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HSC01 Round 10: Sea Devil / The Pits


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I was going to choose Sea Wolf/Bombardier (aka Sea Wolf/Missile) for the main game this month. However, that game is only for two-players, which made it a difficult choice. I played it Thursday night with Chris++. We decided that it probably isn't a very good fit for the Astrocade High Score Club. Besides, it's a very early game for the Bally Arcade and it isn't that much fun... although I know that we'll explore this title eventually.

Sea Devil is the main game for Round 10 of the Astrocade High Score Club. Round 10 will last about three weeks. The round ends on Sunday, August 14'th at 8pm MST.

Sea Devil

Sea Devil is a 4K third party game. It was released in 1983 by L&M Software. This cartridge was written by Andy Guevara (of The Bit Fiddlers).






From the game's advertisement:

You are the guardian of a 21st century undersea farm. Not only is this important to the survival of the people on earth, but the company you work for have risked millions on this venture.

Zardos, the evil king of a distant planet, needs this food for himself. He has sent android divers with other sea creatures to steal this food.

You are provided with the undersea, hi-tech, sub-surface cruiser, Sea Devil, equipped with the latest in sonar screens. You can spot targets at great distance. As they come into range, your laser makes quick work of the poachers and accumulate valuable sub credit points for yourself.

Zardos, personally, is commanding a submarine which will fire cluster bombs to keep you at bay.

Can you get Zardos in his sub? He?s worth 1,000 points if you can.

From the game "manual:"

The game starts with 5 ships. Use joystick #1 to control your ship. Pressing any key in the left hand row will allow you to take an intermission, to resume play, press again.

You must destroy the hoard of poachers as quickly as possible because each bit of food (the white abalone on the bottom) they get will cost you bonus score at the end of the screen. Beware, the poachers are releasing undersea mines to destroy you, avoid them by evasive action. Each contact your craft makes will cost you 1 ship.

Level 1 pits you against octopi and android divers. For each level that is cleared a new one will appear and the game speed will increase. Periodically Zardos will put additional kinds of his creatures in your path.

This occurs at level 2 with star fish added to the playfield, level 3 with jelly fish and level 5 with mechanical crabs. At level 7, Zardos' sub will appear and begin firing cluster bombs at you.

Additional levels will provide increased speed and more attraction between you and your opponents.

For a replay squeeze trigger

Score points:

Octopi - 150
Divers - 250
Starfish - 250
Jellyfish - 500
Mechanical crabs - 700
Subs - 1000

The Sea Devil cartridge ROM image (called "seadevil.bin") is part of this archive:


The Sea Devil "manual" (really, just a sheet of paper) is here:


Here is a video of Sea Devil:

There are no play settings for Sea Devil, which is too bad, as when this game begins, it is too easy.

As usual, 10 points can be earned this round (excluding bonus points).

"Sea Devil" Bonus Points

There is just one way to score bonus points for Sea Devil:

1) Furthest Level Reached - 1 point to the player that reaches the furthest level in the game.

The Pits (BASIC Bonus Game)



This round's bonus game, The Pits by Rex Goulding, is a BASIC type-in game that was submitted to the Arcadian newsletter on October 8, 1980 (it wasn't published until August 1981!). I think that this is the first time I've featured a type-in game in the Astrocade HSC. This game is extremely simple, and doesn't take long to play (just a minute or two)... but that's great, because the game is quite addicting. You'll find yourself have "just one more go" over and over again.

On March 25, 2011, I posted about this game to the Bally Alley Yahoo group (message #10456). Here is that post, in slightly edited form:

The Pits for AstroBASIC - A Fantastic Game!

I have just finished playing The Pits by Rex Goulding for about fifteen or twenty minutes. This program was published in:

ARCADIAN 3, no. 10 (Aug. 12, 1981): 108.

This is an "AstroBASIC" game that I haven't played before (or one that I can't remember playing). The graphics are nothing but squares scrolling up the screen. The player controls a small dot and trys to avoid the squares (the "pits"). It doesn't sound like much, but it sure is fun!


