Orphaned Computers & Game Systems

Vol. II, Issue 5    August 1998


by Chris Federico

Again, I know that this is incomplete, but it was all I had to offer at the time. Allow me to direct you to the Strategy & Solution Compendium elsewhere on this website for more detailed, better written prose. CF 6/3/11

If you've been spending months/years/whatever wondering how to beat any of the following 2600 games, have I got a summertime present for you. I have 16 years of experience, trial-and-error and determined achievement (modest, ain't I?) collected under this paragraph, over the next few pages and at your service.

Win at these games...

  1. Adventure, Atari
  2. Dark Caverns, Atari
  3. Fathom, Imagic
  4. Haunted House, Atari
  5. Raiders of the Lost Ark, Atari
  6. Riddle of the Sphinx, Imagic
  7. Solaris, Atari

Adventure -- You already know how to win, but here are a couple of tips to make that victory occur with less headache: The bat will be stuck in any castle if he's flying in a straight-up, diagonally up or straight-across direction. He can never deviate from whatever route he's on, inside or outside a castle, without locating an object to head for.

If you keep your cursor-guy pushing downward against any surface, a dragon can't swallow him. This goes for horizontal movement along the surface as well; just make sure to keep pushing downward at the same time you move.

Near the northwest corner of the second White Castle room (the screen right above the first section of orange maze) is a pathway that you can only access with the bridge. It leads to an area that you can't get to without the bridge. Sometimes the Chalice is in this hidden area.

For secret-room-finding, see the Easter egg article elsewhere in this issue.

Dark Caverns -- Having trouble leaving a level? Shoot every Spawner you see (the things that bad guys come out of), because firing upgrades and level exits are hidden under them. Grab every key you spot, even if you have to walk around through another section to get to it.

Fathom -- Just follow the directions listed below. The numbers are the level numbers. The characters are those who should get each succeeding piece of the Trident, IN THAT ORDER. You want your seagull to go upward from each denoted screen and collect clouds until he gets a Trident piece and can go back downward into the main, volcano-laden area. Therefore, "furthest screen to west" would mean before the furthest volcano, since you can't fly upward from volcano screens. Remember that one volcano is added to the west for every new level.

If anyone needs instructions that explain how to play this game in the first place, feel free to e-mail me.

Haunted House -- Learn the map! If you know which doorways will be locked and which won't, you'll have no trouble making a quick, thorough search of the house, and you'll hardly ever get trapped by a nasty.

Raiders of the Lost Ark -- To see the two secrets, see the Easter egg article elsewhere in this issue.

Grab the whip. Go south to the Marketplace and get the grenade, the key and the Eyepiece to the Staff of Ra (the Staff itself is nowhere in the game; the Eyepiece can only be attained after you've stood on either the grenade basket or the key basket for a little while. Buy the flute to make this easier; you don't have to worry about moving away from a basket to avoid the snake if the flute's playing).

Go back up to the Entrance Room and use the grenade to blow a hole in the eastern wall (make sure to exit to the south before it goes off!). Drop the flute if you have it, then exit through the hole. Grab the Timepiece in the next screen, the Temple Entrance. Exit to the southeast. There's no reason to venture into the Spider Room unless you've played for a long time and walls have been built over more practical doorways.

Whip your way out of the Dungeon cubicle and go east to the Treasure Room. What you want to get are two coin baskets and the Ankh. Use the Timepiece to help you figure out when the Ankh's going to appear; if the clock's pointing straight up or down, now's the time. Incidentally, the clock pointing straight left or right will make the Chai appear (it's normally used to bribe the Black Sheik in the Marketplace to take you instantly to the Black Market, but this is unnecessary in this particular solution process). The clock pointing in any diagonal direction will make the Hourglass appear.

The Hourglass is sort of like a manual Ankh -- you can make the grappling hook appear if you exit the Marketplace to the south, being sure to line yourself up so that you emerge onto a mesa instead of thin air, and you move the inventory's selector dot onto the Hourglass. The advantage it has over the Ankh is that you can de-select the Hourglass at any time, whereas the Ankh must be dropped if you want to get rid of the grappling hook and resume normal movement. The disadvantage is that you can't just press the fire button to reappear on a mesa if you fall off, as you can with the Ankh.

