Friday, May 15, 2015

Ultimate Guide to Tutankham for the Atari 2600

NOTE:  I am attempting to port over all of my old "Ultimate Strategy Guides" from the old site (circa 2002).  The site is archived somewhere deep in the annals of the internet and that is my only resource for retrieval.   I apologize that for right now these will be text only, but I hope to migrate them all over at some point and revitalize them for everyone's enjoyment!  Thanks   

Ultimate Guide to Tutankham 
by yer ol’ pal Stan
This game gets a lot of flack from arcade purists because the poor old VCS cannot handle a true arcade port; however Parker Bros. Tutankham is an excellent game if you don’t care about its arcade origins. The premise is fun, the action is faced paced, and there is enough of the arcade carried over here that the spirit of the game is not totally lost in the translation (on top of all of that, the manual is very well written and gives you lots of neat Egyptian stuff to read about) You don’t have to like it as an arcade port, but if you approach it as a game on its own merits, Tutankham can be a very enjoyable run-and-shooter.
But enough! You did not come here to have me defend the game; you are looking for tips and tricks, so let’s get to it! Tutankham is based on a very cool idea: you are a tomb raider (before such a thing was cool) exploring the secret chambers of King Tut’s tomb (all 4 of them). As you race through the ancient tunnels you are ambushed on all sides by creatures trapped in the catacombs for thousands of years, and man are they hungry (ahem). All you have in your defense is a gun and a handful of flares! So let’s talk basics.
1. Do not get killed.
2. Find the Key that will unlock the door to the next set of catacombs.
3. Find the locked door and proceed to the next level.
4. Along the way, claim as many ancient treasures as you can!
Sounds simple, right? Well its not! Creatures pop out of nests at the worst times, usually just as you grab that sacred ruby or some such. Your supply of bullets gets used up quickly as you fend of the monsters on your way to the exit. The labyrinth is a true maze and if you are not looking you can get trapped. Each catacomb is a maze full of secret passages and carefully guarded relics. So to help you out, yer ol’ pal Stan is going to give you a guided tour of each Burial Chamber so you don’t get lost and you can rack up the big scores! So put on your hat with the little flashlight thingy on top, because we are going in search of the lost tomb of King Tutankham (and maybe we’ll find out why they misspelled his name: see also Tutankhamen?)
(SPOILER WARNING: This is a COMPLETE walkthrough of this game. If you don’t want something ruined, please read ONLY the GENERAL TIPS section at the end.)
(COOLNESS ALERT! If you would like to view the ENTIRE map of each Burial Chamber at once, please visit (PLEASE NOTE:  This link is from 2002 and is, sadly, dead.  Ben had an amazing map) Pitfall Harry’s Map Room here: Ben Valdes has worked incredibly hard to create these beautiful maps for Tutankham and they are definitely worth a look. I could not have compiled this guide without the help of these maps! Enjoy!)

(Please consult the manual for creature and treasure images, I will be referring to them by the names given there)

You start out right in the thick of the action. Directly beneath you are a creature nest and the all too important key. This is as basic as you get, blast the critters, nab the key and get out of there! Your only escape is the not-so secret passage below the starting point.

The next two treasures will require a little more skill. You can run right over and grab the Silver Crown, but a creature will sprout from the nest below! Quickly run back to the left and the creature will pursue in the tunnel below. Suddenly reverse direction, drop into the tunnel with the creature (usually a Scorpion) and blast it! Then drop down and pick up the Royal Ring. As you come back up, another creature will generate (usually a Royal Cobra), blast it and proceed to your right.

Now you will build on the strategy you just used to nab the Ruby. The Ruby is dead opposite you in the tunnel, but two creature nests below will make getting any further very frustrating! Run left as fast as you can, a creature will pop out of the nest on the left (often the Giant Bat). If you move fast enough, the creature will follow you left in the tunnel below and become “stuck” in the nest. Grab the Ruby and head down the central passage. Blast any chasing creatures and get below as quickly as possible.
The giant bat is stuck in the nest and will not pursue when you drop into the tunnel
Things get a little trickier! You can see the Gold Chalice just ahead, no sweat! Problem is, it’s a trap! As soon as you grab the Chalice a monster will spring from an unseen nest below. There is no way to get into the large room and shoot the beast in time, so do this instead. Stand in front of the room’s doorway as the creature approaches. When it gets close, lure the creature into the tunnel with you by running right. Blast it! Now try to enter the room. If a new creature spawns, repeat the above “lure” trick. Keep doing this until you can safely enter the room (there is a 2 or 3 second gap in creature generation after every five or six releases). Enter the room and bear left as fast as you can. This will put you in the alcove with the Gold Crown. (A creature may be chasing you as you enter the alcove, blast it before you get the Gold Crown). Now pop out of the alcove, and blast your way across the room to freedom (well kinda’).