The object of the game is to move the small dot in the upper-left corner past the pits to the end of the medium-size box in the lower-right corner. The clunker is that the pits move up the screen all the time and can catch you. Each time the screen rolls up, it counts as one move. A successful trip in 16 moves is doing well.

This program has been available for "AstroBASIC" online for a long time. You can download it here:


If you have an Astrocade, then I highly recommend that you try this game. It isn't often that I suggest BASIC games, but I'm doing it now. I'm not sure if it is the moment, since I just finished playing the game, but this may be my new favorite "AstroBASIC" game. When I'm cursing a game and I want to throw my controller and it's my very own fault and I keep coming back for more, then I know that the game is a winner!

This is a thirty-five year-old game and it had me really going crazy trying to avoid the pits. When I won (in 21 moves), I felt like I really accomplished something! I'd give a screen shot, but it really wouldn't do this game any justice.

Whenever I play a game that I really like, but that I've never encountered before, I always wonder if it's based on another game. Has anyone seen this game on another platform?

Load up The Pits... and have fun!

The Pits Bonus Points

1) Playing The Pits - You get a bonus point just for playing The Pits.

2) The Pits Low Score - You can earn another bonus point if you get the Lowest score for this game.

3) Video of The Pits - A bonus point will be awarded to the first person to upload a video of The Pits containing a full game. If the video is a video review, then you'll earn two points!

Please post all of your scores for both games here. Scores posted on the Bally Alley discussion group will no longer be accepted. If you post a video score, then please note the score obtained in the video-- as this makes it easier for me to keep track of all the scores.


Have fun playing Sea Devil and The Pits!


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I may not be able to play much because my son is in the hospital, but I did give it a whirl. I was very surprised with the pits, I found it extremely challenging and addictive.


Holy cow...whatever the problem is, I hope he's healing quickly and gets out of there soon!

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Thank you, it turns out my 2 month-old has a rare liver disease and received major surgery a couple of days ago that basically re-routed his entire system. 80% chance he'll eventually need a liver transplant. My little stress-reliever? Yes, being right here with you guys playing Bally.

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Damn...what can one say? I'm sorry to hear that you and your new person are going through such a worrying time. Here's hoping that the little guy falls into the other 20%!


I'll try not to dwell on it, then, and just help to uphold the stress-relieving diversions: So far, I'm the pits at The Pits. I haven't even beat it yet. Meanwhile, Adam's sitting next to me, kicking all sorts of Pits ass.


That sounded so wrong.

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First off... to "nd2003grad..." you're son (and your family) are in my thoughts. My niece, who just turned 18, was born with her liver on the outside of her body. She had so many surgeries during the first six months of her life, as they could only put her liver inside of her a little bit at a time because her body just didn't have the room for it. My sister was a wreck-- so I imagine I can see just a glimpse of what you're going through. If playing Bally Arcade games helps to get your though a few moments, then let me be your cheerleader!


Here are my scores for the two games this month:


Sea Devil - 130,750 (Reached level 14)


I managed to reach level 14 on Sea Devil-- where the game really does start moving. I really wish that you could select your level of difficulty: it really does start out too easy. If anyone put some time into this, then I bet you could get several hundreds of thousands of points without too much effort.




The Pits - 13 moves




The Pits is both skill and a bit of luck-based-- I doubt that I could do better than 13, as that was sort of a miracle game where everything went my way. Somehow, The Pits manages to itch a spot that I didn't even know that I had-- it just feels good to play it. It would be really neat to see this game ported to other game systems. I wonder if anyone would be interested in programming this for the Atari 8-Bit?



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Here's the result of the one full game of Sea Devil that I've had time to play so far (when Adam and I were finally tackling it earlier this week):




In The Pits, I finally reached quite a high...well, quite a low score, which Adam proceeded to beat by one point. Rrrrrrr........




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Oh, Adam...I came so close...gave it another try. I did, however, make it to level 16...where things start getting real crazy real fast. There are submarines everywhere and your head starts to spin with movements seemingly in all directions.



ALSO, I'd like to add an entry for Orion Miller, perhaps he can just be "Orion" on here. He is my 5 year old son. This underscores the lack of difficulty. He loved the game and made it on one try to level 5. He thought it was very, very cool.



