Adventure for the Atari 2600

Sections: Descriptive Information | Helpful Information and Guidelines | Index of Places | Game 1 Details and Layout | Game 1 Solution | Game 2 Details and Layout | Game 2 Solution | Finding the Secret Message

Descriptive Information

Adventure is an addictive video game that is one of the few Atari 2600 games to remain popular to the present day. It is unusual for video games of its era in that the game board does not consist of a single screen, or even a few similar screens. Instead, the player must pass through many different screens to cover the total territory over which the game is played.

The total territory, the Kingdom, contains three castles, various rooms and passageways, complicated labyrinths, tricky catacombs, and more. To find the Enchanted Chalice and successfully bring it into the Golden Castle you have to know your way around. In addition to its tricky terrain, Adventure features keys to the various castles, three most unfriendly dragons, a sword, a portable bridge, a magnet, a pesky bat, and more. You, the single player, are represented by a small square, whose movements you control.

The catacomb area is especially fascinating. In it, the adventurer (you) carries a computer-simulated torch in an otherwise dark area. The visibility is only a little bit along the pathway in each direction, although you will be able to see objects placed in the Catacombs even before you can reach them.

Most objects can be used to your advantage during the crusade: The sword can kill dragons if used properly, the keys open the castle gates, the bridge essentially gets you over or through walls, and the magnet can attract any of these objects if they are near enough. The catch is that you can hold (and carry) only one at a time.

Helpful Information and Guidelines


There are three dragons who are your deadly enemies. They are listed below, along with their colour. As a memory aid, notice that the first letter of the dragons' names is the same as the first letter of their colour.

Yorgle (yellow)
Yorgle is the least dangerous of the three dragons. He is afraid of the gold key. He mostly just wanders around. He will guard the chalice if he stumbles across it. Other than that, he's not a major concern.
Grundle (green)
Grundle is of average intelligence and is roughly as fast as Yorgle. However, Grundle's jaws react and chomp much more quickly (Yorgle really delays before closing his jaws on you). Grundle is the greediest dragon in that he'll guard the most items if given the chance, namely the black key, the magnet, the chalice, and the bridge.
Rhindle (red)
Rhindle is the fastest and most dangerous dragon. His speed is about the same as yours, so watch out. He is the most intelligent, and chomps the fastest. He will guard the Chalice and the white key.

Each dragon can go through walls (or anything else, for that matter), and so can take short cuts which you cannot. A dragon's jaws will happily gobble you up, but you may pass through the back of a live dragon's head with impunity.

The term guard means that the dragon never leaves a room containing that object. Thus one hint for the fugitive crusader is to run through a room having an object that a dragon guards.

Keep the Sword Below You

Generally the sword will prove most effective if it is carried below you. You will find several points where the dragons approach from the bottom of the screen, and this ensures that the dragon contacts your sword before it gets to chomp you!

Keep the Key Above You

Since the entrances to the three castles are at the top of each screen, carry a key above you if its castle has not yet been opened.

Leave a Castle With Its Key Beneath You

Once you open a castle, it stays open unless you leave it carrying the key on top of you. In this case you will unintentionally close it. Thus it is best to leave castles with the key beneath you. At other times, carry the key above you to permit easy entrance into the castle, as indicated in the hint above.

Get Rid of Grundle

Even if you have no easy access to the sword, Grundle can still be rendered helpless rather easily. To take him out of action, lure him to a room by carrying any item that he guards. Release it there. He'll stay there and guard it, not to bother you any more (unless of course you reenter the room). Of course, if you have a good opportunity to kill him, that would be preferable.

Get Rid of Rhindle

The same trick mentioned above works for Rhindle if you use one of the objects which he guards (the white key or the chalice).

The Bat Can Help

Make use of the bat's habit of switching objects with you. If you want something that he has, simply bring any other object near him; he'll switch, leaving you with the object you desire.

Dragon Dealing

There are three ways of successfully dealing with a dragon:

  1. Give him something to guard, as indicated above.
  2. Kill him by causing either end of the sword to come in contact with him. He cannot be killed, however, when his jaws are open.
  3. If the bat holds a live dragon, grab the bat (not too near the dragon's mouth), carry him to the gold castle room, and release him there by the technique called trapping the bat.

