More Bits 'N Pieces
by Al Backiel

I have received two more answers to the questions that I posed in DP #33:

The first question was “Do the Crypts of Chaos have a final screen or exit?” The answer according to the programmer John Marvin, whom I contacted via email follows:

“Sorry NO, there is no ending. It just gets harder as you go down. In that way it is more like an arcade game than a modern RPG. As simple as Crypts of Chaos is. It filled the 4K ROM we had to ship it on. Interestingly, there are a total of 128 bytes of RAM on the VCS. So that explains the lack of much of the stored information in most of these games. You either go forward never to return (e.g. River Raid), or you see a lot of random encounters (Crypts of Chaos).”

The second question was “How does one uncover the easter egg in California Games?” Answer courtesy of the programmer Steve A. Baker, also contacted online:

“Hold DOWN on the second controller while you do the “air turn” on the first controller. Every time you land it will show SAB. Your final score will still be correct.”

I offer our readers the above info on CoC, because who wants to spend a lot of time seeking the impossible. The game is still entertaining and worth playing to achieve a higher score or to access a lower level. I did have some qualms about revealing the ending to another RPG… Dark Tower. This great Vectrex game was saved from extinction by our own Sean Kelly and is available on multicarts. Some gamers might prefer not to know how it ends up, but would rather figure it out for themselves. As a compromise, I have decided to encode the solution. Those who don’t want any hints should ignore the cipher. For those that want to know the answer right now, here is the code:



Here is what you have to do to decipher. First make a copy of this page, so you won’t ruin your issue of DP. The above code is a simple letter substitution or cryptogram. Write down the alphabet from A to Z on a piece of paper. Then, write the alphabet backwards underneath that so that A = Z, B = Y etc. The top letters will be the plain text. The letters below represent their values in the code. All spaces and punctuation have been removed to conceal the words. Write the substitutions atop each letter. Use slashes as needed to separate words. To get to the enter the final screen, one still has to collect all the objects and approach the castle door. This solution worked on Game 4 (easy level), and I believe it applies to all the other levels. I still haven’t found that elusive Crystal Crown that was mentioned in the instructions. If you find it, write me.

There is a minor glitch (pun intended) in Miner 2049er (Vol. I) for the 2600 which I call “quicksand”. After powering up, hit reset. The game will start, but don’t move. Hold down the fire button The miner jumps up and down . While still holding down fire, hit reset. Wait a couple of seconds for the extra miners to disappear. This time the remaining miner will fall through the ground and get stuck. Sometimes he will be buried halfway and at other times up to his neck. I don’t consider this “frying” as you are not flipping the power on and off. So this should be safe. Here is something else you can try. On screen III. Pick up all the charges, jump in the cannon and fire. You will have so much velocity that you will go off the screen. When you come back into view you will land splat on your head. OUCH! Neither of these tricks will gain you any points. But, they are interesting effects nonetheless.

Keep your eyes pealed when in the cereal aisle of your favorite supermarket. I have picked up free PC CD-Rom demos of Tiger Woods’ Golf (Wheaties) and Toy Story 2 (Post Cinnamon Toast). Demos are promotional items that allow you to play a few levels of a game to peak your interest. Once in a while Pizza Hut gives out PS-X demos. You can also get free demos by always sending in the registration cards for games and systems or by subscribing to video game magazines. I love getting free shit! So far the only complete game that I have seen free with cereal was Chexquest (Wheat/Rice/Corn Chex). Want the sequel? You must own the original. Write me. The sequel is no longer available at their website.

There is a German punk rock band calling themselves …Atari Teenage Riot.

Steve A. Baker’s website is (no ~ use %7E instead). Steve has written a bunch of video games in Java and you can play them there in real time.

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Last updated: Thursday, May 27, 2004 01:58 PM