Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Treasure of Tarmin Level 256 Complete!

I have done it…. completely….unequivical mastery of the 1982 realm…..  Henceforth, I will document the entire quest within the snapshots I've captured.  Each snapshot will give explicit details of the triumphant decisions made in this quest to achieve success.  For now, review the screenshots and hold still your heart as you review with disbelief, yet an overwhelming feeling of joy for this Dungeon Master.  All of the details will shortly follow.  Enjoy!

Oh, by the way – don't forget to check out the graph of my strength progress at the end of this post…

OK, using the same strategy detailed in my previous post, I utilized a transportation gate between every dungeon I could.  As you can tell from the screenshot below, this accelerated my War Strength significantly.  Level 2, 72 War Strength – impressive.  What was concerning was my Spiritual Strength.  At only 13, would I be able to overpower the Blue Magic Door to receive the Teleport Spell Book?  I decided to pass on this challenge.  More than likely, the Blue Magic Door would have had a Spiritual Strength of over 40, and would have sliced through my Spiritual Strength handily…  Pride swallowed and moved on…..

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I decided to take on the challenge of the Tan Magic Door.  Since I was not confident in my Spiritual Strength still, I used a different tactic this time.  I set down my entire pack of weapons in the hallways near the Magic door.  This way, just in case I was banished, I wouldn't lose the weapons and keys.  I would only lose a few points of War Strength and Spiritual Strength.  A calculated gamble.  Did it pay off?  Yep!  The Vision Book was mine!

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I then decided to take the same strategy when engaging with the Golden Magic Door.  This time I wasn't as lucky.  I was overpowered by the Golden Magic Door and banished.  I was able to collect my pack of item and quickly rebuild.

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From there, I was able to find a Blue Transport gate, which radically reduced my War Strength from 122 down to 84!  I was lucky to find a pink Spiritual Strengh flask, boosting my Spiritual Strengh to a MAX score of 99!

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From there I was able to find a Purple War Book, and from that point forward I utilized War weapons to boost my War Strength to it's maximum.  I took a quick screenshot of the rare Purple Large Potion.  I have rarely found this potion to be useful.  I decided to not take a drink 😉  Somewhere in between level 19 and 30 I was able to defeat a Golden Magic Door to aquire the all powerful Midas Special Book.

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I took a quick snapshot to document my nearly perfect strength traits on level 39!

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Maximum strength achieved on level 40 after slaying the Minotaur with a Platinum bow!

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A quick shot of "Maxed Out", ready for war on level 256!

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So, what happened….. I was able to find an Orange Hooded Wraith with a wopping strength of 241!!!  I was able to defeat the beast with TWO of my 99 powered platinum crossbows…. Of course, one broke, and there wasn't another crossbow on level 256, so I had to made due with the resources I had available.  Reflection point – I was hoping to encounter a TALL Hooded Wraith, but it was not to be.  Had I had enough patience and time, I might have been able to take another pass at the 250+ levels again… but I'm getting slightly ahead of myself in this post…

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So… What did I decide to do?  Go back to LEVEL 1 !!!  Why not!

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Sure as heck… I teleported right back to level 1 after using the ladder on level 256….

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I eventually found a Transport Gate… Should I see what happens to a max strength score if I go through it????  Do I dare???

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Yes, I dare!  It took my War Strength down 100 points!!! Ahhhh!

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So, I decided I had enough, I quickly cruised down to level 12….. and…….

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Ended the game… It was Epic, truly…..

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Below is a quick look at my strength growth through level 40 where I maxed out.

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I really hope you enjoyed this post.  It was as perfect as I care to get with this game.  Game on!

 

Treasure of Tarmin Deep Quest Q3 ’15

Not sure why I recently got the itch to attempt a deep quest of Treasure of Tarmin, but I did…. It has been a long while since I tried it, so the first thing I did was to get re-familiarized with the essential keyboard layout (number pad and arrow keys).  I couldn't tell you by memory what keys did what, but when I sat down to play the game, it was like natural instinct bringing me back to complete understanding… or something like that…. 🙂

I took my own advice about using the teleport between dungeons, but to an extreeme this time.  I decided to go through every single teleport gate I could, even if it caused a major inbalance to my War vs Spiritual strength – and it did!  At one point before level 5 I had nearly 100 War strength and less than 20 Spiritual strength.

I began to gain additional Spiritual strengh by always electing to use Spiritual books over War book.  It just turned out right for this specific game.  I don't think I passed through one Spriritual gate the entire game.  It was either a War gate, or a neutral gate.

Below you see my first screenshot prior to crushing the Wite Tall Sheilded Hooded Wraith.

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My second screenshot with pretty serious firepower and strength credentials.  Orange Tall Hooded Wraith coming up!

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My next screenshot of MAX Spiritual strength, facing off against a GOLDEN Magic door.  I have a story to tell you about the Golden Magic door, so pay attention….

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My final screenshot shows MAX strength for both Spiritual and War.  I think this is the first time I've ever had max strength on either of the two strenght components….. And here is where it gets interesting….

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You might ask – why are there no further screenshot of this fantastic game???  Bottom line – I rage-quit (mini-rage, more like just disappointed in myself and quit) after level 165…. Why?  Here starts the lesson….

You'll notice in the screenshot above, I have the Teleport Spell Book, the Platinum Spell Book, the X-Ray Vision Spell Book, along with a nice Platinum Cross-Bow, and the most powerful Level 65 Spiritual Spell Book… oh – and a nice Blue Key to unlock everything…. I've got it all, right?  Riding high!!!  Yeah…..

Here is where the game gets frustrating, and tests your ability to focus and survive… Because afterall, the real point of this game is to truly beat the game…. and by beating the game, I mean survive to level 256 and destroy the most power beast on that level…. Typically that would be a Dark Purple Dragon or a Tall Shielded Hooded Wraith.  There is the notion to a "Perfect Game", which I postulated on one of my first posts, but that endeavor will be left for another day.