Hide the Sword in "A" Difficulty

In a game at difficulty-level A (hard), the dragons will not go to you if they see that you are carrying the sword. Thus you must conceal the sword from their sight until it is too late for them. This can be done as follows: Assume that you know which room a particular dragon is in. If you approach the room from the right, then pick up the sword and keep it on the right side of your "body". As you just enter the room, all the dragon sees is you (the sword is not in the room at first). He will approach you. At that point you finish entering the room and circle around him quickly, poking him with the end of the sword away from your body.

Castles and Keys:

Game 1
Gold, Black
Game 2
Gold, Black, White

The Sword

A dragon is killed if he comes in contact with either end of the sword; it does not have to be the pointed end of the sword. But the top and bottom edge of the sword does nothing upon contact. It is safest to try to stab a dragon at his tail end, the farthest point from his jaws (he can only kill you via the jaws). The pesky bat cannot be killed by the sword - in fact, he cannot be killed at all.

The Bridge

The bridge allows you to cross walls and boundaries that you ordinarily cannot go through. It permits you to cross anywhere vertically (but not horizontally). Place it such that two prongs touch one allowable area and the other two prongs touch the other allowable area you wish to reach. If you touch the bridge accidentally during the crossing, try to release it immediately so that it will not stray too much from the original position.

It is safest to bridge between two points that are both within the same screen. If you attempt to bridge from one screen to another, you may be in for a bit of a surprise. There are some situations where bridging from one screen to another can result in your becoming trapped in a wall, for example: Forget that game!

Assume that you have placed the bridge in the exact position where you are to use it to cross something. As you cross, go exactly along the middle of the bridge; if you accidentally brush against one of the edges, you "pick up" the bridge and move it out of position. Then you must repeat the entire strategic positioning of the bridge. (You may also get trapped within a wall if you use the bridge incorrectly.)

The Magnet

The magnet attracts these objects: keys, chalice, sword, and bridge (toward the two prongs of the magnet). The magnet attracts only one object at a time. It can be useful for recovering items which become trapped in a wall.

The Game Variations

Game 1 is the simplest and has only two dragons. In games 2 and 3, the dragons are more fleet of foot and they also chomp more rapidly. At the beginning of game 2, the items are always in the same places. In game 3, all items are placed randomly at the start.

The Bat

The bat, whose name is Knubberrub, only appears in games 2 and 3. He is generally a pest, but you can use him to your advantage. In a way he seems smarter than the dragons. He is continually flitting about, flapping his wings, wanting to grab the first object he sees at the start of the game (in game 2, the sword). After that, he wanders about and exchanges with any object he sees about 90% of the time. His speed is about the same as yours. He, like the dragons, can go through walls or any other obstacle. Fortunately you can grab him, thereby acquiring any object he holds. Unless you seize him he never sits still, traveling constantly up, down, to a side, or at a 45-degree angle.

Trapping the Bat

Under the right conditions, it is possible to trap the bat, causing him to become imprisoned in the gold castle room. This can be done when he is currently travelling in any direction without downward movement. (Although it seems to be possible even when there is downward movement.) It works best when he is travelling straight east or west. Grab him (press the fire button) when he is going in one of those directions and is carrying some useless item, such as a key to a castle which is already open or a sword when all dragons are dead. Carry him to the gold castle room, which should be empty. (If possible, never allow him to see other objects lest he escape and go for them.) Release him there and he will continue to fly through that room forever, crossing the room in the same direction over and over again. (As long as you release him such that he isn't moving downwards...) (There is a slight chance he will escape your grasp during the trip to the gold castle; however, this technique works almost all of the time.) One word of warning: If you reenter the room where the bat is trapped, you may enable him to escape -- a frustrating experience, especially if you do so out of carelesssness!

Objects Trapped in Walls

If an object that you need becomes trapped within a wall, try using the magnet, the bridge, or the bat to retrieve it.


