Dark ChambersThe Game: You control a lone adventurer on a quest through twisty mazes and open battlegrounds, descending through the dungeon depths in search of treasure (and a chance to escape in one piece with that treasure in hand). Zombies, See the videoghosts, and monsters naturally roam through the dungeons as well, more than happy to attack any treasure-hunting interlopers such as yourself. (Atari, 1988)

Memories: Released on both the 7800 and 2600, Dark Chambers was an attempt to cash in on the “action RPG” genre that had recently been made popular by Nintendo’s The Legend Of Zelda. Atari’s arcade division happened to have a hot arcade property in that genre already, but since the arcade operation – now called Atari Games – and the consumer division were now two separate entities, Dark Chambers winds up being a “near-beer” version of Gauntlet.

Dark ChambersBefore you get too excited – woohoo, Gauntlet on my 7800! – just know that there are as many similarities as there are differences, and they don’t always work in the game’s favor. The sad truth is, single-player Gauntlet is a drag, and Dark Chambers winds up proving that very effectively. Graphically, it’s impressive enough, but in terms of game play it really comes off as nothing more than a Gauntlet practice course, and a fairly unforgiving one at that.

Dark Chambers3 quartersIt would’ve been an impressive attempt in 1984, but Dark Chambers was behind the times when it came to challenging Zelda; as so many titles in the 7800 library would prove, it was no match for the NES.