Aztec (video game)

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Aztec
The title screen from Aztec.
Developer(s) Paul Stephenson[1]
Publisher(s) Datamost
Platform(s) Apple II, Atari 400/800, Commodore 64[1]
Release date(s) 1982[1]
Genre(s) Action-adventure
Mode(s) Single player
Distribution 5¼" disk

Aztec is a 1982 computer game, created by Paul Stephenson and published by Datamost. It was originally developed for the Apple II and later ported to the Atari 400/800 and the Commodore 64.

Premise[edit]

Aztec is a platform adventure game in which the player enters and explores the recently discovered "Tomb of Quetzalcoatl" in search of a jade idol.

The tomb's many levels are filled with traps, dangerous animals, Aztec guards and other hazards. Equipped with a machete, a pistol and sticks of dynamite, the player must recover the jade idol and escape the tomb. The player encounters snakes on occasion as well as a giant octopus if he keeps going to lower levels.

Gameplay[edit]

A screenshot from the Apple II version of Aztec.

Before beginning play, the game prompts the player to select a difficulty level from one to eight. Increasing the game's difficulty boosts the number and aggressiveness of the enemies the player will face, but also increases the reward they'll gain from retrieving the idol. The shorter the time to obtain the idol, the higher the reward, in dollars; higher difficulty levels begin the countdown higher. If too much time elapses, it's possible to get a message about the idol being damaged and not worth much anymore.

Each level in the tomb is shown from the side, with three floors and steps often connecting the levels and floors, with piles of bones and debris scattered along the floor. Searching these piles, or occasional boxes or chests, may discover and yield useful items such as a pistol or ammunition, a machette, dynamite, health potions, remains of the Prof. Von Forster, or the idol. At lower levels, more dangerous foes can be found, some of which may capture the player, confiscate items and lead it into a pit. Enemies can also cause the player to fall down to the next level when on the bottom floor. Some rooms contain pits with various traps, such as moving walls, ceilings or flooding water.

Once the idol has been found, the player must make it back up all the way, and escape outside with it. If the player dies, the game allows them to resume from the last level they were in. It also allows them to resume a game from a previous session. Every new game features a different set of eight random-generated levels (of eight screens with three floors each).

The dynamite sticks may either be used as a weapon or to blow up walls and floors (it's also possible to inadvertently break part of a staircase which is critical to climb back out, or to blow up the player).

Interesting artefacts of the game design allow the player to place and lit a dynamite stick in a room and then switch to another room, for it to be located around the same location, to one's advantage or demise. Another one is that chests or enemies located at appropriate locations on the top floor may be climbed on to go up one level. It's also possible to use dynamite to blow the left wall of the introduction screen, and to reach the bottom level (level eight) immediately via this entry (this does not fill the inventory of useful items, however).

Reception[edit]

Softline in 1983 called Aztec "no ordinary arcade or adventure game", stating that "the controls, game design, and animation are good examples of the state of the art in Apple arcades".[2]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Aztec at MobyGames
  2. ^ Shore, Howard A. (1983-01). "Aztec". Softline. p. 45. Retrieved 27 July 2014. 

External links[edit]