Atari 2600 Game
Produced by: Atari
Year of Release: 1982
Programmer: Howard Scott Warshaw
Welcome to Egypt, Dr. Jones!
Dust off your felt hat, throw on your leather jacket, and uncoil your rawhide whip - you're going on the greatest treasure hunt of your life! Put away the glasses and three-piece suit of respected archeologist "Professor Jones," and say hello to swashbuckling adventurer Indiana Jones - Indy to your friends. Your mission: Find the fabled Lost Ark of the Covenant.
Raiders of the Lost Ark is considered by many one of the best games ever made for the Atari 2600, and doing justice to the movie within the technical limits of the console. You guide Indiana Jones on his grand adventure to find the fabled Ark, doing so in a game world that was rather impressive at the time.
Not only do you need to find the Ark, but you are even given a score based on how well you do - and the only time you ever find out your score is at the end, as your character appears on a pedestal - and the higher up, the higher the score. For those players who score exceptionally well, there's a hidden bonus.
On the screen, you see the playfield, and along the bottom, is your inventory. You can hold up to six items, and have one selected at any one time. The game is played with two joysticks, the right joystick used to move the character, and the fire button activates the currently selected item. The left joystick controls your inventory. You move the joystick sideways to select various items (indicated by a dot underneath the item). Pressing the fire button on the left joystick drops the item, which goes back to where it was originally found.
There are actually two different versions of the label for this game. Both of them used the silver labels, but there were graphic differences between them. The more common one has the game name in a plain white font across the red bar, and the entire game name on the end of the cartridge. The rarer version (rarity 5 rare), has the name on the red bar in the same typeface used for the movie ads, and the end reads "RAIDERS LOST ARK". The more common variant can be found in many places for as little as $2-$3.
The entire game was programmed into 6 kb!
Warning: Spoilers may follow!
There are fourteen different rooms in the game (though the game manual only lists eleven), and each has a different place and importance to your quest.
- Entrance Room: The entrance room is where you start the game. In the middle of the screen is a large rock, and your whip sits right below it. Heading down will take you to the Marketplace. There's also a snake slithering down the screen. ("Snakes? Why does it have to be snakes?") There is a rumor that the Temple of the Ancients is nearby, but there's no other obvious exits.
- Marketplace: Here's where you'll find a number of items either free for the taking from the baskets such as the grenade or the revolver, or being sold by the two merchants. The Black Sheik at the top center will sell you a flute for one bag of gold, and the White Sheik at the bottom center has parachutes available for sale. Heading up will take you back to the Entrance Room, heading down takes you to the Mesa Field. Some say that the Black Sheik will happily take you to the Black Market for the right price. Others have reported spotting a medallion in the marketplace, though where is unknown.
- Temple Entrance: Should you be lucky enough to find the entrance, you'll find the timepiece. Also, there are four exits in this room of passageways, one to the Entrance Room, one to the Marketplace, one to the Spider Room, and one to the Room of the Shining Light - though which passageway goes where is anyone's guess.
- Spider Room: Hope you aren't afraid of spiders, as there's a huge one in this room, just waiting for it's next meal. And if the spider and it's strands of web aren't enough to get you, the Tsetse Flies will stun you if they reach you. Head down to reach the Room of the Shining Light.
- Room of the Shining Light: When you enter this room, you'll find yourself locked away in one of the corner dungeons - hope you have a whip or revolver to make yourself a way out. If you do get out, watch out for the guardian, who will hunt you down to put you back into the dungeon. Heading west takes you to the Temple Entrance, and the Treasure Room lies nearby.
- Treasure Room: The temple holds amazing treasure, and now it's all yours to take as you will. There's gold freely sitting around, so take as much as you want. But beware the snake that will come after you if you do. There are also three special treasures, and taking those will force the Gods to take steps to stop you, so be prepared.
- Mesa Field: Somewhere, in that vast expanse of mesas, the Ark of the Covenant hides, waiting for you. Where exactly is it? Finding that out, my friend, is your challenge. In between all of those mesa tops is blue sky, and if you should head out there, well, you sure can't fly. Heading up takes you back to the marketplace, and falling takes you to the Valley of Poison - and is death should you freefall all the way to the bottom. Should you find a method of crossing the Mesa Fiend, the Map Room lies beyond. Some have spotted a Yar flying near the center Mesa, which is oddly shaped like a Flying Saucer.
- Mesa Side: In that freefall to the valley floor below, did you notice the side of the mesa? Or were you too worried about the impact awaiting you? If you noticed, you surely saw the single branch sticking out, and maybe even the little opening underneath. It may be important...
- Valley of Poison: Underneath the Mesa Field is the Valley of Poison - it can only be reached by falling off the mesas. And instead of mesas, you now find yourself dealing with dark bogs which will slow you down. If that's not enough, watch out for the Tsetse flies which will stun you, and the thief who will steal your possessions - though if you shoot him before he leaves the screen, you can get them back. Head up to take yourself back to the Marketplace, and don't fall off the next time.
- Black Market: Beware, for unlike the Marketplace, the Black Market isn't quite the safe place. In fact, a raving lunatic on the left side of the screen will kill you just for coming near him - though he may be placated with the right thing. You can also buy more bullets for your revolver from the Sheik at top center, and the one at bottom center has a shovel, though that does not come cheap. There's also another basket for you to find items in.
- Map Room: If you've been lucky enough to find it, the Map Room will offer you a nice prize - the location of the Ark. However, it's not just as easy as walking in - you need to both gain access to the map, then find the right item to show you where the Ark is - and even then, you must figure out how they work, also, lest you find death even here. Heading down from this room leads you to the Thieves Den.
- Thieves Den: Not a nice place to be - a simple dark room with thieves running across the screen, and you must find a way through to the other side. At least you get a bonus of getting to the Black Market free by making it through. But make sure the Thieves didn't get away with your items when you weren't looking.
- Mesa Room: The secret room underneath the mesa is may be where you'll find the Well of the Souls, where the Ark is located. Once you figure out how to get here, you must make your away across the thieves, then dig in the pile of dirt at the top. If you've chosen the correct room, and have the proper items, you'll find the Well of the Souls - if not, all you'll find is a hole, and fall to the Valley of Poison below. So make sure you've chosen correctly.
- Well of the Souls: If you've made it here, you've found the Ark! Watch yourself get raised on the pedestal - but how high did you make it up?
There are thirteen objects in the game, however, only twelve are listed here - the thirteenth is for you to discover on your own. Not all will be of great use to you during your adventure.
- Magic Flute: Available from the Black Sheik in the Marketplace, and plays a nice little tune while you have it selected. You cannot be harmed by snakes while playing the flute, and you may find other advantages also.
- Coins: You start out with a few coins, which are used to purchase items in the Marketplace. They are also freely available in the Temple Treasure Room, but you must first find your way there.
- Grenade: A wonderful little explosive device, which you oddly find lying around in a basket from time to time. It will help out blast through some barriers - which ones, however, you have to figure out.
- Key: Keys open doors. But you have to hunt down the key, and then find what it unlocks. That's no easy task.
- Whip: What would Indiana Jones be without his trusty whip? You'll find this item waiting for you upon starting the game, and back there again should you ever need to drop it. It's simple to use, just as long as you're in motion when you use it. It has a limited range, unlike the revolver.
- Parachute: The White Sheik in the Marketplace is the source of these items, and they'll always be there for you to purchase. What to use them for? Well, advice is to help out when you might find yourself in freefall.
- Timepiece: The Temple Entrance has one of these just sitting around - an odd place for it, but one never can complain - it's free, after all. Use it to find out what time it is, should you ever need such information.
- Revolver: You can find this, similar to the grenade, just lying around in a basket. You have a limited bullet supply, though you can always purchase more in the Black Market. It has a longer range than the whip.
- Ankh: The Ankh, the Egyptian symbol of life, can be found from time to time in the Temple's Treasure Room. You'll find it quite useful along your journey, but for what, you must deduce.
- Hourglass: Also found in the Temple Treasure Room, and also useful, though not as much as the Ankh. But as it's easier to find, perhaps you'll learn to make due.
- Chai: The third treasure found in the Temple - the Chai is the Hebrew symbol of life. It's usefulness is much more difficult to discover.
- Shovel: This item can be found for sale, though for a high price, in the Black Market. You'll want one of these when you need to go digging, should you ever need that.
Here's one solution to the game. It's probably the simplest, but gets you no extra points.
- You'll start in the Entrance Room. Dodge the snake and grab the whip. Run off the bottom of the screen.
- Now you're in the Marketplace. Search all three baskets for the key, the gun, and the grenade. If you want to, you can buy a flute, but it's not necessary. You don't need the parachute yet.
- Once you've got all three items from the baskets, wait for about fifteen
seconds and check all three again - though make sure to avoid the snake.
