Classic Computer Magazine Archive COMPUTE! ISSUE 40 / SEPTEMBER 1983 / PAGE 184

Crisis Mountain For Apple And Atari
Patrick Parrish, Editorial Programmer

Crisis Mountain, programmed in machine language by Ron Aldrich and David Schroeder, is an excellent, exciting game, requiring an Apple II or Apple II Plus with 48K RAM (also available for the Atari 400/800 with 48K) and a disk drive. This one-player contest from Synergistic Software can be played with either a joystick or the game paddles.
    The scenario of the game is that a group of terrorists was hiding out in the caverns of a dormant volcano in the Pacific Northwest. The volcano erupted unexpectedly, forcing the terrorists to abandon their hideout. As they fled, they left behind their loot and supplies - and several nuclear bombs. To save the West Coast from impending disaster, you must venture into Crisis Mountain, dig up and defuse the bombs while avoiding numerous hazards.

Nine Skill Levels
Crisis Mountain alternates between two cavern scenes as you progress through nine skill levels. In the beginning of the game, you are given three lives. And if you're skillful enough you can earn a life at 10,000, 30,000, and 50,000 points. On each level you are presented with a labyrinth of passageways, precipices, and fiery lava pits which sporadically spew rocks and debris.
    Scattered about the cavern, in addition to innocuous objects left by the terrorists, are active bombs positioned randomly in one of five locations. Each displays a time, also randomly chosen, before detonation. As you advance from one skill level to another, you are challenged with more bombs and less time to defuse them. Thus, picking the appropriate route through the maze of passageways becomes more and more critical.

Scoring Points
Points are awarded for the completion of several tasks. Nominal scores are given for gathering the loot, gun caches, and boxes left by the terrorists. Once you've collected all items, certain bonus forms appear in random positions about the cave.
    Another way to score points is to leap boulders. The larger the boulder, the more points you receive. Being struck by a boulder, on the other hand, diminishes your strength. The strength level is indicated with a number from one (weakest) to three (strongest). When you are weakened, your point scoring abilities are significantly impaired. In fact, at strength level one, scoring becomes secondary to mere survival since you can rarely manage to leap boulders in this weakened condition. Fortunately, there are several safe nooks around the cavern where you can recover.

screen shot
Your running figure (center) leaps a
tumbling boulder in Crisis Mountain.

Treacherous Caverns
There are other ways you can be destroyed in the game. You can fall or be knocked into a lava pit by a boulder, a bomb can detonate, or you can be bitten by the deadly bat, Bertrum.
    It is obvious that tremendous effort went into designing this game's high-resolution graphics. Each form is drawn in intricate detail. The frothing lava pits and tumbling boulders are remarkably realistic.

The Deadly Bat
But the most remarkable graphic element of the game (and the most confounding to any player) is Bertrum, the bat. Bertrum flits about the cavern in a way that resembles a real bat. If a boulder is blasted from a nearby lava pit, Bertrum will dart toward it for a quick inspection, determine the rock is not prey, and fly off to another part of the cave.
    But Bertrum is more than just a visual success. His presence adds a degree of chance to the game which makes it faster and more challenging. This dreaded bat has a knack for determining where your player is at any moment in the game. Sometimes, you can avoid Bertrum with a last minute duck or leap. At other times, escape is simply impossible. I've yet to discover a foolproof way to evade this creature, though there may be a tactic.
    There are several other excellent features of this game. For one, the ESC key allows you to halt or resume a game at any time during play. With Crisis Mountain, a game can sometimes last an hour or more. A break during such a prolonged period of play, beyond being a convenience, is often essential for maintaining your concentration. (No "save game" option is offered.)
    Although the sound effects are very good, you may want to turn them off occasionally. If so, you can cancel output to the Apple speaker with CTRL-S. On the other hand, if you want an engulfing, environmental audio effect, output can be sent to external speakers via the cassette port. You can also store on disk, and subsequently display, the high score to date.
    Overall, Crisis Mountain is a superior programining achievement and a thoroughly entertaining game.

Crisis Mountain
Synergistic SOftware
830 N. Riverside Drive
Suite 201, Ronton, WA 98055