Once you have the Ankh and two coin baskets, press the button while in the Room of the Shining Light (the screen with the Dungeon cubicles) while the selector dot's on the Ankh. You'll appear on the center mesa in the Mesa Field, grappling hook swinging around you. Make your way to the lowest centered mesa and drop the Ankh. Center yourself perfectly and walk south.

You're now on a very thin strip of ground. Don't walk off or you'll die; just head straight south. Put the selector dot on the key; as you walk past a point just south of center-screen, parallel with one of the blocks of color to your right, the Map Room will illuminate. Once you've found this spot, keep the selector dot on the key and walk right. Center yourself perfectly under the map, then take the selector dot off the key (but don't drop it). Remember, if you're not perfectly centered, you'll fall to your death as soon as the selector dot's no longer on the key. Also, at no spot under the map should you walk up or down, even when the key's selected. When you leave the narrow strip of land, you only want to walk straight across in order to center yourself under the map.

Once you're centered under the map, select the Timepiece and watch its clock-face. When it's pointing straight up, drop it and put the selector dot on the Eyepiece. The sun will now come up. You don't need the Timepiece, but it helps make the wait a little more tolerable. As long as you've now selected the Eyepiece, a little dot will flash somewhere on the map. This is a map of the Mesa Field; make a note of which mesa contains the flashing dot, then drop the Eyepiece, put the selector dot on the key, and walk back onto the narrow vertical strip of ground.

Keep the dot on the key as you walk south. You don't need it anymore, but you now have to dash through a room of thieves, and if you accidentally touch one of them, all they'll get is your currently selected object. Head southward quickly, exiting through the southern border, a little to the east.

Now that you're amongst the Black Market, you can drop the key (unless a thief did take it). Use the two coin baskets to buy the shovel. Now exit to the east, just a little north of center. You'll appear back in the regular Marketplace.

Return to the Treasure Room. Remember to bring the whip along the way, in order to escape from the Dungeon cubicle. Grab the Timepiece to help out in getting the Ankh again. What you want to leave the Treasure Room with this time around is the Ankh and one coin basket. Return to the Marketplace and buy the parachute. Now use the Ankh to get to the Mesa Field again. Swing to the mesa that contained the flashing dot in the Map Room. Drop the Ankh, make sure the selector dot's on the parachute, and run off the side of the mesa!

Press the button quickly to open the parachute. Swing into the opening by getting the parachute caught on the branch. Timing is everything.

Once you're inside the mesa, drop the parachute and immediately run to the bottom of the screen, being careful not to let any of the thieves touch you and steal the shovel. Use the shovel to dig through the small pile of dirt at the bottom: Move back and forth along the pile at wide paces, pressing the button to dig each time you cross the pile's center. Dig up that Ark, and behold! The title screen!

Riddle of the Sphinx -- This solution is for game 3, the hardest. The objects all pertain as Temple offerings in the other variations, however, if you're just playing for score.

Dig until you get the Scepter, which will allow you to move really fast throughout the game no matter how thirsty or injured you are. If you dig up anything else, hit RESET.

Travel south (that's right) until you reach the southernmost oasis. Drink at it; you now have the Staff of Ra. (Staff of Ra? Which game are we playing here, anyway?!) You'll need this thing to give the Temple of Ra your remaining treasures at the north end of the desert, sending your score into orbit and winning the game.

Head north, with the Scepter selected for fast movement (unless you're digging as you go). Don't touch a bad guy, or he'll steal it. Get a shovel from one of the neutrals and dig for more treasures, giving up Scepter-speed for now. If he gives you something other than a shovel, just appeal to someone else, keeping the other thing. It'll come in handy later no matter what it is.