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  • 2 weeks later...

Sea Devil does start out pretty slowly. But then, I had to make an effort to slow down once more enemies started to appear. Better to let the poachers get a few abalone and live to fight another day. Did anyone else feel like the hit detection was off? There were several times when I thought I managed to dodge the enemies/projectiles but ended up getting hit.


I managed to reach level 20 with 163,250 points.




I've always liked The Pits. It took me several tries just to get to the end this time. My best score is 15 moves.



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Sea Devil does start out pretty slowly. But then, I had to make an effort to slow down once more enemies started to appear. Better to let the poachers get a few abalone and live to fight another day. Did anyone else feel like the hit detection was off? There were several times when I thought I managed to dodge the enemies/projectiles but ended up getting hit.


I managed to reach level 20 with 163,250 points.




I've always liked The Pits. It took me several tries just to get to the end this time. My best score is 15 moves.



Yes, I definitely noticed the detection issue as well.

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  • 3 weeks later...
  • 2 weeks later...

Nope, this thread didn't die... it just fell by the wayside for a little while.

Round 10 ended August 14'th (nearly a month ago! Where has the time gone?). I was waiting to wrap this round up until the Astrocast podcast #5 was published. Due to a change in one of the co-hosts (We lost Chris++ as a co-host and, hopefully, have gained another co-host), episode #5 probably won't appear until the end of this coming week. I should have wrapped-up this round weeks ago and not waited at all; this won't happen again.

There were six qualifying entries for the high score contest.

Final Tables

Sea Devil

1st ranger_lennier 163,250 (Level 20) 10 pts
2nd BallyAlley 130,750 (Level 14) 9 pts
3rd nd2003grad 126,250 (Level 16) 8 pts

4th Chris++ 119,550 (Level 13) 7 pts
5th roadrunner 106,050 (Level 12) 6 pts
6th Orion Miller 32,500 (Level 5) 5 pts

Paul (ranger_lennier) managed to reach the furthest level (20)-- so he earns the bonus point. I bet his trigger finger was tired by the time his game was over.

Orion gets a special unannounced bonus point (and a big pat on the back!) for being the youngest player this round-- he's just 5 years old; good going Orion! And, of course, way to go, Clay, for introducing your son to the best video game system in the world! Well, the best one, at least, ever released by Bally, right?

Every player who played the BASIC bonus game gets a point. BallyAlley earned an extra point for scoring the lowest score on The Pits.

The Pits

1st BallyAlley 13 moves 2 pts
2nd Chris++ 14 moves 1 pt
3rd ranger_lennier 15 moves 1 pt
4th nd2003grad 27 moves 1 pt

No one made a video for The Pits, so there's no bonus point awarded for that.

Total points awarded this round:

1st ranger_lennier 10 + 1 + 1 + 0 + 0 = 12 pts !#
2nd BallyAlley 9 + 0 + 1 + 1 + 0 = 11 pts #$
3rd nd2003grad 8 + 0 + 1 + 0 + 0 = 9 pts #

4th Chris++ 7 + 0 + 1 + 0 + 0 = 8 pts #
5th roadrunner 6 + 0 + 0 + 0 + 0 = 7 pts
6th Orion Miller 5 + 0 + 0 + 0 + 1 = 6 pts @

Bonus Points Key:

Sea Devil

! - Furthest Level Reached - 1 point to player that reached the furthest level.
@ - Youngest Player - 1 point to the youngest player this round.

The Pits

# - Playing The Pits
$ - The Pits High Score
% - Video of The Pits. (No Point Awarded)

Please, check your scores. ;)

Congratulations to Round 10's winner... Paul!

Round 11's main game will be Galactic Invasion (aka Galaxian). The bonus game will be Outpost 19, by WaveMakers. I'll post the start of round 11 by tomorrow, but feel free to start playing these two games anytime.


Thanks for playing!


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It's time to blast the baddies Galactic Invasion. Then find your way free of the monster in Outpost 19. That's right, round 11 of the Astrocade High Score Club has begun. You can join in the fun, here:




It's time to get in your "base" and have a blast!



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