So, back to my 'frustration'.  Mistake #1 – Don't underestimate how fragile the high powered weapons can be…. You would be lucky to get through a complete battle with one Platinum Cross-Bow or a Level 65 Spiritual Book.  That's just how the game was written… The "Durability" factor makes the game play much tougher.

I made this mistake on a Golden door.  I decided to attack a Golden door (which I didn't need to do – I had every single Special Spiritual Book in my posession – this was pure ego gone wrong) with a single 99 Platinum Cross-Bow.  What happened?  The Cross-Bow broke after the first attack.  I had to switch to my Spiritual Book, which I quickly did…. but what happens when you switch from War to Spiritual attacks or Spiritual to War attacks in the middle of a battle?  The game renders your subsequent attack (with the opposite attack item) useless, or ineffective.  Almost like you are starting the battle over again.  This doesn't matter as much with weaker opponents, but when you engage with stronger monsters and doors, this makes a huge difference.  In the case of the Golden door, I attacked with a War weapon and the door attacked back with Spiritual.  The Golden door had a strength of over 115, while I had a Spiritual strength of 99.  My arrow took the door down substantially (to around 80), but after being forced to switch to Spiritual attacks, I was not able to gain enough ground on my attacks to defeat the door before I lost the battle.

In retrospect, had I started the battle using the Spiritual book, I may have won by not losing at least two attack turns.  I also realized my Spiritual armour was not as high as it should have been.  I was not able to find the Dark Purple Ring during this quest, so my Spiritual Strength was slightly lacking.

Mistake #2 – Don't underestimate the value of holding a treasure in your pack just in case you are losing a battle.  After I was banished by the Golden door, lost all my weapons and spell books, I thought about ending the game, but I rebuilt my pack as best as I could then continued the quest.  I flew though dozens of levels attempting to cherry pick as quickly as possible.  I never regained my special spell books, but managed to make it level 165 before attempting to take on a Tall Shielded Orange Hooded Wraith.  I had good strength and good weapons back, and I thought… how hard could he be, right?  Once I engaged him, his strength was 228…… 228… I think that is the highest strength I've seen…. I think… But, anyway, I didn't have enough firepower to beat this beast, and I did not have a treasure I could throw at him to disengage… So, I was banished once again, and I had enough defeat, so I ended the game.

Sadly, I've realized, even with Max Strength, there are monsters that are simply too strong in deep level to battle without more advanced tactics.  Example, if you had a Strength Refresh Potion in your pack, you could refresh as your damage is getting low.  Also, have BACKUP weapons of the same kind – at least THREE Spiritual or War for the Epic Battles.  This brings on unique challenges.  Since you are only allowed to carry SIX items in your pack, you have to sacrifice space to be prepared.  Ultimately what this strategically means is – Max out your strength and weapon collection as quickly as you can, then avoid all "Epic Battles" until level 256.  You simply can't afford to get into Epic Battles on every level.  You will run out of resource.

I found this deep quest attempt to be enlightening on several levels.  I hope you enjoyed the post.  Comment back if you liked it!

 

Intellivision Treasure of Tarmin Perfect Game Challenge

The following scenario is the Perfect Game Challenge for the 1982 classic video game Treasure of Tarmin for the Intellivision console.

The following outline is a theoretical “No Stone Unturned” scenario, where the warrior vanquishes every enemy on every level, along with collecting every piece of treasure in a specific manner to achieve the maximum possible score.

Start the game at the maximum difficulty (Level 3 of 3).
DO NOT begin picking up any treasure until you have the Purple “Midas” Special Book.  Once you’ve obtained the Purple Midas Special Book, you must change every piece of treasure to Platinum before picking the treasure up.  This will ensure the value of the collected treasure is as high as possible before the end of the game.
Proceed through all 256 levels – avoiding all monsters and magical doors that you are not certain you can defeat.
Start back at level 1 and vanquish all opponents that were originally avoided in every possible level and floor that can be reached.
Collect the Treasure of Tarmin on the second pass to the 256th level.

The warrior’s strength values would be:

199 War strength
99 Spiritual strength
119 War armor
52 Spiritual armor

Since I have not come close to level of patience and dedication required to achieve this perfect game, I can only estimate the value of the total collected platinum treasure to be around 200,000.  There would be variation to this score depending on the algorithmic results throughout the game.

If this perfect quest were to be realized, I estimate the endeavor to take between 8 and 20 cumulative hours to accomplish.

Who will be brave enough to withstand the quest for a perfect game of the Intellivision 1982 Advanced Dungeons and Dragon’s Treasure of Tarmin? I await your response…

 

Treasure of Tarmin Advanced GamePlay Strategy

As promised, this post will contain all the advanced tips, tricks and secrets to increase your chances for completing the quest for the perfect game and total domination of the realm.

When starting off, the ultimate warrior must begin with the ‘hardest’ setting (option 3 [or spacebar] on the emulator).  The warrior will be presented with a randomly selected map of the dungeon with the first twelve levels visible.  With any luck, the warrior will be presented with a map similar to the one pictured below.

Why would this map be lucky, you ask?  Great question.  While some might consider this map to give the warrior several options to get down to the twelfth level, I see this in a very different light.  You’ll notice that the dungeon rooms on every level are mostly adjacent to another dungeon room.  In the dungeon map above, there are only three main separations between dungeon rooms, which occur on levels one, two, seven and eight.  So, why is this   a good thing?  ** It is absolutely critical to build your warrior’s strength attributes as early as possible before getting too far down into the levels.  How can this be accomplished?  The teleportation gates between adjacent dungeon rooms are the key.  There are three different kinds of teleportation gates in the game that can be found from level one through level ten.  They are:

  1. Yellow – Increases War strength attribute and decreases Spiritual strength attribute.
  2. Blue –  Increases Spiritual strength attribute and decreases War strength attribute.
  3. Tan – Does not have any affect on your War or Spiritual attributes.

