invertebrate animals (arthropods), in the subphylum Chelicerata. Almost all adult arachnids have eight legs, although the front pair of legs in some species has converted to a sensory function, while in other species, different appendages can grow large enough to take on the appearance of extra pairs of legs. The term is derived from the Greek word ἀράχνη (aráchnē), from the myth of the hubristic human weaver Arachne who was turned into a spider. Spiders are the largest order in the class, which also includes scorpions, ticks, mites, harvestmen, and solifuges. In 2019, a molecular phylogenetic study also placed horseshoe crabs in Arachnida.

A warrior is a person specializing in combat or warfare, especially within the context of a tribal or clan-based warrior culture society that recognizes a separate warrior class or caste.

Three different stores are available to the player there — a Hospital, a Magic Shop, and an Item Store. Items that are no longer needed from the Wilderness can be sold for extra gold to use to buy new, helpful tools. Like the bridge guard before them, the three soldiers have to be bribed (either with gold, rubies or sapphires) to enlist with the player. Furthermore, healing potions, spells to locate and circumvent traps inside the dragon's cave, and miscellaneous goods (like ropes and bow and arrows) are available for purchase. Once the player feels ready, he can enter the Dragon's Cave, which is preceded by a few bars of In the Hall of the Mountain King .

Hospital health care institution

A hospital is a health care institution providing patient treatment with specialized medical and nursing staff and medical equipment. The best-known type of hospital is the general hospital, which typically has an emergency department to treat urgent health problems ranging from fire and accident victims to a sudden illness. A district hospital typically is the major health care facility in its region, with a large number of beds for intensive care and additional beds for patients who need long-term care. Specialized hospitals include trauma centers, rehabilitation hospitals, children's hospitals, seniors' (geriatric) hospitals, and hospitals for dealing with specific medical needs such as psychiatric treatment and certain disease categories. Specialized hospitals can help reduce health care costs compared to general hospitals. Hospitals are classified as general, specialty, or government depending on the sources of income received.

Sapphire Sapphire is one of two Corundum gemstones (and the other one is Ruby)

Sapphire is a precious gemstone, a variety of the mineral corundum, consisting of aluminum oxide (α-Al2O3) with trace amounts of elements such as iron, titanium, chromium, copper, or magnesium. It is typically blue, but natural "fancy" sapphires also occur in yellow, purple, orange, and green colors; "parti sapphires" show two or more colors. The only color corundum stone that the term sapphire is not used for is red, which is called a ruby. Pink colored corundum may be either classified as ruby or sapphire depending on locale. Commonly, natural sapphires are cut and polished into gemstones and worn in jewelry. They also may be created synthetically in laboratories for industrial or decorative purposes in large crystal boules. Because of the remarkable hardness of sapphires – 9 on the Mohs scale (the third hardest mineral, after diamond at 10 and moissanite at 9.5) – sapphires are also used in some non-ornamental applications, such as infrared optical components, high-durability windows, wristwatch crystals and movement bearings, and very thin electronic wafers, which are used as the insulating substrates of special-purpose solid-state electronics such as integrated circuits and GaN-based blue LEDs.

Bow and arrow ranged weapon system consisting of an elastic launching device and long-shafted projectiles

The bow and arrow is a ranged weapon system consisting of an elastic launching device (bow) and long-shafted projectiles (arrows).

The Dragon's Cave is simply one long, narrow hallway lined by jagged rock protrusions, with no monsters to fight; the primary danger is traps. Two varieties exist — poison darts which fly back and forth in one set line, and invisible floor panels which, when stepped on, trigger an unavoidable burst of flash damage. These panels can be detected with a spell, while the darts can simply be run past. Succeeding in navigating the cave's dangers will result in coming upon a pit in the floor which leads to the dragon himself.

The fight with the dragon alternates with the player-character and the dragon taking steps towards one another in turns. If the player has recruited any of the soldiers, they march of their own accord up to the dragon to help serve as a distraction and occasionally dealing (and being dealt) damage. With the aforementioned "Unlock" spell, it is still necessary to successfully get past the Dragon and reach the amulet in its secluded chamber; without this spell, defeating the dragon is the only key to victory.

Reception

Electronic Games in 1983 stated that Dragonstomper "is sure to appeal to all quest game fans", with "more scope for interesting action than" other games. [3] AllGame awarded the game five out of five stars, calling it a "surprisingly deep and ambitious RPG" and "an epic (and woefully overlooked) title" [4] The review went on to praise that the "wonder of Dragonstomper lies in the magnitude and variety of its environments, which provide a depth of gameplay usually reserved for home computer titles of this genre" [4]

In November 2005, Ed Lin writing for Forbes named Dragonstomper as "the best title ever made in the history of U.S. videogaming" by a single person. [5] Lin singled out the game's ingenuity, noting that "[t]here were multiple ways to solve problems. One could descend to the dragon's lair on a rope or simply jump down (and absorb some damage)."

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References

  1. Hague, James. "The Giant List of Classic Game Programmers".
  2. Dragonstomper at GameFAQs
  3. "The Players Guide to Fantasy Games". Electronic Games. June 1983. p. 47. Retrieved 6 January 2015.
  4. 1 2 Cavanaugh, Chris. "Dragonstomper". AllGame. Archived from the original on November 14, 2014. Retrieved January 3, 2015.
  5. https://web.archive.org/web/20060217043420/http://www.forbes.com/technology/2005/11/23/microsoft-xbox-videogames-cx_el_1123oldgames.html