Space Dungeon

Platforms: Arcade, Atari 5200

Genres

Main Genre:
Action
Perspective:
3rd-Person
Setting:
Sci-Fi / Futuristic
Visual Presentation:
Fixed / Flip Screen
Gameplay Style:
Shooter

Overview

Space Dungeon concept art by Warren Chang
Space Dungeon concept art by Warren Chang
Space Dungeon is an action game developed by Taito America Corporation that was first released in arcades in 1982 and ported to the Atari 5200 a year later. In the game players control a space ship with the goal of collecting as many treasures as possible in a multi-room dungeon before reaching the dungeon's exit. Along the way numerous enemy defenses will need to be avoided or destroyed.

Gameplay

In Space Dungeon players control a space ship which is capable of firing in 8 directions for defense. Players need to guide the ship through each dungeon in the game which consists of 36 rooms arranged in a 6x6 grid. Each room has one or more doors of varying sizes allowing players to travel between rooms. In one room is the exit (visible as a large box marked "Collect Bonus"); Once the exit is reached, bonus points are awarded for each treasure collected and the game continues to the next, more difficult dungeon. It's not necessary to collect all (or even any) of the treasures before leaving a dungeon, players can continue on to the next level as soon as they locate the "Collect Bonus". At the top of the screen is a map of the dungeon which indicates which rooms have already been visited and, after they are located, the location of the "Collect Bonus" and treasures.

The rooms are, of course, guarded by numerous enemies of varying types and capabilities. Should the player's ship come into contact with any of the enemies or their weapon fire a life is lost. When a life is lost any treasure the player was carrying is dropped in that particular room and the player begins again from the starting location in the bottom left room.

Enemies encountered in the game include the following:
  • Piker: A snowflake shaped, heavily armed ship. In order to destroy Pikers, players need to shoot the core of the ship. Even if parts of the shield are destroyed, a Piker will completely regenerate if the player leaves and re-enters the room.
  • Corner Zapper: Corner Zappers always appear in groups of four with one in each corner of the room. They fire lasers randomly between different pairs and the player's ship is destroyed if it's hit. If the player leaves a room with even one Corner Zapper remaining, all four will reappear the next time the player enters that same room.
  • Deathsquare: A square-shaped slow moving enemy, Deathsquares can be destroyed with a single shot. They do not fire back at the player.
  • Thief: The thief appears starting on level 2 and randomly travels the dungeon picking up treasure. It can't be destroyed, however shooting the thief will cause it to drop any treasure it is carrying.
  • Guard: Guards usually appear near treasures and shoot spores at the player.
  • Executioner: This type of enemy ship will fire spores and actively chase the player in an attempt to collide with the player's ship.
  • Enforcer: Enforcers can appear suddenly in a room and will charge rapidly towards the player's ship. If players travel to another room, the Enforcer will immediately appear again and continue pursuit.
  • Spore Case: Starting with level 3, Spore Cases will appear after being in the same room for a short time. They neither chase the player nor fire spores, however if they are shot the Spore Case breaks up into three spores that fire in random directions. The longer a player is in a given room, the more Spore Cases will appear.
As players progress through the game enemies become more numerous, faster, and more aggressive.

Treasures

Arcade version of Space Dungeon
Arcade version of Space Dungeon
The following treasures can be found in Space Dungeon:
  • Iron Cross: 500 points
  • Copper Piece: 1000 points
  • Silver Star: 2000 points
  • Golden Fleece: 4000 points
  • Platinum Ark: 8000 points
Points are awarded for the treasures a player is carrying when a level is completed by entering the "Collect Bonus". Bonus lives are awarded for every 10,000 points.

Controls

The arcade version of Space Dungeon is notable for utilzing two joysticks at a time to control the player's space ship with one joystick providing movement and the other firing (this allowed players to move and fire in different directions simultaneously). The Atari 5200 version of the game kept this control scheme and required the use of two joysticks at a time; a controller holder was included in the package in order to make this arrangement easier to operate. Robotron: 2084 would later also use a similar control scheme and included the same controller holder with the Atari 5200 port of the game.

Credits

Platform: Arcade
Designed and Programmed by: Rex Battenberg
Platform: Atari 5200
Programmed by: Allen Merrell, Eric Knopp
Graphics by: Alan J. Murphy

Pictures

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Space Dungeon
Arcade Version

Documentation

Instruction Manual
Atari 5200

Marketing

Product catalogs, magazines, flyers, or other documentation Space Dungeon has appeared in.
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Arcade Flyers
Space Dungeon arcade flyer - Front
Space Dungeon arcade flyer - Back

Packaging/Label Styles

This game has releases with the following standardized packaging styles: