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Video Game / Treasure of Tarmin

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Khaki and chambray, though?

Advanced Dungeons & Dragons: Treasure of Tarmin, also known as Minotaur, and ADVANCED DUNGEONS & DRAGONS CARTRIDGE, is a 1982 Intellivision game published by Mattel Electronics. Though not among the console's better-known titles. Treasure of Tarmin was essentially the first console Role-Playing Game that is recognizable to modern gamers. Utilizing advanced (for the time) Faux First Person 3D gameplay with randomized dungeons, tons of weapons, items and monsters, it was a technical marvel at the time, and features gameplay which is every bit as complex as some modern Role Playing Games.

You have made your way into the lair of the Minotaur, in search of the mythical Treasure of Tarmin. This enormous labyrinth is crawling with all kinds of deadly monsters, traps and secret doors. There are also plenty of weapons, items and magical artifacts to help you overcome these challenges. As you go further down, the quality of weapons increases, newer and tougher beasts wait in ambush, and every single level will throw something at you that you've not yet seen. Though the goal is to vanquish the Minotaur and collect the titular Treasure, you may keep going as long as you have the patience. Depending on the difficulty level you choose, there may be quite a lot more to see after the Minotaur falls!

Advanced Dungeons & Dragons: Treasure of Tarmin provides examples of:

  • All There in the Manual: Having access to the manual is very helpful in figuring out how the game works. There are many functions that are not entirely intuitive.
  • Ascetic Aesthetic: The Game. The advanced features and gameplay mean that there's very little room for anything else. The walls are just a repeating pattern of green and dark green. Nothing moves around the map other than the player. Other than doors, and the smoke from defeated monsters, there is no animation of any kind. Except for clicks indicating controller input, the growl of monsters and the sound effects of weapons being used, there is no sound, either.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: The purple Spell Book and platinum Crossbow are the two most powerful weapons in the game, but they are extremely fragile, so don't count on keeping either for very long.
  • Boss in Mook Clothing: The large Wraiths, especially the ones with shields, are often more powerful than the Minotaur.
  • Breakable Weapons: Most weapons in the game (axes, fireballs, etc.) can only be used once. Bows and crossbows can be used as long as you have arrows, and magical books and scrolls can be used as long as you possess them. However, all of these multi-use weapons have a chance of breaking every time they are used. The more powerful the weapon, the more fragile it is.
  • Big Creepy-Crawlies: Among the monsters you encounter are giant ants and scorpions, which attack you with fireballs and lightning bolts.
  • Cap: War health and Spiritual are separate and capped. However, you can find books in treasure packs which raise these caps, up to 199 and 99, respectively.
  • Colour-Coded for Your Convenience: Just about everything in the game uses colors to differentiate.
    • The Eyeball Murals in the outer hall describe the nature of the monsters and weapons found on the level. Blue murals indicate Spiritual-themed levels, with lots of magic-using monsters and spell items. Dark green indicate War-themed levels, with monsters using physical weapons and lots of axes, spears and armor. Tan murals are mixed, and contain a little bit of both.
    • War equipment has six tiers, from tan to platinum. Spiritual equipment goes from light blue to dark purple and also has six tiers.
    • Each sort of monster (other than the Minotaur) come in three colors indicating their strength. There are various color schemes for different monsters, even within a certain alignment, but they are similar to the equipment color schemes.
    • Treasures come in three colors, tan, orange and blue. There are six types of treasures, some of which require keys (of a like or better color). Higher-level treasures tend to have better treasures (and more powerful trap bombs).
  • Continuing is Painful: Being defeated does not always kill you. Sometimes, you will be "reincarnated" back to the start of the level you are on. However, you will lose anything that isn't held in your two hands, as well as some of your maximum War and Spiritual health. If you have really valuable items in your possession (such as the Special Books), you can drop them on the floor before approaching an enemy that is liable to do this to you. They'll still be there for you to retrieve, if you survive.
  • Cut and Paste Environments: To generate the 'random' levels, the game has 16 different configurations of walls and doors, each of which may be mirrored, and each level has four quadrants, in which is one of these configurations. Not counting arrangements of monsters and items (which are also essentially random), there are 1,048,576 possible levels you can encounter. Not bad for a 16KB game!
  • Degraded Boss: If you choose to pass up your first opportunity to collect the Treasure and end the game, you will start to encounter the Minotaur more and more frequently as you descend further into the labyrinth. Eventually, these encounters are so common that you'll likely see multiple copies of the final boss standing next to each other.
  • Difficulty Levels: Like many Intellivision games, there are four difficulty levels. This largely affects your starting health values, monster health, and the damage you take from being attacked. It also determines the minimum levels you have to go into the maze to encounter the Minotaur for the first time.
  • Dungeon Crawling: This is literally all the game is.
  • Every Man Has His Price: Or rather, Every Monster Has His Price. If you start a fight that you're not going to win (or just want to preserve your weapons), you can "attack" them with a treasure container to bribe them into letting you move away.
  • Faux First Person 3D: One of the first games to do this, plus in full colour (For the time, anyway).
  • Glass Cannon: If you don't sufficiently build up your health before reaching deeper levels of the maze, you can easily become one of these.
  • Healing Potion: Randomly found inside of treasure packs. Unlike healing with food, these can be used in the middle of a fight.
  • Infinity +1 Sword: The platinum Crossbow and purple Spell Book are vastly more powerful than other weapons of their type, and can kill most monsters in a single hit.
  • In Name Only: For all this game's qualities, its gameplay bears no resemblance to Dungeons & Dragons. You don't even have a character class, much less a party of other [PCs to help with your adventure.
  • Invisibility: The small purple potion will make you "invisible to monsters", though this effect manifests in the opposite way: monsters vanish, temporarily, and you won't encounter any until its effect wears off.
  • Jump Scare: If a monster is directly beside you, you won't be able to see it and it may ambush you if you don't move fast enough. Since there is almost no sound in this game, the noisy growl of the monster is very startling if your volume is turned up.
  • Level Scaling: Much of what you encounter is based on the level of the dungeon. Deeper levels will have stronger, tougher enemies, better weapons and armor, and more valuable treasure. And, trap bombs are more likely to ruin your game.
  • Magic Knight: You have a roughly equal number of spells and melee weapons available for use. Some of the more advanced monsters can use both types, as well.
  • The Maze: Each level is a maze of its own. There is a map, but it does not show the layout of the maze itself.
  • Money for Nothing: Much of the treasure in the game is just for points and serves no purpose otherwise.
  • Nintendo Hard: The hardest difficult level dramatically nerfs your capabilities, against monsters with enhanced stats all across the board. Even the weakest monsters can kill you in just a few rounds, if you're not prepared.
  • Our Minotaurs Are Different: The final boss is a Minotaur.
  • Playable Epilogue: When you defeat the Minotaur, it drops the Treasure of Tarmin, and the game ends when you pick it up. You can choose not to do this, and continue down through more levels (and encounter more Minotaurs!). You can do this as early as level 2 (on the easiest mode) or level 12 (on the hardest). There are 256 levels in the game. Literally 90-99% of the game can theoretically be a Playable Epilogue!
  • Power Equals Rarity: Averted. Once you get far enough in the dungeon, high-level weapons and armor are all over the place.
  • Randomly Generated Levels: Between the arrangement of quadrants and the placement of items, weapons, treasure and enemies, it is just about mathematically impossible to ever see the exact same level more than once, ever.
  • Randomly Generated Loot: Every item in the game, technically. Treasure packs also deliver a random type of reward, though its value is based in part on the type of pack and its color.
  • Rare Candy: The large blue and pink potions permanently raise your War or Spiritual health by 10. Large purple potions re-arrange these scores.
  • Roguelike: It may have little on Nethack, but the randomized levels and monsters make this an intriguingly early example of the roguelike genre.
  • Squishy Wizard: If you focus too much on Spiritual weapons, stronger War monsters will make short work of you. Works in reverse, as well.
  • Spell Book: Quite a few. Most allow you to cast offensive attacks multiple times. There are also the Special Books, which allow you to see through walls, walk through walls, and upgrade any treasure, armor or War weapon to platinum, and can be used infinitely.
  • Superboss: The Magic Doors are extremely powerful enemies which give unique (and powerful) rewards if you manage to beat them. They are also much harder to locate than regular enemies.
  • Tempting Fate: Some treasure packs contain bombs, which cause massive amounts of damage to your War health. Though they can't actually kill you, if your War health is low enough, you'll lose all of the items in your pack, and both of your health scores will be permanently reduced. Depending on your situation, this can range from a serious setback to a virtual death sentence.
  • Trap Door: The Magic Doors are powerful superbosses guarding the Special Books, which give you game-breaking powers. These doors, especially the golden one, are just about the strongest enemies you'll face in the game. They don't attack you unless you attack first, though.
  • Wizard Needs Food Badly: Other than the rare health potions you may find, sacks of food are your only means of recovering health.
  • With This Herring: You start with only a basic bow, a small supply of arrows and food.