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SCORES EXPLAINED:

5.0 Perfect
4.5 Excellent
4.0 Very Good
3.5 Good
3.0 Fair
2.5 Weak
2.0 Poor
1.5 Bad
1.0 Terrible
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0.0 Your Mom


Funkmaster V Reviews


7800 Rank: Unranked

Genre: Dungeon Crawler

Awards: None
That's alot of Pink For an Evil Dungeon, Don't ya Think? Pros: Tons of varied levels/ Easy to control characters
Cons: The enemies are weenies/ Game can get boring fast
So Fellas... You Went With the Stretchy Tights For Today's Dungeon Crawl, Huh?
Overview: You are a sassy treasure hunter who can kick some serious butt for a guy wearing leotards. Hey! So is your buddy... bring him along! Make sure he's in the tight pants with the matching dumb hat and away you go. When you heard about this creepy dungeon place with wizards, walking skeletons and zombies that was full of loot, you and your spry pal jumped at the chance to explore the evil place in hopes to be filthy rich. Even though man-eating grim reapers and ghosts may be a little scary,
you are not a weenie yourself. You have the ability to wander mindless, boring levels for hours and the ability to toss fire in an straight line. Pretty nifty trick. In fact... you may be too tough, because the evil you are facing in Dark Chambers is unarmed and it looks like they learned to fight in the mean streets of Franklin, Tennessee (the home of fake cowboys). Playing for an hour plus without the threat of dying can be and is a real possibility on the standard difficulty. The original idea was probably great in this Gauntlet predecessor based on the computer game "Dandy", but after an hour of wandering the caverns and wasting occult butt it will suddenly dawn on you: "What's the point?" And I'm afraid, sports fans...that I don't know.

Graphics: Everything looks teenie-tiny in Dark Chambers, but the bird's eye view is a must because it helps you with the maze exploration of the levels. Everything being so small doesn't really bother me, but it makes the visual display of the game kinda under whelming. Throughout the levels, the backgrounds change, and this helps keep the game feeling fresh as long as possible. Barriers and walls can be thickets of brush, red brick, stone, or any number of other things. The color scheme in this game is not as tacky as some 7800 games, which is another plus. The two heroes, or one, if you are playing alone, look like Robin Hood and his cousin Little Red Riding Hood, but they are really too tiny to distinguish gender, age, race, or whether or not their faces were melted off in a grease fire. When a bad guy is hit with your fireball, he reduces in rank. If he was a skeleton, he turns into a zombie...if he was a grim reaper, he turns into a wizard. Therefore, different monsters have different levels of resistance. This is pretty weird, but the explosions are nice.

Sound: Absolutely nothing outstanding, but nothing really to poo-poo. Again, lack of music and effects reign supreme in another 7800 game, but no present sound effect is irritating.

Gameplay: Gameplay is smooth. You have pretty good control over your little pee wee guy, and he shoots his fireballs in 8 different directions. Since bad guys are really harmless unless they are in large quantities, cutting down hordes of evil baddies gives you a real satisfying feeling. To be honest, being a little over powered is nice in a 7800 game for once. Your only duties, besides killing the devil's children, is wandering around and gathering objects. Some objects are power-ups, like the shield, the gun(!), and the sword. The gun is a funny addition, because this is obviously Middle Earth influenced, so gun-metal gray heat is just a little out of place. A shield powers up your defenses, a sword adds strength to your fireball, and a gun increases the rate of your fireballs. It also gets you arrested in a National Park. The bad thing about this these power ups are, once you obtain these items, that's it... no more. You really don't need it, but the RPG vibe of the dungeon crawler ends there at level 2. Other items include food that will restore lost health (that depletes slowly as you move), a bomb that will lovingly blow up everything on the screen, and a heart that can be used to resurrect your fallen partner. If this heart is accidentally shot, it turns into a ladder that the evil boobie-heads can climb to annoy you some more. Also, you must find keys to unlock doors in your search to find the ladder to the next lower level.

