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
Series Advanced Dungeons & Dragons
Platform(s) Intellivision
Release
  • NA: 1982
Genre(s) Action-adventure[1][2]
Mode(s) Single-player

Advanced Dungeons & Dragons was an Intellivision game, 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 necessary items like a boat and keys to cross difficult terrain, to reach the resting place of a broken crown and restore the crown. During the game, the player will cross 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.[2]

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, with a huge mountain topped by clouds and a slumbering dragon (Cloudy Mountain) on the other side. In between, a number of smaller mountains and geographical obstacles bar the way. 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. According to the manual each dot represents one of a trio of adventurers who are on their quest to recover the Crown of Kings.

To complete 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 traveled through and 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 boats, which can be used to cross rivers, some keys for passing through gates, and others axes 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 guide the figure through a maze, which is initially shrouded in darkness. As the figure explores, the shroud disappears, revealing more of the maze. This idea of a "shroud" continues to be used in many RPGs produced since, including Dungeons and Dragons games.

The figure 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 the Tron Deadly Discs game), which can ricochet off walls to hit their targets and potentially injure the player. 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.

The player only has a limited number of arrows, although more can be found within each level. The player has no form of melee attack, so it is advisable to always attack from a distance.

Players are damaged by physical contact with monsters. As they are injured, their color changes from black, to blue, then red; a third injury causes death.

Sound is an integral part of the game. Although most of the map is in darkness, when approaching certain adversaries it is possible to hear them before seeing them. Snakes make a hissing sound, for example. However, every cave contains a number of bats; although harmless to the player, bats create a loud flapping sound with their wings that obscures the sound of any other monster, making it more likely for the player to run into one and be taken by surprise. One particularly troublesome adversary is the giant spider, which makes no noise at all but it has the ability to consume the player's arrows.

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

Several different difficulty settings are available, which determined the number of arrows the player might find and the speed of the monsters the player encounters.

Reception[edit]

Electronic Games stated in 1983 that "Advanced Dungeons & Dragons ... proves to have been worth the wait".[3] 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".[4]:42

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".[2] 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."[2]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "List of games: Action Adventure". allgame. Retrieved 2009-05-20. 
  2. ^ a b c d Levi Buchanan (March 6, 2008). "Dungeons & Dragons Classic Videogame Retrospective". IGN. Retrieved 2011-03-18. 
  3. ^ "The Players Guide to Fantasy Games". Electronic Games. June 1983. p. 47. Retrieved 6 January 2015. 
  4. ^ 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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