Task: Play Dark Chambers on an Atari 7800
Needed: Atari 7800 or emulator
Time: 15-30 minutes
One of my all-time favorite arcade games is Gauntlet that was produced by Atari games and released in 1985. I enjoyed playing it back in the day on the coin-op and then again through emulation on the Gamecube and Wii as part of the Midway Arcade Treasures series that I still have. Interestingly, Gauntlet was developed using heavy inspiration from a 1983 Atari 8-bit game called Dandy that was released by APX. Apparently, the developer of Dandy was not happy and threatened to sue. The case was settled out of court. This is all nicely documented by the Atari Protos website. Highly relevant to this post is that Dandy was re-released in 1988 as Dark Chambers for the 2600 and 7800.
As Gauntlet is heavily inspired by Dandy, Dark Chambers strongly resembles Gauntlet. For this reason, I think Dark Chambers is an awesome game. I particularly recommend the game on the 7800. The graphics are quite good and the game play is fun. All of these games are of course inspired by Dungeons and Dragons. If you are a D&D fan you will likely enjoy Dark Chambers.
You have two options for playing the 7800 version of Dark Chambers.
First, you can buy a Dark Chambers cartridge and play it on original hardware. These are common on eBay and run about $10 to $25.
Second, you can run Dark Chambers on an emulator. The ROM is available online from Atari Mania.
I love this game. Although it has a lot of similarities with Gauntlet, there are a number of differences. For example, I was surprised not see the large hoards of monsters coming at me in Dark Chambers. Also, there is no synthesized voice. In general, the game play is a bit slower that Gauntlet which I kind of liked. Not quite as a much mindless hack and slash. Give it a try!
There is a nice discussion of Dark Chambers and it’s relationship to Gauntlet on episode 15 of the 7800 Game by Game podcast. The segment starts at time 37:50.
I have a Dark Chambers loose cartridge and also have a new in box (NIB) copy with original shrink wrap (see below) that I purchased online in the early 2000s when there were large lots of these things available for sale.