Tuesday 15 December 2015

Venture (Colecovision review)

Developer: Coleco
Publisher: Coleco
Released: 1982

Venture is an action game that was originally released in the Arcades in 1981.

Playing the role of Winky your mission is to travel through perilous dungeons and collect all the treasures. You initially start off as a small unarmed dot on a map screen that shows all the available rooms you can enter. Here you must guide your character around safely without touching any of the Hallmonsters that kill you with one hit. Once you're inside a room the action zooms in and you now have access to a bow and arrow; this is used to destroy enemies that include goblins, dragons, snakes and skeletons. Similar to Berzerk (1980, Arcades) you need to quickly make your escape from the room after collecting the treasure otherwise an invincible Hallmonster will appear and attack you. Interestingly, one room in each level features no enemies; instead it's known as the Wall Room and it tasks you with collecting treasure from the middle of the screen while avoiding moving walls. It's a really nice change of pace and keeps the action varied. After you've collected the treasure in all rooms you move onto the next level with increased difficulty. The action is intense like the best early Arcade titles but it also has an adventure feel to it as you strategise the best way to reach each room. It's enjoyable working out your route and outsmarting the speedy Hallmonsters as they try to catch you! Each room brings something new to the action to keep things fresh and I love that they have their own individual music (uncommon for the time). Minor annoyances are that you can sometimes exit a room and be killed by an enemy the instant you reach the map screen, and diagonals aren't easy to consistently pull off.
Venture is simple in nature but it feels very expansive and much deeper than many other early 1980s Arcade titles. The amount of variety in both the enemy types and gameplay is fantastic and the creepy atmosphere draws you in for a fun and truly engrossing experience.

Random trivia: The game was also released on the Atari 2600 and Intellivision.

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