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Montezuma's Revenge by Utopia Software and Parker Brothers

Montezuma's Revenge is a 1984 platform game. Montezuma's Revenge is an early example of the Metroidvania genre.

General Information

Developer - Utopia Software

Publisher - Parker Brothers

Release - 1984

Platform(s) - Atari 2600

Number of Players - Single-player

Genre - Platform


The player controls a character called Panama Joe (a.k.a. Pedro), moving him from room to room in the labyrinthine underground pyramid of the 16th century Aztec temple of emperor Montezuma II, filled with enemies, obstacles, traps, and dangers. The objective is to score points by gathering jewels and killing enemies along the way. Panama Joe must find keys to open doors, collect and use equipment such as torches, swords, amulets, etc., and avoid or defeat the challenges in his path. Obstacles are laser gates, conveyor belts, disappearing floors and fire pits.

Movement is achieved by jumping, running, sliding down poles, and climbing chains and ladders. Enemies are skulls, snakes, and spiders. The player has a limited number of inventory slots for carrying items, and cannot collect any other items or jewels if all slots are filled. A further complication arises in the bottom-most floors of each pyramid, which must be played in total darkness unless a torch is found.

The pyramid is nine floors deep, not counting the topmost entry room that the player drops into at the start of each level, and has 99 rooms to explore. The goal is to reach the Treasure Chamber, whose entrance is in the center room of the lowest level. After jumping in here, the player has a short time to jump from one chain to another and pick up as many jewels as possible. However, jumping onto a fireman's pole will immediately take the player to the next level; when time runs out, the player is automatically thrown onto the pole.

There are nine difficulty levels in all. Though the basic layout of the pyramid remains the same from one level to the next, small changes in details force the player to rethink strategy. These changes include:

Blocking or opening up certain paths (by adding/removing walls or ladders)
Adding enemies and obstacles
Rearrangement of items
More dark rooms and fewer torches (in level 9, the entire pyramid is dark)
Enemies that do not disappear after they kill Panama Joe (starting with level 5)
The player can reach only the left half of the pyramid in level 1, and only the right half in level 2. Starting with level 3, the entire pyramid is open for exploration.

The sound track of the game for the Atari 8 bit computer is a musical adaptation of Spanish Flea and the first few notes of La Cucaracha when collecting items.


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