Archive for the 'Strategy & Tips' Category

Mario Adventure FAQ

Monday, March 13th, 2006

Mario Adventure FAQ v0.9
Written by Greg Head – Edited & Formatted for HTML by RedWolf

Table of Contents:

Section 1: Introduction & FAQ History
Section 2: What is Mario Adventure?
Section 3: Enemies
Section 4: Items
Section 5: Frequently Asked Questions (Hints & Tips)
Section 6: Level/Map Walkthroughs
Section 7: Key Locations
Section 8: Props
Section 9: Legal Notice

Section 1: Introduction & FAQ History

Mario AdventureMario Adventure is a ROM hack of Super Mario Bros 3 that’s so good that calling it a ROM hack is almost an insult. Think of it as “The Lost Levels” from Super Mario All-Stars, only based on SMB3 instead of SMB1. This game has totally new maps and levels, items, enemies, and surprises.

Like Lost Levels, Mario Adventure is hard. In fact, you’ll have to be able to beat SMB3 proficiently before you can really sink your teeth into this game. It’s full of intense and well-thought out levels, some of which will require you to build and refine strategies to complete. Some levels may leave you too frustrated to continue, and that’s where this FAQ comes in.

I like to think of this FAQ as a last resort. It’s better to do the game without outside help, but a little explanation can go a long way to understanding a level, and really, beating this game without any real cheating is a heck of a job well done. Check out the What is Mario Adventure? section to read all the changes between Mario Adventure and SMB3. The next two sections give details of the enemies and items in this game. The Frequently Asked Questions section contains lots of tips that apply to many situations in the game.

After that is the detailed Level/Map Walkthrough section, which gives tips on individual levels. Right now, only the first two and last two worlds are covered by the walkthrough, but the aforementioned Frequently Asked Questions section has tips that may help you through those levels.

After the walkthrough is the Key Locations section. Only peek at this one if you’ve given up on finding a key.

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The Mazes of Shamus

Wednesday, March 8th, 2006

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!

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The Secrets of Archon

Friday, December 16th, 2005

A detailed look into one of the best games of all time

v1.0 – by Medarch

I would say ‘greatest,’ but that usually means influential, which Archon hasn’t been particularly. But that only serves to solidify its uniqueness. Billed as a combination action/strategy game upon its release in 1983, Archon ends up being far more action-oriented, but the diversity of characters from the fantasy realm and their combat attributes the game employs should be enough to dazzle any self-respecting game geek.

Answering the call of my own inner geek, I have exposed Archon‘s mechanisms and hidden numbers through days of experimentation with the game’s original and best version, that for the Atari 800. The description, analysis, and numbers below pertain only (as far as I know) to the Atari 8-bit computer version of Archon.

Recently I’ve been thinking about building a new Archon-type game for Windows. The first step, I figured, was to find a detailed FAQ on the original, but since apparently none exist, I had to make one myself. And so this report was born…

ArchonOverview / Rules

Archon is a war between the Light and the Dark: two armies of creatures and persons of myth and legend, called by the game ‘icons.’ Each side begins with a force of 18 icons, with 8 different types per side. The Light and the Dark do not share any types, yet the teams are very evenly matched. The armies alternate turns, maneuvering for position on a chessboard-like Strategy Screen. On a single turn either one spell may be cast, or one icon moved. Turns may not be passed. Whenever an icon is moved to a square already occupied by an opposing piece, a battle ensues on the Combat Screen, where each different type of piece has its own hit points, attack damage, and so on, detailed below. The winning icon keeps the square, while the loser is eliminated from the game (both icons may be destroyed in the battle, in which case both are eliminated).

ArchonEach side aims to occupy the five ‘Power Points’ on the board or to completely eliminate the opposition. Victory can also be achieved by casting the Imprison spell on the opponent’s last remaining icon. The game can end in stalemate as well in either of two ways: the last two icons destroy each other in battle, or there is no progress for a certain number of turns. (‘Progress’ here means battles or Spells cast, and the number of turns is at least one full cycle of color-change (12 turns per side) but depends on the number of pieces left and has been difficult to determine in some cases.) Games usually last between 50 and 100 turns per side if the players are well-matched.

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