Platforms: Apple II, Atari 8-bit, Commodore 64, Commodore VIC-20, IBM PC/Compatibles, PC-6000 Series, TI-99/4A, TRS-80 Color Computer


Main Genre:
Sci-Fi / Futuristic


IBM CGA version of Shamus
IBM CGA version of Shamus

Shamus is an action/adventure game originally released in 1982 by Synapse Software for Atari 8-bit computers and shortly after ported to numerous other computer systems. Inspired by the arcade game Berzerk, players need to find their way though a large, multi-room maze to reach "The Shadow's Lair" at the end.


As the robotic detective Shamus, the player's goal is to defeat the Shadow who is located at the end of a large maze of electrified walls broken up into 128 different rooms. To reach the end, players need to navigate the maze of rooms while avoiding not only the walls but the numerous enemy robots as well. Shamus is equipped with a Short High Intensity Vaporizer, or SHIV, which can be used to shoot opponents; only two shots can be on the screen at a time, so careful aim or timing may be necessary. Similar to Evil Otto in Berzerk, if players remain in a room too long the Shadow will eventually appear; it can travel straight through the walls and can't be destroyed, but shooting it will temporarily pause its movements. The rooms in Shamus aren't random and follow the same layout each time the player plays the game and moves from room to room; additionally, if a player travels back to a previous room any enemies that had been destroyed will reappear. Some rooms have exits that are locked; keys appear throughout that players need to collect to open the doors (other bonus items appear as well, including bottles the award an extra life and a question mark which awards a mystery bonus).


Due to system limitations, the Commodore VIC-20 version of Shamus features only 32 rooms instead of the 128 found in other versions. In the IBM PC version, the level layout and location of keys differs from that of the original Atari version.


Platform: Atari 8-bit
By: William Mataga
Platform: Commodore VIC-20
By: Tom Griner
Platform: IBM PC/Compatibles
By: William Mataga
IBM version by: Ken Ellis


Instruction Manual


Product catalogs, magazines, flyers, or other documentation Shamus has appeared in.
*Note: If you are unable to see any images in this section, you may have an ad blocker installed that is blocking the thumbnails and/or images.
Magazine Advertisements
Synapse Software 1983 magazine ad featuring Shamus
HesWare March 1984 magazine ad featuring Shamus
Product Catalogs
Synapse Software product catalog

Packaging/Label Styles

This game has releases with the following standardized packaging styles:

Game Features

This game has been tagged with the following features: