Night Stalker

INTELLIVISION CARTRIDGE [#5305]

Release #29 May 6, 1982

Working title: Attacker

Design & Program: Steve Montero

Graphics: Peter Allen

Sound: Russ Lieblich

Package Illustration: Jerrol Richardson


Instructions Posted Here

1982 CATALOG DESCRIPTION

You're on the run. Your attackers are relentless robots. Destroy one and it's replaced by an even smarter, faster robot. It's a nightmare. Your only defenses are avoidance and weapons found somewhere in the labyrinth. When one weapon empties, you avoid robots to find another. Duck around a corner or go into your safe house. But, be careful. There are also people-size spiders and their webs to slow your escape. Bats also wing their way at you. If either spiders or bats bite you, you're stunned; easier prey for the robot attackers.

  • One player game
  • Realistic antagonists
  • Challend in creases as game progresses


PRODUCTION HISTORY

Steve Montero is an expert on robotics, so it was natural for him to program Night Stalker. In development late in 1981, the game was a favorite with other programmers, who didn't need their arms twisted to spend hours testing it. Unfortunately, the first time Marketing brought in some 12-year-old kid to try it out, he got further than any of the programmers had. A new, tougher robot had to be added to the game, at the cost of losing one of the best features: the spider's web (the game was only 4K in size). Originally, as the spider crawled around the maze it left a web that would slow you down considerably as you ran through it. You could shoot the web away, but you'd use up bullets. Without the web, the spider became like the bats: just a nuisance.

After Night Stalker was finished, game cartridges began getting larger in size, so Steve proposed Ms. Night Stalker, a 12K sequel that would include the web and all the other features he had wanted, including multiple weapons (bazookas to blast through walls!), multiple scrolling mazes and smarter robots. Marketing shelved the idea and Steve was assigned to program Space Shuttle instead, which may have been a contributing factor toward Steve leaving Mattel and the game industry not long after.

Mattel Electronics released M Network versions of Night Stalker for the Atari 2600, the Apple II and the IBM PC. (The Atari 2600 version was called Dark Cavern.)  A version was also released for the Aquarius Home Computer System.

PLAYING TIPS: From Intellivision Game Club News, Issue 4, WInter 1983:

  • Carefully count how many bullets you have left. It's always wise to kill a robot with your last shot to give you time to get a new weapon.
  • In the beginning, shooting bats is a good way to rack up points. However, after 5,000 points, remember every bat that you hit turns into a Gray Robot.
  • Don't justconcentrate on robots at higher point levels. The bats and spiders can sneak up on you when you're not watching.
  • When being followed by the White Robot, don't be afraid to use the bunker. Peek your head out and fire a quick shot at him and then duck inside for cover.
  • The only sure way to kill the Black Robot is to fire at him from pointblank range. Try ducking around a corner or come out of the bunker and fire off a quick shot. You have to be very close to make a direct hit.


PLAYING TIPS: Night Stalker is a favorite of Blue Sky Ranger Steve Roney (Space Spartans, B-17 Bomber) He plays the game with a controller in each hand -- one to run, one to shoot -- since buttons and disk cannot be used simultaneously on one controller.

Steve adds: "Another trick tobagging the later robots has to do with there being only one moving object available for the robot bullets. If you wait just above the place where the robot appears and dangle your feet where the robot can see, the robot will shoot belowyour feet. You can then safely drop down and quickly get off all three shots to nail the robot before his bullet gets all the way across the bottom!!!!"

FUN FACT: Russ Lieblich was proud of his sound effects for Night Stalker, especially the constant heartbeat. Whenever he heard someone playing the game, he'd run into their cubicle, grab the volume control on the TV, and turn it up full.