The original review can be read at www.kickedintheface.com by following this URL: http://www.kickedintheface.com/games/reviews/Adventure-Atari_2600.htm
When the original Adventure saw the light of day, it was a text based game created by Willie Crowther and Don Woods. This game was so large for it's time, it was pretty much exclusive to main frame computers. What took hundreds of KB of memory to run, Warren Robinett figured he could do with a measly 4KB. Even though he was told this could not be accomplished, he went ahead anyway and created the grand daddy of all graphical console-based adventures. Keeping the same name even though the new story was only loosely based on the original, Atari's version of Adventure was born.
So what is Adventure all about, anyway? Well, there's this evil wizard, and he stole the Enchanted Chalice from the golden castle and hid it. It's your job to find it and bring it back. Well, okay, the story isn't that spectacular, but for a game with no text (except for the fabled Easter Egg), no music, minimal sound, and primitive graphics, who really needs a complex story line in the first place?
Literally playing as what appears to be a block cursor for a computer, it's your job to grab the key to the gold castle, get inside, grab your sword (which looks more like an arrow), and explore the world of Adventure. Along the way you'll run into the dragons Yorgle (yellow), Grundle (green), and Rhindle (red). What amazes me about this game for it's time was the fact that there was so much that was crammed into this single cartridge, yet they still had enough room to give the three different dragons separate personalities. They still look like marshmallow Peeps kids find in their Easter baskets, but there are few enemies more feared that Rhindle in the history of video games.
While going through Adventure there are also plenty of other challenges to be had. The mazes in this game are very well done, and when you get into the dark mazes where you don't get to see the whole thing, only small sections at a time, the level of difficulty goes right through the roof. The other big challenge in Adventure comes in the form of a bat. This bat, not bound by most of the walls in the game, will fly all over the place collecting one item at a time. Sounds kind of cool and all, but when this bat takes your bridge which abandons you in a maze, or robs you of your sword and in exchange drops off a dragon, it's easy to come up with all kinds of new obscenities to yell at the game. That's almost part of the gameplay: How many highly offensive words can you string together and slightly alter when the bat completely screws you over?
With all of the incredible gameplay and challenge comes some bad parts to this game. Namely...flicker. Get a few things on the screen at once and watch the game go crazy. The only other main complaint about the game is the system in which items are picked up and dropped. If you press the button, you'll drop your item. That's a nice feature and all, but you'll also drop your item if you touch another item. That's simply a pain in the ass. An even better feature would have been to hold you button down and keep your item as you pass by another item. This feature could have also been used to "step over" dead dragons just incase you slew one that blocks your path. With all the bad aside, Adventure is a very well made game even by today's standards. Easily one of the best ever made for the Atari 2600.
* The very first RPG-like game for a console.
* The very first video game to feature an "Easter Egg".
* Quite the accomplishment to turn a text adventure game which was run on a main frame computer into a 4KB graphic adventure.
* Takes some dedication to complete on level three, but the learning curve is slim as level one can be beaten fairly easily.
* The Catacombs and the Red Dungeon are ridiculously challenging to navigate.
* The graphics, even for it's time, suck. I mean, come on, those are supposed to be dragons? I'm fine with using my imagination on that cursor of a hero or a sword that looked like an arrow, but the dragons are really pushing the limits.
* The fact that when you touch an object, you drop the object you are currently holding can be frustrating at times.
* That damn bat...damn you!
* Flicker can get annoying with a few objects on the screen at one time.