When I first started playing this game, I always stayed away from the Yellow and Blue Teleportation gates because I felt that I could not control my destiny and that a monster would expose my weakened attributes and quickly crush me.  Well, that is partially true, but through experience I found there is a method to limiting your weakened attribute exposure.  The key to building your strength attributes fast and SAFELY is to make as many LATERAL moves as the dungeon layout allows, regardless of how many times you may pass through the Yellow and Blue Teleportation gates.  Oh, and by the way, it doesn’t hurt to pick up a nice quality spiritual ring early on as well.  I’ll expand on this thought  later in this post with an example.

So, back to the nearly ideal starting map.  Continuing with the notion of lateral dungeon movement, this dungeon map allows the warrior to make a maximum of 20 lateral dungeon teleportations before level 11.  This allows the warrior to gain strength through 31 dungeons with the possibility of 20 different strength changing opportunities through the 20 lateral movements.

The likelihood of the quest working out with 20 “safe” lateral moves as documented above is very low – and may not even be necessary.  Remember, you do not want to risk having one of your strength levels get too low while your warrior is engaged in a dungeon with corresponding monster attack characteristics.  Example – On level one, I would think twice about going through a War Teleportation gate when my Spiritual strength was six and I was about to be teleported to a Spiritual dungeon room.  In doing so, my Spiritual strength would be critically low (approximately 2), and a single blow from a scorpion could kill me – even with a Spiritual ring on.

There is much more to discuss about strategy and ‘ideal’ scenarios.  For now, I will leave you with a few more screenshots that I will illustrate at a later date.

I’d love to hear your comments on your experiences and what you’ve found that works well for you.  Thanks for reading!

Wow – A lucky, nice quality Spiritual ring early in the game to protect my early teleportation adventures!

 

Only rest when absolutely needed!

 

War gate ahead – Is it the right decision?

Yes, it is the right decision.  Why?  The result is a reduction of my Spiritual strength to six, but I’m still on level 1, landing in a War dungeon with Spiritual armor of 10.  The only thing that would make me feel better is the use of a Spiritual Book to rapidly increase my experience with Spiritual weapons.  Notice how I’m holding onto the blue War book?  I’ll talk about why that is at a later time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Treasure of Tarmin History and Fun Facts

ADVANCED DUNGEONS & DRAGONS
TREASURE OF TARMIN Cartridge
INTELLIVISION CARTRIDGE [#5300]

Trademarks owned by and used under license from TSR Hobbies, Inc.
AKA: Minotaur (working title), D&D II, Treasure of Tarmin
Produced by APh Technology Consultants for Mattel Electronics
Program: Tom Loughry

Comments and Fun Facts

Treasure of Tarmin was licensed from TRS Hobbies.
TSR insisted on so much legal lingo on the title screen, there was no room for the title Treasure of Tarmin. The title screen identifies the game simply as ADVANCED DUNGEONS & DRAGONS Cartridge, same as on the ADVANCED DUNGEONS & DRAGONS CLOUDY MOUNTAIN Cartridge title screen.
Treasure of Tarmin was the sequel to the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons cartridge that was released the previous year.
Treasure of Tarmin was programmed by Tom Loughry, who went on to program The Dreadnaught Factor and Worm Whomper for Activision.
A pdf scan of the manual can be found by clicking here.
Treasure of Tarmin is on the Intellivision Lives! CD for the XBox, Playstation 2, GameCube, and PC under its working title “Minotaur”.

DEVELOPMENT HISTORY
ADVANCED DUNGEONS & DRAGONS TREASURE OF TARMIN Cartridge was in production at APh since 1981. At the beginning, APh hoped to do two versions: an Intellivision cartridge, and an enhanced version for the original Keyboard Component, featuring synchronized voices. The Keyboard version was never started.

APH TECHNOLOGICAL CONSULTING
APh, located in Pasadena, California, was hired by Mattel in 1976 to help design what became the Intellivision system; eventually they programmed the system’s software, most of the development tools, and all of the first Intellivision, M Network and Keyboard Component games. The staff of graduates and students from the nearby California Institute of Technology, under APh President Glenn Hightower, designed and programmed the games. Dave James, an artist from the Mattel Design & Development Department, worked with APh to define the Intellivision graphics (including the familiar running-man animation). In addition to their work for Mattel, APh had many non-videogame contracts, so they survived the 1983 industry collapse in good shape. Still at the same location, today they program computer processors imbedded in everything from consumer products to spacecraft.

Deep Quest Attempt – Success and Grand Failure

This quest is filled with my greatest triumphs thus far combined with a catastrophic failure.

The screenshot below shows significant strength levels at dungeon level 19.  I was faced with the Tall Orange Shielded Wraith and was able to beat him for the first time.  I decided to stay away from the Large Purple Potion because I did not want my spiritual and war attributes to be switched at this point in the game.

My confidence was flying high after my first Tall Orange Shielded Wraith defeat, so I decided to take a chance on a Golden Magic Door.  Thankfully my spiritual power was at maximum capacity (99), and for the first time I was able to defeat the Golden Door.  After defeating the Golden Door several times in this quest, I realized every Golden Door protects the Midas Spell Book, which turns treasures & war weapons platinum at your feet.

I decided to take a quick stapshot of my impressive stats at level 30.  The only pieces missing were to get up to 199 war strength and find the Super Power Purple Spiritual Ring.

It was at level 41 where I decided to drink the Small Purple Potion to make myself invisible from all monsters (except the Minotaur).  I did this mainly in the interest of time.  So, this quest automatically disqualifies me from the perfect quest, but as you’ll read on, the perfect quest may very well be unattainable.

I was finally presented with the Super Power Purple Spiritual Ring, which completed my Spiritual and War armor attributes.

This next screenshot shows my complete statistics after I used the Super Power Purple Spiritual Ring.  I was able to slice through every opponent and every magic door I faced for all 54 levels without any real threat of losing any of the battles.