As you walk, drink at every oasis you encounter. It'll help you move at a reasonable pace when you decide to dig for stuff, or if anyone steals your Scepter and you have to dig for it again. Also, touch Isis (the blue lady) every time she shows up. Not only will she heal you, but most of the time, she'll give you a treasure you don't already have. Don't shoot her unless you want to lose points, and don't shoot or touch the bad god when he shows up -- but you knew that.

Keep it mind that drinking from the Chalice relieves all of your thirst, like the Water Jug except it doesn't disappear when you use it. Utilizing the Medallion heals all of your wounds, but doesn't disappear like the Healing Leaf does. The reason that said items don't disappear is that they're treasures, while the Jug and the Leaf are just objects. Another handy non-treasure object is the Shield (protecting you from the baddies' rocks). Too bad you can't use two things at the same time!

Also keep in mind that no character in the game but yours can move northward. Whenever you walk southward, stay all the way to the west; this way, bad guys can't surprise you (or even shoot accurately at you as you pass).

Ignore the first Pyramid as you pass it. What you want by the time you approach the first Temple, the bird-shaped one, is the Healing Leaf (to be able to walk past this Temple) and the Scroll (for which the Temple will give you a key). Once you have the key, backtrack to the first Pyramid, open it with the key, and get one of the Tablets (the game's major treasures).

Walk north past the bird-Temple. The next Temple you'll encounter is the rectangular blue one. Give it the Water Jug (to be able to pass by) and the Crown (for which you'll receive another key). Walk north to the next Pyramid and use the key to get another Tablet.

The last Temple is the rectangular, fire-colored one. It wants the Shield (to let you through) and the thing that looks suspiciously like the Raiders Ankh (for the final key). To the north is the last Pyramid and the third Tablet.

Now you'll come upon the Sphinx. It wants one of the Tablets; it's always random, so try each of them until one's accepted. Walk north to the Temple of Ra, select the Staff from your inventory and touch the Temple. It will take everything you're carrying that's a treasure as opposed to a mere object. Treasures are dug up or gifted by Isis; neutrals only give you regular objects. As we've seen, each Temple wants one treasure and one regular object except the first, which wants two regular objects.

Your score will increase for each treasure given to the Temple of Ra, and then the game will end. If you want to win and get a high score, just make sure you re-dig-up whatever treasures you've given away. This can get frustrating, as it takes a long time to find something when you're digging if you're already carrying most of the treasures. Another high-scoring strategy is to re-offer appropriate items to Temples you've already passed.

Solaris -- There's a certain trail of quadrants (map screens) that you have to follow to find Solaris.

From your starting quadrant, go West, north, west, north, east, east, east or north, north, east, east and south. This is based on a map by Scott Stilphen that appeared in 2600 Connection #8. For information on receiving that newsletter, e-mail Tim Duarte at timdu@hotmail.com.

Stop at every accessible enemy planet along the way. You get an extra life for rescuing all of the trapped good guys and blowing up the planet, and you need all the lives you can get for this trip. Stop at any accessible friendly planet to refuel. Remember that you leave a quadrant if you enter a sector next to the "doorway"; try not to get confused about why you've suddenly appeared in a quadrant that you didn't want to enter.

The nastier aliens (Cobras, for instance) in the outer-space battles are easier to kill if you keep your ship moving constantly upward, holding it all the way to the left or right. The aliens get confused and keep wrapping below you. If you suddenly stop this movement and shoot at one, you'll get him before he gets you. But whether you place a successful shot or not, start moving in that weird manner again or someone'll get a bead on you!

On any planet surface, dodging enemies is always easier than trying to shoot them. In a corridor, reserve your lone two simultaneously allowed shots for one bug-eyed baddie: The first shot can be timed to shoot his bullet, and the second will take out the alien himself. The planets that fly at you after a battle's been completed simply suck your fuel upon collision. To save time, use the righthand joystick, simply pressing the fire button to return to the map screen instead of waiting for the game to return you there automatically.

And there they is. Hope this helped someone. Remember how to win any game, whether it's essentially winnable or not: Have fun! If you're getting frustrated and angry, it's time for a different cartridge. You can always go back. -- CF