Time Warp..Taking a look at the classic!



Looking Back...

Alan McNeil, an employee of Universal Research Laboratories..had a dream one night involving a black-and-white video game in which he had to fight robots. This dream, with heavy borrowing from the BASIC game Robots, was the basis for Berzerk, which was named for Fred Saberhagen's Berserker series of science fiction novels.


Playing The Game..

The player controls a green stick-figure, representing a "humanoid." Using a joystick (and a firing button to activate a laser-like weapon), the player navigates a simple maze filled with many robots, who fire lasers back at the player character. A player can be killed by being shot, by running into a robot or an exploding robot, coming into contact with the electrified walls of the maze itself, or by being touched by the player's nemesis, "Evil Otto."

The function of Evil Otto, represented by a bouncing smiley face, is to quicken the pace of the game. Otto is unusual, with regard to games of the period, in that there is no way to kill him. Otto can go through walls with impunity and is attracted to the player character. If robots remain in the maze Otto moves slowly, about half as fast as the humanoid, but he speeds up to match the humanoid's speed once all the robots are killed. Evil Otto moves exactly the same speed as the player going left and right but he can move faster than the player going up and down; thus, no matter how close Otto is, the player can escape as long as they can avoid moving straight up or down.

The player advances by escaping from the maze through an opening in the far wall. Each robot destroyed is worth 50 points. Ideally, all the robots in the current maze have been destroyed before the player escapes, thus gaining the player a per-maze bonus (ten points per robot). The game has 64,000 mazes, and each level is designed to be more difficult to finish than the last.