I was so proud of this accomplishment, I decided to transport myself as quickly as I could to the 256th level, defeat the Minotaur and complete the quest.  Since I had the power of Special Vision book, I was able to quickly navigate the remaining levels, finding the ladder to the next levels quickly.  This next screenshot shows the entrance into the 256th level.

Feeling extremely happy with my accomplishment, I wanted to prove my character powers worthy by vanquishing every last living creature on the 256th level……  But, something was very different about this level, and if you look closely at my screenshot above, you’ll notice one glaring hole in my arsenal….  I was able to defeat one of the Minotaurs, but I was very surprised at the Minotaur’s strength – 200!  I had never seen a Minotaur with more than 100 strength in any of the higher levels, and since I purposely avoided every single monster I could between level 55 and 256, I was not able to gauge the monster power increases in between those levels.

I then attempted to defeat a Purple Dragon, and I feel the hole in my weapon arsenal was the reason for the ensuing disaster that was about to strike.  I attempted to destroy this Dragon with a 23 power spell book….. Not a good idea.  The Dragon has 226 strength!  I had never encountered a creature with that kind of strength.  The Dragon quickly reduced my Spiritual strength down to critical levels and at every attempt I could, I was using my retreat option.  I was unsure if it was going to work, and thankfully I was able to retreat with just a single point of Spiritual strength left…..  I rested, which brought my Spiritual strength back up 99.  Decision point……  Do I re-attempt the melee with my 99 Crossbow?  Maybe I would be able to cut down the Dragon.  Heck with it, let’s give it a try…….

Big, Big mistake……My Crossbow was not effective enough.  The Dragon took my Spiritual strength down before I was able to slay the Dragon or retreat.  It was one of the biggest failures I’ve ever had playing this game.  I was reincarnated (or banished) to the corner of the dungeon with only the 23 power spell book in my right hand and the platinum shield in my left hand.  I was crushed…. I knew I could find the remaining Tarmin treasure from defeating the first Minotaur on the level to finish the game, but this banishment tarnished the success of this quest.

After I picked up the Tarmin treasure, the next screenshot shows proof that I lost all of the treasure that I had collected (over 25,000) through 50+ levels….

But, this quest gave me insight into the ability to accomplish a perfect game of Treasure of Tarmin.  At the moment, I’m feeling like it may be impossible.  Reason:  The 226 power Dragon required the most powerful spell book (65).  But the Purple Spell Book breaks often, and to be able to defeat monsters of this strength, one would potentially need two or three of these books in their pack, along with two or three Small Blue Potions to refresh the character’s strength attributes during the melee.

The resources I just described are scarce, and to have them readily available in quantity for potentially dozens and dozens of nasty monsters with over 200 strength each is nearly impossible.

So, this quest leaves me with some open-ended questions:

At what point do the monsters get this powerful?
What would a Tall Orange Shielded Wraith’s power level be at these levels?  Since I was banished, I avoided every monster I could and was not able to engage with any other monster.
How long could I have continued ripping through monsters after level 54? Another 10 to 20 levels?  Would the lower power spell books not be enough to defeat the monsters at that level?  Would I need to begin relying on 65 power level spell books?

Maybe at some point I’ll be able to address these questions, but for now I am giving everyone an open invitation to attempt to definitively answer these questions and post a response.  Thanks for reading!

 

 

TREASURE OF TARMIN Original Instructions

Although the instructions to ADVANCED DUNGEONS & DRAGONS*
TREASURE OF TARMIN* can be found in it’s original location on the http://www.intellivisionlives.com site, it doesn’t hurt to have a backup.

A pdf scan of the manual can be found by clicking here.

ADVANCED DUNGEONS & DRAGONS* TREASURE OF TARMIN* CARTRIDGE

Cartridge Instructions
(For 1 Player)

*ADVANCED DUNGEONS & DRAGONS and TREASURE OF TARMIN are
trademarks owned by and used under license from TSR Hobbies, Inc.

The DREADED MINOTAUR and his monster companions built a
complicated system of MAZES and DUNGEONS in the island of Tarmin
to hide and protect the Great Treasure of dark ages. Along with other
stolen riches, they took OBJECTS of SPIRITUAL POWERS and LETHAL
WEAPONS. Now the castle with its GHASTLY OCCUPANTS and
FIERCELY GUARDED TREASURES has lured you in…You begin your
JOURNEY wondering whether you’ll ever make it to the end…

OBJECT OF THE GAME
ALONE in a deep web of endless rooms and corridors…you move on
with a bow, a quiver of arrows, a sack of flour, and an empty pack
toward DEEPER PATHWAYS…beyond which the TARMIN TREASURE
can be found. Yet you know the DEVOURING MINOTAUR awaits
you…at the end of your quest. You proceed cautiously through ILL-
OMENED GATES and LADDERS and even HIDDEN DOORS. You bump
into all kinds of combat and spiritual objects, some of which give you
STRANGE POWERS when collected and then used. Your pack can only
contain up to 6 objects, your hand 2 — but they can be swapped
around and used in the best possible ways. So it’s up to you to
OUTSMART the EVIL FORCES…and GRAB the LOOT!

YOUR CONTROLS

KEYPAD 1: Pick Up/Drop
KEYPAD 2: Swap Hands
KEYPAD 3: Rotate Pack
KEYPAD 4: Open
KEYPAD 5: Use
KEYPAD 6: Swap Pack
KEYPAD 7: Attack
KEYPAD 8: Rest
KEYPAD 9: Use Ladder
CLEAR: Glance Left
KEYPAD 0: Retreat/Retrace
ENTER: Glance Right

UPPER SIDE ACTION KEYS: Castle Map
LOWER LEFT SIDE ACTION KEY: Count Food
LOWER RIGHT SIDE ACTION KEY: Count Arrows

DISC: Move Forward/Turn Left/Turn Right

NOTE: DO NOT USE THE KEYPAD AND DISC OR SIDE BUTTONS AT THE
SAME TIME.

