The Mazes of Shamus

March 8th, 2006 by Medarch

Mazes of ShamusSimple but well-constructed, Shamus is one of my favorite games for the Atari 800. It's an engaging experience…unless you see what I'm about to show you. That's because the real enjoyment and challenge of Shamus as a game is mapping its unpauseable, implausible geometry.

Shamus is a natural extension of Atari's old Berzerk. Touch the wrong thing, and you die: an enemy, a bullet, or a wall. There's even an Evil Otto equivalent, the Shadow, who comes to get you if you're on a screen too long. But a fixed map, keys, and keyholes bring in an adventure element that Berserk doesn't have.

Mazes of ShamusNow I could fill you in on all sorts of game details, but they won't make much difference. Just blast your way through the maze, heading for room 127. The following tips, however, may help you choose your route: 1. the large, difficult rooms are the horizontal connectors (those with left and right exits). All of these, plus the start room, contain an item, while none of the other rooms do. 2. The blinking question mark, called a "Mystery," will give you points and/or an extra life but may also summon the Shadow immediately, so it's best to eliminate all enemies in the room before grabbing it. 3. Some of the keys change position from game to game. Check out my maps (below) to work out the best route through all the places they may be hiding.

Warning: Shamus spoilers ahead!

Now for the spoilers! Look at the maps of the four levels below. Also, check out the reward screen (complete with bad grammar) at the disappointing end of this game.

Mazes of Shamus
Map of the "black" level in Shamus.
Mazes of Shamus
Map of the "blue" level in Shamus.
Mazes of Shamus
Map of the "green" level in Shamus.
Mazes of Shamus
Map of the "red" level in Shamus.
Mazes of Shamus
Monsters defending a key.
Mazes of Shamus
The orange key room.
Mazes of Shamus
The last room in Shamus.
Mazes of Shamus
The somewhat disappointing congratulatory screen, seen upon completing Shamus.

"You made it! But now it gets real hard!"

If you can’t play Shamus on a real 800, the Atari800Win PLus emulator will serve you well — just don't be tempted to cheat, not too soon anyway. The cheat options work like crazy to let you pass through bullets, enemies, or walls, if you ever need them. Have fun!



10 Responses to “The Mazes of Shamus

  1. Mat$kaT Says:

    OK, after lurking here now for 2 days I have crackad and posted a comment!

    Shamus was the sh*t!!!!

    I had shamus on a CARTRIDGE for my PCjr when I was a kid. This game rocked!

    Great to be reminded of it! I can't decribe the supreme nostalgia I feel when reading your page, RedWolf!

    from BBSing to Shamus, you have a new fan!

    Keep up the great work!

  2. Hope Says:

    I got this game new in 1982! I played it till I won. Just sharing it with my two video game junkie kids to show them how games used to be!

  3. Langel Says:

    Shamus on the VIC 20 here! My favorite for sure on that system.

  4. Siegfried Lenz Says:

    Shamus was my favourite Atari 800 game which I used to play for hours. I managed 126.770 points, finishing twice and getting to the blue level for the third time.

    The Atari version rocks but I couldn't get the hang of the C64 and Gameboy versions which didn't get the shimmering walls and the movement of the Shamus right. The gameboy is further hampered by it's small screen which as far as I recall requires in-room scrolling.

    Thanks for the map. I used to have that map in my head but found it's patchy after 20+ years.

  5. RubberBekki Says:

    I too had a PCjr as a kid and I had "Shamus" but in diskette form (ahh, that red IBM label on that un-notched copy-protected 5.25″ floppy within the hard plastic IBM case with the solid cardboard foldout instructions…they don't make 'em like that anymore).

    My brother thought it was easy to rack up huge scores by simply shooting the enemies and just toggling between two rooms. Meanwhile I took the time to explore it from beginning to end and complete it. Sure, he may have had a high score but did he ever SHIV Shadow? Nope.

    That game and Jumpman were my fave games on the PCjr. Because the system was underpowered it couldn't run much else so I basically taught myself how to program it while exploring its internals with info from Peter Norton's "Inside The IBM PC" book.

    Anyway, thanks to emulation I can now check out all the different versions of Shamus if I wanted to. Like playing Shamus on an emulated IBM 5150. ;-)

  6. Bob Says:

    Where can you download an Atari emulator to play this game on? The above link doesn't work. And where to download the game at?

    And I'd like to be able to use an NES controller since I've got that with a USB cable. Plus, I like that controller compared to a joy stick anyways.

  7. Benj Edwards Says:

    Here's a link to a tutorial about the Atari800Win emulator, Bob. I believe the links work on there (I've updated the link above too). You will also need an 800 ROM to use the emulator, which that tutorial will tell you how to get.

    http://www.atariage.com/5200/emulation/atari800_tutorial/

    You can download the game above, click on the "Shamus" link in the last paragraph.

  8. MDJ Says:

    Thank you for writing this article. I played this on the atari 800 via tape drive back in the early 80′s. I was never able to beat it but I sure worked hard at it. Shamus has remained one of my favorite memories from those days.
    Peace.

  9. VileR Says:

    Very late in the game, I'm sure, but here are the maps for the IBM PC version. :)
    http://8088mph.blogspot.com/2013/10/the-mazes-of-shamus-ibm-pc-version.html

  10. Benj Edwards Says:

    Very cool, VileR. Great work and thanks for sharing!

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