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: If there was a better home version of this arcade sleeper hit to emerge during the 1980s, I haven’t seen it yet. Parker Brothers’ Colecovision edition of Tutankham does everything a good console port of a coin-op should do – it brings the game play, as well as the audiovisual elements, home – and this version does it in spades. It looks like it, it sounds like it, and it plays like it.
But wait, there’s more! If you have a Super Action controller, this becomes one of the smoothest games in the whole Colecovision library. Something that probably doesn’t get mentioned enough here – mainly because it’s a rare and beautiful thing – is that kind of zen state you can enter with a game that has perfectly balanced, intuitive controls, sort of like arcade Robotron. Tutankham for Colecovision fits into that category. This console was sold on the strength of its early arcade ports, like Donkey Kong and Zaxxon, but Tutankham is on a level that’s above even those games.
I’m not sure I can possibly gush any more about this game without leaving a mess for the janitorial crew, so I’ll just wrap it up here and ask you to trust me – arcade gaming didn’t get much better than Tutankham on the Colecovision.