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Space Dungeon - Atari - Atari 5200     HTML Manual   




1. Legacy of a Distant Planet ------------ 1
2. Game Play ----------------------------- 2
3. Using the 5200 controller ------------- 5
4. Scoring ------------------------------- 6
5. Strategies and Helpful Hints ---------- 7


  • You're the commander of a space archaeological expedition to a planet that scientists believe was a world virtually parallel to our own. Now it's gone. All gone -- except for the widely scattered pieces of planetary rock that the archaeologists on board consider their "treasures." The information contained in those cosmic chunks could be vital for earth's survival.

  • Your mission is urgent. Collect the "treasures," process their valuable information with your on-board computer, and send that data back to earth. This crystal-powered computer (code named "Collect Bonus") can decipher the molecular structure of the rocks as easily as you can read a history book.

  • However, your task won't be that easy. There are powerful cosmic enemies who are quite determined that you never get back alive -- Deathsquares, Guards, Enforcers, Thieves, Executioners, Spore Cases, and those hard-to-kill Pikers. Psychic scientists speculate that these enemies are the negative forces that eventually annihilated the planet. Now they are poltergeists -- evil ghosts trapped in a "space dungeon" that both imprisons them in their own rage while storing the planet's secret treasures in multi-tiered antechambers.

  • Be careful! Here comes one of those multi-shielded, snowflake-shaped Pikers now. Quick! Shoot for the heart. Don't collide with it, or else -- poof! Just like that -- you're astral dust!

    2. GAME PLAY

  • As the Commander of the expedition, your goal is to score as many points as possible by collecting the treasures of the planet and by destroying the enemies who get in your way.

  • The space of the destroyed planet is divided into a series of antechambers, or connecting rooms -- the "space dungeon" -- through which you travel on your search for these treasures. Some rooms are filled with treasure, some with enemies, some with both, and some with nothing but space itself.

  • You guide your ship through the doorways of each room, looking for treasure and destroying enemies with your laser cannon. You pick up treasure by flying directly over it. As you do, a distinct sound will signal you that the treasure has been automatically scooped up into your Treasure Box.

      [Picture of the screen with pointers to:
      - Lives Remaining (below Depth Level, upper left),
      - Depth Level (Upper left),
      - Treasure Box (below Lives Remaining),
      - Doorway (around the edge of the "room"),
      - Map (Top center of the screen),
      - Piker (in room),
      - Doorway (around the edge of the "room"),
      - Signpost to Collect Bonus Room (right side of the screen),
      - Treasure (in room),
      - Executioner (in room),
      - Deadly Spore (in room),
      - Spaceship (looks just like your life meter - in room)
    Figure 1 -- An Opening Game Situation: The First Room]


  • Your accumulated treasure are deposited in the red treasure box until you cash in their point value by entering the three-dimensional cube of the "Collect Bonus" room.


  • Each level has only one "Collect Bonus" room. The most direct route to the "Collect Bonus" room is indicated by a signpost at the side of each room. When you enter the "Collect Bonus" cube (Figure 2), the point value of your treasure is counted and you pass through a dimensional space warp and plunge into the next (and more difficult) Depth Level.

    Figure 2: A picture of a room with the words "Collect Bonus" in a rectangle in the lower right part of the room.


  • Your progress throughout the rooms is displayed on the bird's-eye- view map at the top of your screen (Figure 3). This overhead map depicts:

    - Outlined square (Black outline, white middle) - Your ship's present location
    - Filled square (Green) - The location of the "Collect Bonus" room
    - White square with a black X through it - The room in which you lost your treasure during your last turn
    - Black square with a "funky" green X through it - The position of the
    - Thief -- a slippery character who burglarizes the treasures of Depth Levels 2 and beyond, before you can get to them.

  • All the rooms you have visited thus far, and whether they are:

    Filled Square (Red) - Rooms still containing live enemies when you exited, or Outlined Square (Red) - Rooms "cleared" of enemies.

    Figure 3 Shows all the items described above (you should see it!)

    Figure 3 -- The Map

  • For every 10,000 points you score, you earn a bonus ship. Completing a level and then entering the "Collect Bonus" cube awards you 10,000 points and a new ship. To complete a level, you need to visit every room; you don't have to collect all the possible treasures or destroy all the enemies.

  • You can never really eliminate all the enemies anyway. A room once cleared of enemies may surprise you when you pass through it a second or third time. These enemies can regenerate themselves spontaneously. Like evil ghosts elsewhere, they can pop into any room at any time -- even those that you had once "cleared!"


  • You must you two 5200 controllers simultaneously with SPACE DUNGEON -- one to guide your ship through space, and one to operate your laser cannon. Plug the controllers into jacks 1 and 2 on your console. The controller plugged into jack 1 controls all keypad button commands and starts the game.


  • Packaged with your Space Dungeon cartridge is a Controller Holder to make it easier for you to operate both joysticks simultaneously. See the enclosed supplement for details on it's usage.