THE SCREEN
The screen displays either the CASTLE MAP, showing a side view of
the maze beneath the castle, or the MAZE MAP, showing your point
of view as you move through the maze.

At the bottom of both screens is a collection of objects and
information:

At the center bottom is the MAZE LEVEL NUMBER, showing the level
you are on (1 to 256).

Above the Level Number is the OBJECT AT YOUR FEET (Maze Map
only)

To the left of the Level Number is the OBJECT IN LEFT HAND.

To the right of the Level Number is the OBJECT IN RIGHT HAND.

To the left of the Object in Left Hand is the COMPASS, represented by
a letter (N, W, S, E) that shows the direction you are facing (North,
West, South, East).

Around the Compass are the items currently in your PACK. There can
be from none to four items in the Pack.

To the right of the Object in Right Hand is the 3-WAY SCORE: three
sets of numbers separated by slashes. The top set is your
WAR/SPIRITUAL STRENGTH SCORE. The middle set is your
ARMOR/RING DEFENSES SCORE. The bottom set is your WAR
WEAPON/SPIRITUAL WEAPON SCORE.

Above the 3-Way Score is your TREASURE SCORE (Castle Map only).
YOUR COMMANDS

* To LOOK at CASTLE MAP, press and hold either Upper Action
Button. The FLASHING WHITE DOT will tell you where you are —
level and location — in the maze system. Up to 12 levels can be seen
on the map. The SMALL YELLOW CHEST in the center of the lowest
level indicates the location of the TARMIN TREASURE…guarded by
the MINOTAUR. This is the first of 256 levels where the treasure can
be found. Each level down is filled with nastier monsters and magic
items…and maybe the terrible Minotaur! You CANNOT look at the
castle map while fighting a monster!

* To MOVE FORWARD, TURN LEFT, or TURN RIGHT, press and hold
DISC in corresponding position.

* TO COUNT number of FOOD UNITS you have, press and hold Lower
Left Action Button. You’ll hear a series of CLICKS. Each click
corresponds to a food unit. You can collect up to 99 units of food by
picking up flour sacks of 6 to 9 units each.

* To COUNT number of ARROWS you have, press and hold Lower
Right Action Button. You’ll hear a series of CLICKS. Each click
corresponds to an arrow. You can collect up to 99 arrows by picking
up quivers of 6 to 9 arrows each.

* To pick up or drop objects, press PICK UP/DROP (1). This relates to
your RIGHT HAND only. Your hand must be empty to pick up
something, otherwise this command will swap what is in your hand
with what is at your feet.

* To swap objects from one hand to another, press SWAP HANDS (2).

* To rotate objects in your pack, press ROTATE PACK (3). Up to 6
objects will rotate in a CLOCKWISE direction, one position at a time,
occupying the following clock positions: 1, 3, 5, 7, 9 and 11 o’clock.

* To swap an object in your pack with an object in your right hand,
press SWAP PACK (6). You can only swap an object occupying the 3
o’clock position in your pack.

* TO open an UNLOCKED CONTAINER at your feet, or a door or hidden
door directly in front of you, press OPEN (4). Certain walls may
contain a HIDDEN DOOR. If TRAPPED in a room, try this command
when facing a wall.

* To use an object in your right hand, or possibly act upon an object
at your feet, press USE (5).

* To attack a monster directly in front of you with the object in your
right hand, press ATTACK (7). You cannot attack while the objects in
your left and right hands are flashing (this means it’s NOT your turn).
Monsters often attack first. Wait for your turn.

* To REGAIN both your WAR STRENGTH and SPIRITUAL STRENGTH
after a battle, press REST (8). The amount of rest you’ll get will
depend on the number of food units you have picked up. Each unit of
food can give you up to 5 units of war strength and 2 units of
spiritual strength.

* To GO DOWN a LEVEL into a new maze using the ladder at your feet,
press USE LADDER (9). Once used, a ladder WON’T allow you to CLIMB
UP a level again. However, when you reach level 256, the deepest
one, a ladder will place you back up to level 1.

* To see what is to your left, press GLANCE LEFT (CLEAR).

* TO see what is to your right, press GLANCE RIGHT (ENTER).

* To go back where you were last or retrace your last step, press
RETREAT/RETRACE (0). Press once to retreat and the monster will
take one LAST SHOT at you. If you continue pressing this command,
the monster will continue hitting you until you let up on the Disc.

GET READY
Start by setting the skill level:

Press 3 for Easiest
Press 2 for Easy
Press 1 for Medium
Press DISC for Hard

START YOUR JOURNEY!
Once a skill level has been set, the game begins immediately with a
brief display of the overall CASTLE MAP.

The castle map comes and goes. You’ve been told where you are in
the first maze level, by the FLASHING WHITE DOT. You’ve seen the
ladders diagonally connecting the maze levels, and the TARMIN
TREASURE (represented by a small YELLOW CHEST) right in the
middle of the bottom level!

Here are your INITIAL CONDITIONS, depending on your skill level
chosen:

EASIEST
Minimum Maze Levels: 2
Possible Length of Game: 5 to 30 minutes
Your Vulnerability: 1/4
Your War/Spiritual Strength: 18/9
Your Food: 9
Your Arrows: 9

EASY
Minimum Maze Levels: 4
Possible Length of Game: 1/4 to 1 hour
Your Vulnerability: 1/2
Your War/Spiritual Strength: 16/8
Your Food: 8
Your Arrows: 8

MEDIUM
Minimum Maze Levels: 8
Possible Length of Game: 1/2 to 3 hours
Your Vulnerability: 3/4
Your War/Spiritual Strength: 14/7
Your Food: 7
Your Arrows: 7

HARD
Minimum Maze Levels: 12
Possible Length of Game: 1.5 to 5 hours
Your Vulnerability: FULL
Your War/Spiritual Strength: 12/6
Your Food: 6
Your Arrows: 6

Now you’re on your own in the NW corner of the maze…heading
EAST…inside an outer corridor. You carry a BOW in your right hand,
some ARROWS in the quiver, a little FOOD in a sack, and an empty
pack. Neither the quiver nor the sack are seen. The pack occupies the
area on the screen where the COMPASS is, and is noticed only when
stuffed with objects. Move in the direction you want to go, by
pressing edge of DISC.

