Medieval Mayhem was written by Atari 2600 homebrew developer Darrell Spice Jr. and released under the SpiceWare label in 2006. David Vazquez and Erik Ehrling provided graphics and music for the game, respectively. The game was inspired by Atari's 1980 arcade game Warlords, which was first ported to the Atari 2600 in 1981 by game designer Carla Meninsky.
Medieval Mayhem gameplay screenshot featuring the "launch dragon"
Medieval Mayhem is an action game that features a king in each of the four corners of the screen. Each king is protected by a brick castle. The object of the game is to destroy the opponents' kings by breaking through the walls of the castle with a fireball. Up to four players can play simultaneously; each controls a shield in front of the castle. If there are fewer than four players, the remaining shields are controlled by the computer.
At the start of the game (and each round), a "launch dragon" appears and releases a fireball. As the game progresses, additional fireballs appear. A round is complete when three kings have been destroyed, leaving one remaining. The player with the surviving king wins the round, and a knight marches across the screen, carrying the banner of the winning player.
Retro Gamer published a favorable review of the game, giving it a 90% rating and calling it "hugely entertaining". The game received an "A+" rating from The Video Game Critic, the only Atari 2600 homebrew to do so, and one of the only two Atari 2600 games from any era to earn an A+ rating. (The other is the 1984 Starpath Supercharger version of Frogger).Allgame gave it 4 out of 5 stars.Medieval Mayhem has also been featured in several retro-gaming tournaments.
^Allen, Mat (2007). "Medieval Mayhem: Let the muliplayer mayhem commence". Retro Gamer (39): 14. "As simple a game as Medieval Mayhem is in concept, it provides a hugely entertaining multiplayer experience of immense longevity. The colourful graphics and chunky sound are mere icing on the cake of this excellent game, one that deserves to be a part of your collection."