#28 Venture

Posted: 24th June 2015 by Jeroen in Games
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435th played so far


Genre: Action
Platform: Arcade
Year of Release: 1981
Developer: Exidy
Publisher: Exidy

Time for a short diversion to another early game. Venture isn’t the first dungeon crawler we covered – EamonRogue and Adventure came before, as did arguably Zork and MUD. Venture, however, is the first arcade one on the list, and so will have a different focus.

Our Thoughts

The differences between these games are quite remarkable. Where most of these previous games give you some time to think and expect you to think about your steps, Venture doesn’t allow much time. Enemies walk around at a decent speed and if you stay in a room for too long, giant ghosts come in and chase after you. Enemies can be shot, but you need to be quick to line up and do so – avoidance can be just as vital making it through.

What was frustrating is that the difficulty felt pitched at a level that made this pretty difficult. Finishing the first room alone is difficult – no matter what direction you go in – and with a limited number of lives you get to start from scratch fairly frequently. We didn’t have to worry about money, but if this were in an arcade I would find it truely fascinating. It doesn’t help that the game just doesn’t feel like it pays off early enough anyway.

Forcing our way through, however, shows how much the game does. There are a number of different enemy types, each with not only different attack patterns (although mostly random and featuring a lot of avoidance) but also different ways to kill them – it all comes down to shooting them, but different numbers of attacks needed and such.

The game looks pretty primitive, but despite that initial appearance the graphics work well. They’re nearly instantly recognisable and paint the right picture. The goal is obvious and the enemies are clear what they do. It’s surprisingly effective.

Final Thoughts

Venture is a good attempt at putting the dungeon crawling in an action setting. The difficulty seems a bit too high for an arcade game like this – there were times where we wouldn’t have gotten anything done in a single play. When we got far enough in that got more interesting, but until then it can get pretty repetitive to try to get past the same set of skeletons each time.