Often, EYEBALL MURALS will appear to you. They are always in the
outer corridors, MARKING the ENTRANCE to the interior of a maze.
They come in three different colors. DARK GREEN indicates a war
type maze, BLUE a spiritual type maze, and TAN a mixed type maze.

KNOW THE MAZE
Check your direction with the COMPASS. Look for OBJECTS and
DOORS. Objects can be anything…such as weapons, containers, keys,
useful items or treasures. Doors are usually easy to spot. But…

If TRAPPED in a DUNGEON, a HALLWAY, or a SECTION of the MAZE
which seems to repeat itself endlessly, look for possible HIDDEN
DOORS. Confront any suspicious wall as you would confront a regular
door and press OPEN (4). If a hidden door exists, it will open. If not,
turn around…step by step…and try other walls…or other pathways.
Beware of OTHER DOORS…endowed with weird powers…

A LADDER in your way will provide a quick exit, DOWN into a DEEPER
LEVEL. Approach the ladder and press USE LADDER (9). A suction
sound will immediately transfer you! You may want to check your
new position on the castle map, if you’re still displayed on it.

Sometimes you will encounter GATES in hallways. Going through a
gate moves you over to an adjacent maze, but it may JUMBLE your
WAR/SPIRITUAL strength SCORE. And you CANNOT go back through
it! (REST AFTERWARD to regain some points and check your new
score.) Gates come in 3 colors: GREEN (makes you more war-like),
BLUE (makes you more spiritual), and TAN (won’t change you at all).

TREASURES DISAPPEAR when picked up, because you either carry
them in your pockets or wear them. THEIR VALUES are recorded
only on the castle map, in BLACK, directly above the 3-way scoring
display.

QUIVERS and SACKS of FLOUR also DISAPPEAR when picked up.
You’ll be carrying them on your back!

Other objects, like USEFUL ITEMS, may DISAPPEAR when picked up
or used with your right hand. Or they may make you
disappear…making you INVISIBLE to all monsters but the Minotaur
(while also making the monsters invisible to you!) Such objects have
SPIRITUAL POWERS.

To use a spiritual object, and it must be in your right hand or at your
feet, press USE (5). Use immediately — rather than keeping it around
— to build up your spiritual power, increase your score, and stand
better chances of SURVIVING ATTACKING MONSTERS. Check spiritual
points, if any, right of the slash of any of the three displayed scores.

ATTACKING!
You must have a weapon or magical item for use in your RIGHT
HAND to fight. If you don’t, swap a weapon from your left hand or
pack. Or pick up a weapon that you find. Try to be prepared with a
shield in your left hand. If order of objects in pack needs rotating, do
so, and get your most effective weapon out!

Remember, many weapons and items will VANISH upon their use in
battle. So keep several weapons in your pack to ensure victory.
Watch both YOUR SCORE and the MONSTER’S SCORE before and after
every round of attack. Work out a BATTLE STRATEGY. Some
monsters will knock you out with just one or two blows…if you’re not
careful!

Avoid attacking if your score looks weaker than the monster’s. Press
RETREAT/RETRACE and move away. Chances are you can PICK UP
MORE WEAPONS in the hallways and dungeons and ATTACK LATER!

You can only attack a monster STANDING DIRECTLY IN FRONT of you,
although a monster may attack you from a nearby position.
Sometimes he might just run smack in front of you from BEHIND a
DOOR that behaves strangely because of an OMINOUS SPELL. Watch
out for those SURPRISE ATTACKS!

After the initial assault, you ALTERNATE ATTACKS. If you attack first
, you CANNOT attack again until the monster has thrown something
at you. The exchange will be brief if either you or the monster is
much stronger. Or it may last quite a while if there is a balance of
forces.

The BATTLE ENDS when either you or the monster DIES…or when you
RETREAT. Monsters NEVER retreat. A dying monster will disappear in
a cloud of smoke. His score will vanish too. If you DIE, your score will
end up with a 0 on either side of the slash of your WAR/SPIRITUAL
STRENGTH scoring display. However, cheer up! If you are worthy,
you’ll be REINCARNATED! And that means, a new opportunity for you
to win!

SCORING
Your 3-WAY SCORING DISPLAY on BOTH MAPS plus your SPECIAL
TREASURE VALUE SCORING DISPLAY on the CASTLE MAP tell you
how you’re doing. Anything LEFT of a slash on the 3-way scoring is a
WAR-TYPE score, anything RIGHT of a slash is a SPIRITUAL score.

At the BOTTOM is the score of the object (WAR WEAPON or
SPIRITUAL WEAPON) you have picked up for use in COMBAT…or
BUILD YOUR STRENGTH in preparation for such a combat. The score
will remain on the screen as long as you hold the object in your
RIGHT HAND. In the MIDDLE is your ARMOR/RING body DEFENSES
score. At the TOP is your overall STRENGTH (WAR and SPIRITUAL)
score. Keep it high!

A similar overall STRENGTH score is kept for the monster attacking
you! His comes in green or blue colors. GREEN for WAR-derived
STRENGTH and BLUE for SPIRITUAL-derived STRENGTH. This score
will appear DURING a BATTLE only and on the spot on the screen
where normally the maze level indication appears. The score that
appears initially is the weakest of his two — WAR or SPIRITUAL.
Thereafter, is the score that was last damaged by your weapon used.

Notice that your MAXIMUM STRENGTH score (top line) under normal
conditions is 49/24. But using useful items such as war or spiritual
books or certain potions may change that! Notice also that your
MAXIMUM WEAPON score (bottom line) is 99/0 (if WAR type) or
0/65 (if SPIRITUAL). Always check the SECRETS OF THE UNIVERSE
tables to plan your STRATEGIES…and SURVIVE! And ultimately WIN
the GAME!

[NOTE: In the original hand-written instructions by programmer Tom
Loughry, Tom suggests that the true gamer will have more fun by
NOT reading the SECRETS OF THE UNIVERSE section, instead learning
the secrets for himself while playing.]

SECRETS OF THE UNIVERSE

WAR WEAPON TYPES

BOWS: Use 1 arrow at a time; bows may break
KNIVES: Vanish when used in an attack
AXES: Vanish when used in an attack
DARTS: Vanish when used in an attack
SPEARS: Vanish when used in an attack
CROSSBOWS: Use 1 arrow at a time; crossbows may break

WAR WEAPON COLORS & POWERS

TAN (wood/leather): Regular Power
ORANGE (rusty iron): Greater Power
BLUE (steel): Fair Power
GRAY (silver): Medium Power
YELLOW (gold): High Power
WHITE (platinum): Super Power

ARMOR TYPES

SMALL SHIELDS: Hold in left hand during fight
LARGE SHIELDS: Hold in left hand during fight
GAUNTLETS: Use to put on; best color is kept
HAUBERKS: Use to put on; best color is kept
HELMETS: Use to put on; best color is kept
BREASTPLATES: Use to put on; best color is kept

* Wearing a piece of armor will protect you a little from war
weapons thrown at you by monsters.

ARMOR COLORS & POWERS: Same as WAR WEAPONS

SPIRITUAL WEAPON TYPES

SCROLLS: Reusable; may break
SMALL FIREBALLS: Vanish when used in attack
SMALL LIGHTNING BOLTS: Vanish when used in attack
LARGE FIREBALLS: Vanish when used in attack
LARGE LIGHTNING BOLTS: Vanish when used in attack
BOOKS: Reusable; may break

SPIRITUAL WEAPON COLORS & POWERS

BLUE: Regular Power
GRAY: Greater Power
WHITE: Fair Power
PINK: Medium Power
RED: High Power
PURPLE: Super Power

RING TYPES

SMALL RING: Use to put on; best color is kept
LARGE RING: Use to put on; best color is kept

* Wearing a ring will protect you a little from spiritual weapons
thrown at you by monsters.

RING COLORS & POWER: Same as SPIRITUAL WEAPONS

CONTAINER TYPES

MONEY BELTS: Contents REGULAR/Open to grab contents
SMALL BAGS: Contents BETTER/Open to grab contents
BOXES: Contents FAIR/Locked; use key to open and grab contents
PACKS: Contents MEDIUM/Locked; use key to open and grab contents
LARGE BAGS: Contents GREAT/Open to grab contents
CHESTS: Contents SUPER/Locked; use key to open and grab contents

* Containers may contain bombs, which will hurt you when they
blow up. There are 3 types of bombs. Nastier bombs will be found in
better containers. There is no way of avoiding their blast.

* When opened or unlocked, containers reveal a treasure or a useful
item. The value of the treasure or item found depends on the type
and quality of the container. Better treasures are found in better
containers.

* Use of a small potion increases the potential of all containers
significantly while in effect. Attacking a monster with a container
will make him take the container and forget about the fight.

CONTAINER COLORS & POWERS

TAN: Mild Quality
ORANGE: Good Quality
BLUE: Best Quality

TREASURE TYPES

COINS: 10 (silver), 30 (gold), 170 (platinum)
NECKLACES: 20 (silver), 70 (gold), 200 (platinum)
INGOTS: 50 (silver), 350 (gold), 450 (platinum)
LAMPS: 100 (silver), 150 (gold), 220 (platinum)
CHALICES: 120 (silver), 250 (gold), 400 (platinum)
CROWNS: 300 (silver), 500 (gold), 600 (platinum)

* Picking up treasures with your right hand automatically scores
them for you. Read their special score in black on your overall castle
map only. Watch each treasure being picked up disappear, since
you’ll be carrying it in your pocket or wearing it.

USEFUL ITEMS TYPES

KEYS
TAN: Unlock tan containers
ORANGE: Unlock tan or orange containers
BLUE: Unlock any container

WAR BOOKS (VANISH ON USE)
BLUE: Increase your experience with war weapons; turn your war
strength score blue when in use; raise maximum score to 99
PINK: Increase your experience with war weapons; turn your war
strength score tan when in use; raise maximum score to 149
PURPLE: Increase your experience with war weapons; turn your war
strength score white when in use; raise maximum score to 199

SPIRITUAL BOOKS (VANISH ON USE)
BLUE: Increase your experience with spiritual weapons; turn your
war strength score blue when in use; raise maximum score to 49
PINK: Increase your experience with spiritual weapons; turn your
war strength score tan when in use; raise maximum score to 74
PURPLE: Increase your experience with spiritual weapons; turn your
war strength score white when in use; raise maximum score to 99

SMALL POTIONS (VANISH ON USE)
BLUE: Refresh war & spiritual strength to maximum; help in fights,
but lose 1 turn during fights
PINK: Help find better things in containers; magic ends with a little
“whoosh” noise
PURPLE: Make you invisible to all demons except the Minotaur (while
making them invisible to you); magic ends with a little “whoosh”
noise

LARGE POTIONS (VANISH ON USE)
BLUE: Raise war strength score by 10; help in fights, but lose 1 turn
during fights
PINK: Raise spiritual power score by 10; help you, but lose 1 turn
PURPLE: Switch war & spiritual strength traits; help in fights, but lose
1 turn during fights

SPECIAL BOOKS (NEVER VANISH)
BLUE: Teleport books move you forward in maze rooms in spite of
walls, but not into monsters
PINK: Vision books allow you to see through walls for a time
PURPLE: Midas books turn treasures & war weapons platinum at
your feet

* Useful items are found only in containers.