  • Moments after you turn the power on, a selection menu will display your game options. With the controller plugged into jack 1, press button 1 on your keypad for a one-player game. Press Button 2 for a two-player game in which you take turns after one player loses a ship. Press button 3 for a computer demonstration game.


  • The joystick of controller 1 guides your spaceship through the antechambers of space. Move it in the direction you want to go. Your ship will travel at a constant speed, slightly faster than the quickest enemy.

  • The joystick of controller 2 operates your laser cannon. Point it in the direction you want to fire. The joystick will fire a continuous volley in any one of eight directions.


    - Press START to begin the game when the selection menu is displayed.
    - Press PAUSE to suspend a turn in progress or to freeze the action.
    - Press PAUSE a second time (or press any other key on the keypad) to continue game play. Press RESET to return to the selection menu to start a new game. If you hit RESET by accident, press button 4 on your keyboard to resume the game in progress.

    4. SCORING

  • Your score points for each enemy you destroy and for every piece of treasure you bring into the "Collect Bonus" cube. As you move from room-to-room to pick up treasure, each piece is temporarily stored in the red treasure box at the top of the screen. You do not cash in on their point value until you enter the "Collect Bonus" cube.

  • If you collide with an enemy, or if a bomb destroys your ship before you can reach the "Collect Bonus" cube, all your treasure will be transferred from the red treasure box to the room where your ship was destroyed. This room will be designated on the overhead map by a white square marked with an "X" (Figure 3)

  • [Picture of the white X square] This white square will remain visible only during your next turn. If you collect any treasure during your next turn, that white square will disappear and will be replaced by another white square to designate the new room where your ship was last lost. Your treasure will remain in the rooms in which it was deposited until you either cash it in for its point value and move on to another Depth Level, or until you start another game.

  • Each Depth Level has a maximum degree of difficulty. The longer you cruise your ship at any particular level, the closer you get to that level's maximum difficulty. The more valuable treasures can only be found on the more difficult Depth Levels. Likewise, more powerful enemies (like the Spore Cases who release three deadly spores simultaneously!) appear only at these more difficult Depth Levels.
    Iron Cross -     500
    Copper Piece -  1000
    Silver Star -   2000
    Golden Fleece - 4000
    Platinum Ark -  8000
    [Figure 5 -- the treasures]
    Piker (ship) -   100
    Piker (shield) -  10
    Corner Zapper -   25
    Deathsquare -     25
    Thief -           50
    Guard -          125
    Executioner -    125
    Enforcer -       250
    Spore Case -     500
    [Figure 6 - the Enemies]


  • You get a bonus ship and a musical salute for every 10,000 points you score. You earn a special bonus of 10,000 points for visiting all the rooms on any one level.


  • There are a variety of strategies you can use -- some active, some passive. You can aggressively scour through space, fighting off enemies as you store treasure in the Treasure Box. Or you can isolate yourself in one of the rooms and blast to smithereens, all those enemies who dare approach.

  • You can cash in the collected treasure without completing the entire level. Or you can try to visit all the rooms, collecting as much treasure as possible before you decide to cash in your treasure for points. Of course, you can use any combination of these strategies, as the circumstances of the moment dictate.


    -- In the beginning, try moving your ship around the rooms without shooting to get familiar with the maneuverability of the ship and its speed in relation to the enemies.

    -- Familiarize yourself with the eight different directions in which your ship can go and where your laser cannon can fire. This will help you from backing yourself in a corner or trying to shoot an enemy along an angle that will not touch it.

    -- When you exit a room, the doorway you pass through will "glow" for a few seconds. This indicates that the doorway has become temporarily impenetrable, preventing you from immediately passing back through it.

    -- You can seal off portions of the wall by exiting a room, then returning to that room through a different doorway, while the doorway you exited is still "glowing".

    -- You never know what you'll see in the next room, but you can be sure that if it moves, it won't be friendly. SPACE DUNGEON, therefore, is one game where the "Shoot first and ask question later!" tradition of the Old West will sever you well. It is best to have your laser cannon firing in front of you as you enter a room; it will help clear a path for your ship as you navigate through the rooms. Laser fire will not penetrate nearby rooms.

    -- Although the Corner Zappers always fire at random intervals, there is a detectable pattern in any one shooting session. Sense the rhythm of the Corner Zappers and watch that you don't cruise right into the middle of their line of fire. If one Corner Zapper is left alive when you exit a room, the other three will spontaneously regenerate themselves to greet you if you decide to return.

    -- You can't kill a Thief. When you shoot him, he will drop any treasure that he might be carrying. He will also leave behind Guards who will try to prevent you from picking up the treasure he dropped when you caught him red-handed.

    -- For an interesting variation in game play, try playing SPACE DUNGEON with one person guiding the spaceship while another is operating the laser cannon.


    Typed by Clint Dyer

    For Atari Gaming Headquarters

    Used with permission from Atari Gaming Headquarters