Originality: There is a convoluted real life story behind Dark Chambers, Gauntlet, a game called Dandy... but whatever it is, the consensuses is that Gauntlet was the best of the three and was headed to the 7800, but that fell apart. So here is Dark Chambers, and it still has a Dungeons and Dragons feel to it. People who like that type of thing might enjoy this game more than the rest of retro-gaming nerdom. It's two guys (or two flat-chested girls) wandering around level after level in search of treasure. Dark Chambers didn't reinvent the wheel, and its not as action packed as Gauntlet. But it should be noted that DC is the only official release on the system that scratches that medieval itch.

Value: Maze lay-outs do not change, but villian respawn points, power-ups, bombs, escape ladders, keys treasure, and food change each game. This can add some replay value to the gig. But the sad truth is, most people will find Dark Chambers boring after powering up to the max. Initially, this game IS fun. You will think I'm a crazed liar that hates this game for irrational reasons. Its true, the bad guys are easily killed, and this can give you a "God-Mode" rush. But, as the game wears on, something suddenly comes over you: "What's the point? Won't somebody please do something cool to try to kill me?" You almost wish a big guy with a machine gun would step around the next corner and start giving you some heck...but he never does. Because they believe solely in hand to hand combat, and that combat is limited to rubbing their boobs on you, the bad guys' strategy is to overwhelm you in numbers. But honestly, I have been in some mosh pits that were scarier than this. If you do get into a pickle, you can use a bomb to blow everyone up, and you will be able to pass the area before they start rejuvenating again. But........... Level Y is pretty cool though, ya'll. There are so many devils and demons in the opening tunnel it is action movie time. It's hard to make it through, but it's honestly one of the most fun levels in the 7800 library. For the best overall experience, play on Advanced mode. All of the end game baddies are there, with all of their evil tricks, and you and your partner will start off underpowered. The game suddenly becomes whether or not you can find the three power ups each before they get ya. But if you successfully power up, you'll probably start to dominate again. What would have helped DC's longevity is a final boss and one of Atari's lame-ass "CONGRATS! THANKS FOR PLAYING" messages after completing Level Z. The underlying plot is that the two protagonists are treasure hunters, not heroes. Well, I can dig that, but after wandering around for 3 levels and finding only two bronze bracelets, I would think one would say to the other, "This places reeks...we could find better deals at Goodwill... which reeks in different ways." And then they would haul booty back up the ladder into downtown Peoria. This MAY have value to a Gen-X dad who wants to share this with his kid--- who would rather be playing his PS5 than being the brown twink in Dark Chambers as his dad asks "This is fun, right? It's fun, right? Sport? It's fun?"

Overall: To be fair, I don't like dungeon crawlers. Diablo 3, Gauntlet... um... the other ones I played... bleh. Not my bag, son. Dark Chambers isn't by any means a bad idea, but the lack of challenge on the standard difficulty will lead to eventual monotony. Gauntlet always had an ace up its sleeve, but Dark Chambers shows you all its cards the first hand. Anyway, this game is fun for a laugh or two, control over your character feels great, and you should at least horse around with it to get to level Y and Z... and THAT is a pretty funktacular experience. But when the level name goes from Z to AA... a sinking feeling hits me like I cannot explain: There's more of this crap? When will it ever end? I feel about as small as a Who in Whoville...(remember 'The Grinch that Stole Christmas?'...they were all on a snowflake... wait.......... were they? Shit... I can't remember.)



Other Reviews:
The Atari Times: 8 out of 10
CV's Atari 7800 Panoramic Froo-Froo: 3.0 out of 5.0 (Fair)
Video Game Critic: D
Atari Gaming Headquarters: 2 out of 10
Hubert James Keener's Review Aggregate Machine: C+

Additional Info:
I would like to take this time to thank Mitch Orman, owner of The Atari 7800 Page for allowing the use of his screenshots for this review.