BAD MONSTERS

GIANT ANTS: Blue, Pink, Purple
DWARFS: Yellow, Tan, Orange
GIANT SCORPIONS: Blue, Pink, Purple
DWARFS WITH SHIELDS: Yellow, Tan, Orange
GIANT SNAKES: Blue, Pink, Purple
ALLIGATORS: Blue, Pink, Purple
DRAGONS: Blue, Pink, Purple

* Bad monsters use spiritual weapons only.
* Bad monsters are listed in order of increasing badness

NASTY MONSTERS

SKELETONS WITH SHIELDS: White, Gray, Orange
SKELETONS WITHOUT SHIELDS: White, Gray, Orange
CLOAKED SKELETONS WITH SHIELDS: White, Gray, Orange
CLOAKED SKELETONS WITHOUT SHIELDS: White, Gray, Orange
GIANTS WITH SHIELDS: Yellow, Tan, Orange
GIANTS WITHOUT SHIELDS: Yellow, Tan, Orange

* Nasty monsters use war weapons only.
* Nasty monsters are listed in order of increasing nastiness.

HORRIBLE MONSTERS

GHOULS (SHORT HOODED & ROBED)
WITH SHIELDS: White, Gray, Orange
WITHOUT SHIELDS: White, Gray, Orange

WRAITHS (TALL, HOODED & ROBED)
WITH SHIELDS: White, Gray, Orange
WITHOUT SHIELDS: White, Gray, Orange

MINOTAUR: Purple (Guards the Tarmin treasure)

* Horrible monsters use either spiritual or war weapons.
* In harder two skill levels, horrible monsters will shatter your
weakest of two scores — war strength or spiritual strength.
* All together there are 52 types of monsters; you’ll find more of the
nasty and horrible ones in the deepest levels…down to level 256…if
you care to find them!
* To win the game you must slay the Minotaur and grab the Tarmin
treasure!
————–
(c)1983, 1998 Intellivision Productions Inc.

 

Intellivision, Treasure of Tarmin – Revival!

Rewind the clock and you’ll find classic video games that paved the way for the incredible first person shooter gaming experiences we know and love today. This post is about a game created for the Intellivision console back in the early 1980’s where the game play is nearly perfect for it’s era, and worthy of a nostalgic review – and a bit of a ‘call to action’….

ADVANCED DUNGEONS & DRAGONS TREASURE OF TARMIN

Born from the late 1970’s cult classic role playing game Dungeons & Dragons, Treasure of Tarmin brings to primitive digital life the enchanted mid-evil world of legendary power.

One obvious caveat is that one must look past the rudimentary 8-bit sprite graphics and appreciate the intent of this brilliant strategic masterpiece.  While one could argue the object of the game is to capture the Treasure of Tarmin protected by the Minotaur as quickly as possible, at a superficial level, they would be correct.  But complete mastery of the game can only come with deep excursions into the depths of the dungeon levels while gaining strength and making precise decisions along the way.

In my opinion, one of the greatest features of this game is the lack of a save – for the proverbial “undo” option…..  By not having any way to save your current game state for rollback insurance, this game parallels the humble experiences of true life – one bad decision could ruin the game (your life) forever.  If you are familiar with the game play of any modern first person shooter, on average, how many times do you get killed and regenerate in a single match?  It desensitizes your choices during the match, doesn’t it?  With a game like Treasure of Tarmin, every choice counts toward or against a successful outcome.

Over the recent years I’ve spent an undisclosed amount of time dissecting the addicting game play using the Win32 Intellipack 3 emulator, and have come up with strategies to maximize the success.  I will post my strategies in this blog over time, but for now, I’d like you to review one of my successful quests below.  Notice the extreme war strength and armor values.  This first example is by no means a flawless game state, but was a good effort for only being at the 12th level of the game.  For those that have played the game, I would love to see your comments and statistics.  Thanks for reading!

You can reference the original game instructions on this blog as well.

Below are a few additional screenshots of different quests where I invested significant time developing the character’s strength components.

I’ll give you a teaser about the screen capture below.  The Tall, Orange Hooded Wraith you see below is the quintessential “horrible monster” in the game.

A hint I can give you about the quest below shows the theoretical maximum values for both spiritual and war armor.

The screen capture below shows the ensuing victory screen after defeating the Minotaur.  Notice the accumulated treasure value on the right side of the screen – a decent value  for the 43rd level, but by no means is satisfying in my eyes….

On the satisfaction note – what would the results be of a perfectly executed quest of the Treasure of Tarmin?  That is a great question – one that I cannot answer (dare I say – “yet”).   Let me pose the following scenario, and let’s see what kind of responses I can get from this:

Start the game at the maximum difficulty (Level 3 of 3).
Proceed through all 256 levels – avoiding all monsters and magical doors that you are not certain you can defeat.
Start back at level 1 and vanquish all opponents that were originally avoided in every possible level and floor that can be reached.
Collect the Treasure of Tarmin on the second pass to the 256th level.

My outstanding question would be:

What would be the maximum value of treasure you’ve collected after going through all 256 levels (twice)?

My character strength assumptions would be:

199 War strength
99 Spiritual strength
119 War armor
52 Spiritual armor

Highest goals that should have been accomplished with the ultimate quest:

Destroy every magic door, including the Orange and Golden magic doors.  I have never once beaten a Golden magic door.
Destroy every Tall, Orange, Shielded Wraith.  To date, I’ve never survived an attack from this omega creature.

If this perfect quest were to be realized, I estimate the endeavor to take between 12 and 24 cumulative hours to accomplish.

So, from this moment forth, the gauntlet has been thrown.  Who will be brave enough to withstand the quest for a perfect game of the Intellivision 1982 Advanced Dungeons and Dragon’s Treasure of Tarmin?  I await your response…