The Game: As an intrepid, pith-helmeted explorer, you’re exploring King Tut’s catacombs, which are populated by a variety of killer bugs, birds, and other nasties. You’re capable of firing left and right, but not vertically – so any oncoming threats from above or below must be outrun or avoided. Warp portals will instantly whisk you away to other parts of the maze (though this doesn’t necessarily mean safer). Gathering all of the treasures and keys will allow you to open the vault at the end of each level…which leads to the next, and even more difficult level. (Parker Brothers, 1983)
Memories: Something is almost always lost in the translation from the arcade to the much simpler processor of the Atari VCS, and here, what got lost was the fine visual grain that differentiated Tutankham from other maze games in the first place. Once a sufficient number of enemies is on the screen at the same time, a nasty case of sprite flicker plagues the game, and it all just boils down to a kind of non-descript, more tightly-confined version of Berzerk. Which just isn’t that much fun.
Tutankham just isn’t the jewel in the Parker Brothers crown that 2600 games such as Q*Bert and Frogger were – which is all the more surprising considering how well Parkers translated the same game to such consoles as the Colecovision and even the Odyssey2.