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Space Dungeon (5200)



For February , the AtariAge 5200 OE High Score club is playing Activisions's H.E.R.O., which is a great game I haven't spent enough time playing.  So I got my 5200 HERO cartridge, hooked it up to my 5200, and discovered that the second button on my 1 working controller wasn't working - which is kind of essential for HERO.


I took my working controller apart, gave it a good cleaning, and put it back together.  The second button was now working!  Inspired by this success, I decided to go ahead and try the same cleaning procedure on my second controller, which has never worked for me.  Upon taking it apart, I discovered two things: the left/right pot was horribly rusted, and the traces for the Start button had peeled off the flex circuit.  I cleaned the pot out, and all of the button contacts.  I put the controller back together.  I thought I would try out HERO with this controller to see how it worked.


Surprisingly, the Start button did work.  Any amount of pressure was pushing those broken traces together, shorting them out and registering as a button press.  Unfortunately, using the top side buttons has the same effect!  However, the actual joystick part of the controller was working perfectly.  This got me thinking; this controller would be perfect as a second controller for the twin stick shooter - Space Dungeon!  I'm pretty sure the second controller is only used for the joystick, the controls would be performed on the first controller!


So I plugged in Space Dungeon, both controllers, and used a 3D printed controller group I had purchased for this a while back.  Everything worked perfectly!  I've owned this game for a while, but haven't had the chance to try it out until now.  


Space Dungeon is a 1982 twin stick shooter arcade game by Taito.  (By some accounts, the original twin stick shooter).  The Atari 5200 port was the only home port of this game.  I generally like twin stick shooters, and this game is no exception!  The difficulty is tough, but fair.  In addition to a healthy supply of enemies comming after you, there is an exploration element.  You need to search through an array of rooms to find "treasure".  When you are ready to leave the level, you find your way to the a special "Collect Bonus" zone.  At this point you get bonus points for all the treasure you've collected and move on to the next level.  If you die before you make it to the "Collect Bonus", you drop all your treasure in the room you died.  This room gets marked on the map, so you can go collect it with your next llife.


I love the risk/reward balance.  The more treasure you collect, the higher bonus you will get.  But this takes longer, and more and more enemies get spawned to make it tougher for you.


Overall, a fun game, and a rare 5200 exclusive.  I'm spending way too much time playing this game.


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