When enough objects (usually three or four) are on a single screen, the whole room will blink. When this happens,

Index of Places

"Golden Castle"
the player's home; it is also where he starts the game and ends (hopefully).
"Hallway" or "Central Passage"
the horizontal three-section passage running beneath the golden castle.
"Blue Labyrinth"
the blue-outlined series of five different screens that are hard to move through without maps. It is the largest and most active area.
"Black Castle"
where the hypothetical Evil Magician lives. The Chalice is usually within.
this orange-pathed network is similar to the labyrinth except you can only see a part of the screen in the limited radius around you. It is a very dangerous place, and most difficult to successfully move around in.
"White Castle"
a neutral castle and the surrounding area beneath the catacombs. It may contain items of benefit or woe to the player.
"Red Dungeon"
the area inside the White Castle similar to the Blue Labyrinth.
"Grey Dungeon"
the area inside the Black Castle similar to the Catacombs. It is the most dangerous area.

Game 1 Details and Layout

This is the easiest game and is recommended for beginners. There are only two dragons: Yorgle and Grundle. They chomp rather slowly, and they can be slain rather easily. In this game, the dragons even assist you once in a while by actually moving accidentally into the sword (but don't count on this happening). Their behaviour in general is not very intelligent. The overall terrain is not as complicated as in games 2 and 3, and there's no bat to taunt you in this game.

To grab or pick up an object you simply contact it. To release an item, you press the red button and move away from the item. To exchange objects, you just touch the new object and keep moving; you will automatically drop the other object.

If you hit the reset switch, the game starts over, but all items begin where you left them (any dragons you may have slain are brought back to life). And remember, if you use A difficulty then the dragons will chomp faster and will run from the sword, making it more difficult for you to kill them.

Diagrams of the exact layout are difficult to explain because the environment is not two-dimensional, particularly the Blue Labyrinth. There are only five different screens in the Blue Labyrinth, but since the different map parts actually exist on top of one another, you may get to one part or another depending on how you approach it. Here are the five screens, along with the numbering I use to refer to them (The numbers are from an old book I once read but have long ago forgotten what it was; if you can refresh my memory I'd appreciate it). At any rate, you enter via screen "19" and exit via screen "21".

[Screen 19]Screen 19: Left - Screen 20. Right - Screen 20. Up - Screen 22.

[Screen 20]Screen 20: Left - Screen 19. Right - Screen 19. Up - Screen 21. Down - Screen 23.

[Screen 21]Screen 21: Left - Screen 22. Right - Screen 22. Down - Screen 20.

[Screen 21]Screen 22: Left - Screen 21. Right - Screen 23. Down - Screen 19.

[Screen 21]Screen 23: Left - Screen 22. Right - Screen 22. Up - Screen 20.

A partial map might look something like this, if you're using Netscape:

At any rate, one way through the Labyrinth is, starting at 19, to go left to 20, up to 21 (after a quick detour back through 19), right to 22, right to 23, up to 20, and back up to 21. Another way is to use the bridge.

Game 1 Solution

To bring the Chalice into the Golden Castle, winning game 1, follow these steps:

  1. Open the Golden Castle gate, go into the castle room, and grab the sword, positioning it beneath you.
  2. Go to block 4 and quickly kill the Yellow Dragon who's waiting there for you.
  3. Go to block 6, the Red Room, and kill the Green Dragon, who is waiting there.
  4. All the dragons are now dead, so release the sword and grab the Black Key.
  5. Return to block 4 and go up to block 19 entering the Blue Labyrinth.
  6. Go through the blue labyrinth into block 24, the entrance to the Black Castle. Note: Don't disturb the bridge in block 21.
  7. Open the castle and release the key (it floats to the magnet).
  8. Go to block 25, the Black Castle Room, and pick up the Enchanted Chalice.
  9. Reverse your steps and deposit the Chalice in the Golden Castle, completing the victory!

Game 2 Details and Layout

In Game 2 the maze is more complex and the game is considerably more difficult. Details of the entire "world" would require an enormous amount of detail. Here are the main regions with their corresponding block numbers (these numbers are from the same book I've mentioned above).
3, 4, 5
6, 7, 8
Red Dungeon
15, 16, 17, 18
Grey Dungeon
19, 20, 21, 22, 23
Blue Labyrinth

Game 2 Solution

First Objective

Your first objective should be to trap the bat in the Golden Castle while it is carrying the Gold Key.

Suggested Steps

Immediately trap the bat, positioning yourself under him at the point where he is holding the sword - you don't want to be strung out in a row three across, if possible. Then you might want to descend with him into the hallway and go left into the next section, the chartreuse part, to see if Grundle appears and you can skewer him there. After you do so, or if he does not appear quickly, go two blocks to the right and then descend with the bat into the Catacombs, where the Gold Key is (and Grundle may await you, be careful!)

Note: The key is in the northwest part of block 7, though you will have to descend into block 8 to get it.

Get the bat to exchange the sword for the key, and quickly return with him to the Golden Castle. If you are holding him right (and have some luck), you will be able to open the castle gate while still holding the bat; enter and release the bat in the upper right corner of the room; if his flight path is correct he will continue flying through the room for the rest of the game (or until you reenter the room, thus allowing him to escape). Quickly leave the room before the bat can attach himself to you again. Note: If the bat escapes your grasp before you achieve your goal, it is worth finding him immediately and taking whatever steps are necessary to trap him again. If he escaped before you got the Gold Key, either start the game over again (the easiest solution) or get the key and open the castle for when you find him. Keep the key with you, because you'll want it to exchange with him for whatever he has.

Once the bat is trapped, return to the Catacombs and spear Grundle (if he is still alive). After you have done this, leave the sword at the entrance of the Golden Castle. (If a dragon subsequently gets you, your sword will be ready to spear reincarnated dragons as soon as you come back to life).

Next, get the key to the White Castle from the Blue Labyrinth. Go to the White Castle with it (by descending through the Catacombs) and cautiously tap open its gate, quickly leaving as soon as you get it open: Yorgle is inside waiting to get you! If he does, your sword awaits you as you come back to life; if you escape the castle alive, you can now retrieve your sword (you may find it easier to carry it above you) and come back and kill Yorgle.

At this point, get the Bridge and pass into the Labyrinth's Secret Room. Pick up the Black Key and take it with you.

Travel to the Black Castle and open it (you can drop the key inside the first room).

Go back to the White Castle and grab the sword. Hold it below you and as far to the left as you can.

Reenter the Black Castle. In the third room up from the entrance Rhindle guards the chalice. Go upward smoothly and confidently, brushing against the right side of the pathway as you go. This ensures that you will automatically grill him when you meet. Take the Chalice and win - or first find the Black Dot and go after the Secret Message.

Finding the Secret Message

Authors and artists usually take great pride in their work and enjoy having their name closely associated with a finished product, particularly a successful one! The creator of the Atari Adventure cartridge appears to be no exception to this. He has programmed into the game a secret message that can be found only after the knowledgeable player performs an unusual series of maneuvers. This message has become famous as the first "Easter Egg" in any video game. View secret message.

To find the message for yourself, begin playing game 2 or game 3, and continue until you have slain all three dragons. Then, go through the following steps:

  1. After you have killed all three dragons, deposit one or (for best effect) two game objects in the rightmost part of the central hallway.
  2. Take the bridge into the Black Castle.
  3. Go straight up into the Black Castle and enter the Grey Dungeon. Proceed a few screens in and to the left.
  4. Release the bridge below you. It should seem somewhat odd in appearance.
  5. Go straight down, crossing the bridge. You will enter a previously invisible secret chamber. Proceed to the lower right corner of the room, and press yourself as far into the corner as you can.
  6. You will hear the familiar noise which tells you that you have just picked up something. It is the Black Dot, an item which is not always visible even if you have it. It is only visible in the catacomb-like areas or when you hold it so that it overlaps an object or a wall.
  7. Carry the Black Dot to the rightmost block of the central passage. Release the dot at the right edge of the block, though not past the wall on the right-hand side.
  8. The right edge of that hallway will now have disappeared completely or be blinking. Go to the right, right through where the wall was or is now blinking.
  9. Observe the message in the hidden chamber! (If you cannot quite break through the blinking wall, try adding an extra object to the block and repeat step 8 above.)