Scott Miller had a "new idea" and created Adventure Fun-Pak and Puzzle Fun-Pak out of the best games that had been submitted to Apogee by aspiring authors. The four games in the Adventure Fun-Pak make an interesting study of some surprising and sometimes questionable programming techniques. There are two ASCII and two graphical games, each of which uses a different CGA mode, although the ASCII games will fall back to Mode 7 for MDA/Hercules cards.
Rogue Runner is an ASCII adventure with similarities to Kroz, in which the hero is searching for the Heart of Courage within the Ezam dungeons. The full maze is revealed before gameplay begins, but then most of the walls become invisible. Navigating from memory is frustratingly difficult and, all the while, the lost souls of previous adventurers make their way towards you, breaking through walls as they go. You can collect pick axes, which allow you to break through walls, and teleport scrolls which can be used to jump to a random location to escape approaching bad guys. Progress remains mostly impossible until you pick up the map, which reveals all of the walls again. The game asks if you have a Color or Monochrome monitor, and sets Mode 1 (40 column color mode) if you choose Color and, curiously, Mode 2 (80 column grayscale) if you choose Monochrome, but still creates a 40×25 maze, leaving half of the screen blank. Why Mode 2 instead of Mode 0 (40 column grayscale)? As previously mentioned, the game falls back to Mode 7 after failed attempts to set Mode 1/2 if you have an MDA or Hercules card. It seems that the author wrote a 40×25 color version and an 80×25 monochrome version of the game – not just grayscale but truly monochrome for the benefit of Mode 7 users – and it was easier to use the monochrome version in Mode 2 than to make the 40×25 version support both Mode 1 and 0 for the benefit of users who had a CGA graphics card and a monochrome monitor.
Night Bomber is the simplest possible artillery game. A city is placed a random distance from a cannon, and you must set an angle between 1 and 45 degrees to hit it. You only get one chance, though; the city moves after each shot. The fire bomb doesn't leave a trail, and the game is designed to run on a 4.77 MHz PC or PC/XT, so it's impossible to tell where your shot went without a slowdown utility, and it's difficult to see the single pixel representing the fire bomb on a small monitor even at the correct speed. Once the score is at least 1, some sort of flying saucer passes across the screen and fires at the ground, sometimes hitting the city, sometimes hitting your cannon, and sometimes hitting nothing. The game ends when 12 shots have been fired. Night Bomber uses Mode 6, a 640×200×2c graphics mode in which the foreground can be any of the 16 CGA colors, but the background can only be black on true CGA cards. Unlike any other Mode 6 game that I've ever played, the foreground color is not the default white, but light blue, briefly switching to light red when a city is hit. Then to really show off his programming skills, the foreground color rapidly change colors – so rapidly, in fact, that each row is a different color, defying the 2 color limit of Mode 6! Video recording confirms that all 16 colors are present from the very first frame that the effect begins, so the foreground color must change to a random color at least 200 times per screen refresh. It stands to reason that the programming technique behind this effect must produce random colors, otherwise it would be possible to produce the same color on each row every frame, allowing games to use a 640×200×16c graphics mode with the only limitation that there can only be one color per row. Things get stranger. The background color can't be changed from black on a true CGA card, but other graphics standards don't enforce this limitation. If an EGA/VGA graphics card is present, foreground color is light green and the background color is light blue, briefly changing to a green foreground and light red background when a city is hit. When the game ends, the background color changes to a random color from the 16 CGA colors every frame, while the foreground color is set to either green or light green, and does not change every frame. The game was obviously designed to take advantage of non-CGA graphics cards, so it seems possible that the multi-colored foreground may not have been a deliberate and seperate effect, but is perhaps how a CGA card behaves when an attempt is made to rapidly change the background color, which it cannot do.
Raiders of the Forbidden Mine is a Mode 4 adventure game that could probably have been sold as a standalone game with just a bit more variety in the levels. You play a miner who can tunnel under the ground. Each level has a key which must be taken to the elevator, and bonus points are awarded for collecting gold nuggets while doing it. The miner's air supply slowly runs out unless he collects air tanks. Also, the ghost of a dead miner heads directly towards the miner in eight directions, but the miner can move faster than the ghost. Unlike the miner, the ghost can pass through solid walls within the levels. As the levels progress, the ghost gets faster and the levels contain more and larger walls, make it increasingly difficult to evade the ghost. The ghost must be led away from where the miner wants to go, but eventually there are so few passages through the walls that there may be no way to get past the ghost before he catches you. There appears to be no final level; the game just gets harder until you lose. There are three difficulty levels.
The Thing is a slight variation on Hunt the Wumpus. As in the original, the player searches a maze for gold, armed with a bow and three arrows with which to kill the sleeping Wumpus. The player still feels a draft if there is a bottomless pit in an adjacent cave. There are still giant bats which will carry the player to a random location, but the player isn't always warned when there is a bat in an adjacent cave. When there is warning, the player smells a strange odor, which indicated that the Wumpus was in an adjacent room in the original Wumpus game. The Wumpus is nearby when you hear snoring. The maze in Hunt the Wumpus was arranged like vertices of a dodecahedron (or the faces of an icosahedron), such that every room was connected to exactly three other rooms. In The Thing, each room is connected to between one and four other rooms, and instead of moving left, right or forward, the player moves in one of the four compass directions. Besides the different options in each room, a map can be created by firing an arrow into an adjacent room, so that the room will be identifiable by the presence of an arrow when you get back to it. The distances between rooms are not equal, so that you can travel in a circle going east, south, west and north, and not be back in the room you started in, which makes it harder to make a map and will reduce the impatient to random exploration. There are two uniques items in The Thing: a long wooden plank that saves you if you enter a cave with a bottomless pit, and a clove of garlic which doesn't seem to do anything. When you successfully shoot the Wumpus, you move to the next lower level of caves to collect more gold; the game appears to go on forever. Mode 3 is used whether the player specifies Color or Monochrome (Mode 2 should be used for Monochrome if you have CGA), but the colors are changed to be more readable in grayscale in the Monochrome version. The game falls back to Mode 7 for MDA/Hercules users.
Added by DOSGuy
Complete version history:
|Adventure Fun-Pak v1.0 Freeware Episodes (305,022 bytes)||xxxx||DOS||Play online|
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Apogee generously released Adventure Fun-Pak and Puzzle Fun-Pak as freeware under the Adventure & Puzzle Fun Packs Freeware License in May 2004. They are both in the same zip file.