Atari 2600 – Night Stalker


Quasimodo the robot killer is at it again!

Also known as Dark Cavern in Europe, this top-down shooter was developed by Mattel and seems to be inspired by Berzerk, one of my favorite games for the system.

You are stuck in a single-screen maze and have to defend yourself against bats, spiders, and bloodthirsty robots.
You start out in a cage on top of the screen.
It’s kinda like a safe space because nothing, except some really strong robots, can hurt you here.
You’re equipped with a gun and 30 bullets.
Ammo will appear randomly throughout the game but only for a short amount of time.
Animals will only stun you but robots will shoot on sight. There are five different kinds with special abilities like shields or even cloaking devices.
The tougher ones appear later in the game so I never even saw them (who manages to score 80k points here?).
Die four times and the game is over.
That’s it!

And I really mean it this time.
No gameplay variations or multiplayer modes.
It’s this one screen over and over again.
So unless your some masochist who wants to see every robot, you won’t be playing Night Stalker for a long time.
Kinda sucks, because the rest of the game is rather intriguing.
Ther controls take some time to get used to. Once you’ve pushed a direction, your characters run for it and can only be stopped a wall or by pressing in another direction.
It’s finicky, especially if you need to take a precise shot, but it also adds some urgency which fits well into the overall atmosphere.
And the atmosphere is really depressing, unlike any game I’ve played for the system so far.
The dark colors, the abundance of music, the harsh difficulty and the constant, deep drone sounds….ugh, it made me so anxious and I love it.
It’s not a great game but worth experiencing at least once.
Try it!





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