Merlin's Walls - Atari 2600



Find a way out of the intricate maze before your countdown timer runs out! Use dynamite, get energy, and discover special walls in your attempts to escape from the 16 levels of Merlin's Walls!

Merlin had tolerated your disobedience before, but this time it appears he's tired of your games. It would seem that Merlin has teleported you into a strange maze with no roof, exposed to an empty, black sky! Now you must use your intelligence, something Merlin does not believe you possess, to escape this maze and redeem yourself in his eyes! Merlin has left you with a map of the first level--but can you find your way out of all 16 levels before the time expires?

This is the first game with a real-time 3D engine for the Atari 2600! You can view a video capture of the game in action here (Quicktime, 230K). Merlin's Walls displays its visuals rotated at 90 degrees, so you will need to adapt yourself or your rotate your television to fully enjoy the game! The screenshots below have been rotated to show the game in the proper orientation.

Merlin's Walls is Ebivision's third title, written by Igor Barzilai. This new release of Merlin's Walls features a professionaly printed label and manual, and all five Ebivision games sold through AtariAge feature a uniform label and manual design.

Author Igor Barzilai
Number of Players 1
Controller Joystick
Cartridge Size 4K
Label Design Ebivision & Tony "Xot" Morse
Manual Design Ebivision & Tony "Xot" Morse

SmittyB on 09/01/2020 06:11pm
Merlin's Walls is nothing short of ingenious and while 'just' a maze game its unique and neatly polished presentation elevates the experience.

The real trick is that by having the image rotated 90 degrees Igor has bypassed the 2600's weaknesses of horizontal resolution and colours per line in favour of its strengths of a high vertical resolution with the colour limitations now allowing for differently coloured walls and the vertical resolution allowing for much smoother turning. That this is all done on a standard 4K cartridge is the cherry on top.

Gameplay is as simple as finding your way from A to B before time runs out. In practice it's a little more difficult as your time is short and the mazes are twisty little passages, all alike. Though the title music is catchy, the star of the show is the short beat ticking away that emanates from the goal and white blocks in key spots for navigation. Even if you get lost you can still find your way by sound.

The rotated view might be a sticking point for some, but that shouldn't detract from what this game achieves and a cheap LCD on its side will do the job nicely.

Also worth mentioning is that though there's no PAL version the consistent use of colours mean the NTSC version is perfectly playable as though it were PAL-60.
Nathan Strum on 11/24/2006 06:09pm
Merlin's Walls is a 3-D, first-person maze game. The goal is to simply find your way out of a series of mazes. The problem is, in order to make 3-D work, the programmer rotated the game 90 degrees. To play it you either have to lay on your side (which is a literal pain-in-the-neck), or turn your TV on its side. This effectively reduces Merlin's Walls to little more than a technological curiosity, and not much of a game. But to be fair, I dug out my old portable TV, and flipped it on its side (I wasn't about to do this with my 27" set).

Once rotated, the game becomes playable, but with no indication of which way you're facing (some sort of compass is desperately needed) it's almost impossible to get oriented. Even with the included map of the first level, I struggled to find my way out. Through sheer luck, I managed to get through the first four mazes, but it was more guesswork than skill, and more frustrating than fun.

Merlin's Walls seems like a case of a game engine in search of an idea. A different concept where you didn't have to rotate the TV (or you) 90 degrees would have helped. Maybe flying up and down corridors (like in the Death Star II at the end of Return of the Jedi) could have been adapted for it. If you're looking for a first-person game on the 2600, you can do better. Save your money and get Skeleton+ or a used copy of Tunnel Runner instead.

Add Your Review

Your Name:
Email Address:
Note: HTML is not translated! Your email address will not be shared with anyone.
Your Rating: 5
Your Name:
Your Email:
Friends Name:
Friends Email: