Advanced Dungeons & Dragons: Cloudy Mountain

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Advanced Dungeons & Dragons: Cloudy Mountain
Ad&d cm cover.png
The original cover of Advanced Dungeons and Dragons before it was retitled to Advanced Dungeons & Dragons: Cloudy Mountain.
Developer(s)Mattel Electronics
Publisher(s)Mattel Electronics
SeriesAdvanced Dungeons & Dragons
Platform(s)Intellivision
Release
Genre(s)Action-adventure[1]
Mode(s)Single-player

Advanced Dungeons & Dragons is an Intellivision game; it was one of the first Advanced Dungeons & Dragons games to be officially licensed by TSR, Inc. It was later retitled to Advanced Dungeons & Dragons: Cloudy Mountain to distinguish it from the sequel, Advanced Dungeons & Dragons: Treasure of Tarmin. It was also the first Intellivision cartridge to use more than 4K of ROM.

Plot summary[edit]

In Advanced Dungeons & Dragons, the player must collect items like a boat and keys to cross difficult terrain, reach the resting place of a broken crown, and restore the crown. During the game, the player will navigate randomly generated rooms and corridors and fend off monsters. The player's main weapons are arrows, which are launched by pressing the number-pad keys on the Intellivision controller.[1]

Gameplay[edit]

The gameplay involves exploring a series of randomly generated scrolling mazes, looking for treasures and weapons with which to defeat monsters, and recovering the two pieces of the Crown of Kings.

Players begin the game on one side of a large wilderness in a cabin; on the other side is a huge mountain topped by clouds and containing a slumbering dragon. Smaller mountains and geographical obstacles bar the way in between. On this map, the player is represented as a trio of flashing white dots, which correspond to the number of lives the player has left. Each time the player loses a life, a dot disappears until all have gone and the game is over. Different difficulty settings determine the monsters' speed and the quantity of arrows to be found.

To play the game, the player moves the white dots across the wilderness. Rivers, forests, gates, and small mountains bar their path. However, many of the mountains contain caves that can be explored. When the dots move adjacent to a mountain, the mountain will change color to represent whether or not it can be entered. The new color corresponds to the type of monsters and what item are found within. Some will contain a boat, which can be used to cross rivers, some a key for passing through gates, and others an axe which can be used to pass through forests.

Upon entering a mountain, the main part of the game begins. The player is represented by a black figure armed with a bow. The player must navigate a maze, which is initially shrouded in darkness. As the figure explores, the shroud disappears, revealing more of the maze. The player moves through the maze until he finds the exit or is killed (except in Cloudy Mountain, the final maze, where the game immediately ends on gathering both pieces of the Crown). While in the maze, monsters attack the player. The difficulty of each mountain determines how many monsters are on the map and also which "boss" monster is present. The player can kill the monsters by firing arrows with the bow (using the numbered key-pad, in a similar manner to Tron: Deadly Discs); the arrows can bounce off walls and potentially injure the player. The player only has a limited number of arrows, and giant spiders can consume the player's arrows, but more arrows can be found within most levels. The player has no form of melee attack, so it is advisable to always attack from a distance. Rats, bats, and spiders are killed with a single hit, but "boss" monsters take two arrows to kill. These boss monsters include giant snakes, demons, and dragons. It is possible for several to be present in one maze. The "final bosses" are a pair of winged dragons within Cloudy Mountain, each of whom guard one half of the Crown. These winged dragons take three arrows to kill. Indestructible and slow-moving "blobs" are also often present.

A player is damaged by physical contact with monsters. With each injury, their color changes, first to blue and then to red; a third injury causes death.

Sound is an integral part of the game. Although most of the map is in darkness, certain adversaries can be heard before being seen; however, every cave contains a number of bats, whose wings flap loudly and obscure other monsters' sounds, making it more likely for the player to be taken by surprise.

Upon completing the game, the screen reverts from the final maze to the wilderness map, where the dragon's purring no longer sounds.

Reception[edit]

Reception
Review scores
PublicationScore
Electronic Fun with Computers & Games4/4 stars[2]
TeleMatch1/6 stars[3]
Note: This rating system puts 1 as the highest rating.

Electronic Games stated in 1983 that "Advanced Dungeons & Dragons ... proves to have been worth the wait".[4] The game received an award in the category of "1984 Best Adventure Videogame" at the 5th annual Arkie Awards, where the judges noted that it was "the first videogame version of the role-playing game that has entertained millions for many years".[5]:42

German gaming magazine TeleMatch gave the game a very positive review, giving it a one out of six, which is the highest on their rating system, and also stating, "In Advanced Dungeons & Dragons everything just makes sense." and, "If you find yourself interested in other - and I repeat: inferior - so-called adventure games on other systems, you will find that this game is the Non Plus Ultra."[3] Electronic Fun with Computers & Games gave the game four out of four, stating in their review, "The graphics are terrific. The dragons look a lot like Godzilla ... each creature has its own distinctive behaviour and charm." but expressed their distain for the lack of a proper ending.[2]

Levi Buchanan, in a classic Dungeons & Dragons videogame retrospective for IGN, wrote that Advanced Dungeons & Dragons is a very basic adventure game similar to Adventure, and "uses so little of the license in game that you can almost see that as more of a branding deal than anything".[1] He concluded by saying: "Even though it has so little to do with the actual D&D universe, this is still an entertaining retro game worth checking out."[1]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Levi Buchanan (March 6, 2008). "Dungeons & Dragons Classic Videogame Retrospective". IGN. Retrieved 2011-03-18.
  2. ^ a b "Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Review". Electronic Fun with Computers & Games. Fun & Games Publishing. February 1983. p. 49.
  3. ^ a b "Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Review". TeleMatch. TeleMatch Verlag. December 1983. p. 38-39.
  4. ^ "The Players Guide to Fantasy Games". Electronic Games. June 1983. p. 47. Retrieved 6 January 2015.
  5. ^ Kunkel, Bill; Katz, Arnie (January 1984). "Arcade Alley: The Arcade Awards, Part 1". Video. Vol. 7 no. 10. Reese Communications. pp. 40–42. ISSN 0147-8907.

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