You should get the medallion from one of the baskets. If not, wait another 10-15 seconds, and try again. Repeat until you finally get it.
- Go back up to the Entrance Room. Place Indy next to the right side wall,
about a little more than halfway up. Use the grenade here and quickly run back
to the Marketplace.
- Once at the Marketplace, go back up and you should see a giant hole in the
wall. Go through the hole to the Temple Entrance.
- In the Temple Entrance, go to the exit in the southeast corner. You can grab
the timepiece on your way if you want to.
- You'll now be in one of the dungeons. Use the whip or the gun and get
yourself out. Now go to the right-side wall and hold up and right. Eventually
you'll pop into the Treasure Room.
- Collect gold until you have three bags worth, and pick up the Ankh if you ever get it. If not, continue picking up gold and dropping it until the Anhk appears. You can make due with the Hourglass, but the Ankh is highly recommended. You must have three bags of gold when you finish here.
- Once you're done, leave the room, and you'll find yourself in a dungeon. Use the Ankh, and you'll transport to the Mesa Field. If you had to make due with the Hourglass, head west to the Temple Entrance, Southwest to the Market, and down to the Mesa Field.
- Use the hook to travel down the screen, down to the very bottom mesa (if
you miss and start falling, use the Ankh again to teleport back to the field).
- Once at the bottom mesa, drop the Ankh and highlight the key. Now stand
about in the middle of this mesa and walk straight down. Hopefully you'll be
lined up correctly so you'll be walking on the strip instead of air.
- Once you leave the Mesa Field you should see the Map Room. With the key
highlighted, you can now enter that box that appears underneath. Go inside and
stand perfectly in the center. Once done, you can now highlight the medallion
and wait for the sun to rise. (Check the timepiece to see what time it is. The
sun rises when the clock hand is at the 12 o'clock position.)
- When the sun rises, you should see one of the mesas on the map start
flashing. This is the mesa on the Mesa Field that has the Ark. Remember it, as it's rather important! This changes from game to game, also.
- Highlight the key again and walk back to the left-hand strip. Walk down.
- You'll now be in the Thieves' Den. Dodge the thieves and quickly run
straight down to the Black Market.
- Purchase a shovel for two bags of gold. You don't need anything else.
- Once you've got the shovel, go to the northeast corner wall and go through
it to end up at the Marketplace. Now buy a parachute.
- Once you've got the parachute and the shovel you can basically dump any
other items you've got. I'd personally keep the whip because you never know if
you'll end up fighting snakes or getting caught in a dungeon again.
- Now go back to the treasure room and get the ankh again. You don't need to
keep any gold this time.
- Once you've got the ankh, leave the room and use it to transport yourself
back to the Mesa Field. Use the hook to go to the mesa that was flashing in the
Map Room. Again, if you fall just use the ankh to try again.
- Once you're at the mesa with the Ark, drop the ankh and highlight the
parachute. DON'T use it yet!
- Now, you're ready for what's probably the toughest task you'll need to perform. Once you walk off the edge, use the parachute. Now, you need to guide yourself into the hole in the mesa's side, but without the parachute hitting the branch. This may take a few tries. If you hit the branch, your parachute tears, and you fall to the Valley of Poison below.
- If you made it, you'll end up in the Mesa Room. You need to drop the parachute quick, because there are thieves waiting to start stealing your items - lose the shovel, and you have to head out and try again. Walk between the thieves to the dirt pile at the bottom. Select the shovel, and start walking back and forth, using the shovel. If the dirt pile starts shrinking, you're doing it right.
- Once the dirt's gone, and you've found the right mesa, the Ark appears and
Indy stands on a pedastal indicating your final score. Congrats! (If you picked
the wrong mesa, however, Indy will fall and you'll have to try again.)
The Chai: The Chai has two purposes. One is to teleport you to the Black Market - give it to the Black Sheik in the Marketplace, and you'll be taken there immediately. The other use is a bonus. Get to the center mesa in the Mesa Field. Fall off the edge, and then drop the Chai while falling. You'll see a Yar at the top of the screen, and when you end the game, you'll see the programmer's initials on the score screen.
Temple Entrance: After using the secret exit in the Room of Shining Light, you'll see these odd green lines start appearing in the Temple Entrance. They get longer and longer, eventually blocking your way into the Temple. You can blow them up by the grenade. It is unknown if they were an intentional trap, as a penalty for using the secret entrance, or if they are a glitch.