You are almost out! All that lies between you and the exit is a secret passage and a creature nest. Zip through the passage, a monster will spawn, blast it and make for the door! Open it, take the Map, and proceed to Burial Chamber 2!!!

All of the skills you just picked up will be used in the second catacomb, only things will get much harder quickly!

When you start out all looks peaceful, but there is a creature nest dead ahead that will give you headaches! As you move left, a creature will spawn from the nest below left (they generally spawn in this order: Turtle, Jackals, and finally Blue Condor, usually after several Jackals). DO NOT ENTER THE TUNNEL WITH IT!!! Instead lure it up into the upper tunnel with you by moving back right. Blast the creature. If another spawns use the lure trick again. Finally, when that “generation gap” occurs make your way into the lower tunnel, but be quick, you need to grab that Gold Crown from the lower alcove as you run. If any creatures spawn while you are in the lower tunnel, blast them of course. (Don’t worry about the nest on the right, it will be inactive for at least the first 3 rounds). After grabbing the Gold Crown, run right and grab the Ring from the upper alcove.

Do not rush down into the next set of passages, wait until a new creature spawns from the nest at the start of the game, (don’t wait to see the creature, hearing the “slurping” sound is enough), then run down through the zigzag passage QUICKLY! If done correctly you will miss the first creature that will spawn from the new nest below. (Do not worry about the nest on the left it will be inactive for several rounds) You may need to blast a creature before you continue down the zigzag passage.
Ok, so the screenshot made my guy disappear, but stand right above the downward path and wait for the enemy to spawn, then dash down

It’s the KEY! Carefully tucked away in an alcove right above a nest! A tight spot indeed! Drop into the tunnel with the nest and start shooting. Hit the creature as it leaves the nest, grab the key and then get out (blasting behind you as you run). This is a true hit and run situation, timing is of the utmost importance. Drop into the lower alcove and access the secret passage. Take a breath.

Directly below you is a very large room. Along the left wall lies the Emerald. Bottom-center of the room sports a nest and a very narrow exit. A tricky spot, but you can use a trick of your own to reduce the danger: Get in, get out! Wait in the alcove at the top of the room. Drop down ever so slightly and allow a creature to spawn. DO NOT go any deeper into the room than the first step once the creature appears! The creature will come straight up at you. As it comes, run to the niche in the left or right wall (If you run left, the creature will follow you up along the wall, if you run right the creature will continue straight up and then come at you). When the creature is on your level, blast it and make for the emerald. If a new creature spawns, repeat the above niche trick, if not grab the Emerald and make for the exit below. (If a creature is generated after you grab the Emerald its best to repeat the niche trick again to access the exit). Creatures will still generate after you leave the room, but few can manage the narrow gap to get at you, mostly they will get stuck. (The Turtle is the exception; he will pursue you into the catacombs below!)

Believe it or not, you can grab the Goblet without shooting anything or having to look over your shoulder! But you are about to begin the mad dash to the exit! In the tunnel below, a creature will spawn from the nest in the center and start to hunt you. VERY CAREFULLY, lure the creature into the tunnel you are in and blast it! (Don’t let it get “stuck” in one of the holes in the top of the tunnel or you’ll have to drop into the tunnel to blast it, not a good idea) Drop into the tunnel, grab the Bust and start blasting as creatures pop out of the central nest again! Head right and drop into the tunnel below!

Four Nests and a Vase are all that’s left! A creature will spawn from the right nest in the tunnel below (the left nest is inactive) and start hunting you. If you are fast you can run left and drop into the tunnel with it and blast it. If not, you will have to lure it up into the uppermost tunnel and then make your way down. Once you are in the middle tunnel keep blasting any creatures that may spawn. When you reach the right side, DO NOT drop into the lowest tunnel! Wait for a new creature to spawn from the nest right next to you (Again, don’t wait until you see the creature, just listen for the “slurp”), as soon as it generates, drop into the lowest tunnel and run left as FAST as possible. When done correctly, you will NOT encounter a creature in the lowest tunnel.

Open the locked door, take the Vase and proceed to Burial Chamber 3!!!

Now things get hard! Chamber 3 is a much tougher ride and you will have to combine all of your skills and wits to survive and grab ALL of the treasures! Here we go!

You will start in a passage on the left. Both the Trident and the Ring are available for pick-up and are well guarded by a hyper active nest, but if you start out with a plan, getting both can be very easy. Try this: Drop into the tunnel with the nest and shoot the Snake. Run left and grab the Ring from the lower room. Pop up and blast the Lion. Run right. Turn and shoot the emerging Moth. Run up and grab the Trident. A new creature will spawn and wander. Sit in the Trident tunnel until it wanders away, then drop into the tunnel and blast it! You may run left or right, but get down to the lowest hallway. Creatures rarely chase you any further. (Creatures spawn the way I listed above 95% of the time)

There is only one passage to the tunnel below in the center of the hall. A creature will spawn from the right nest below (the left is inactive for now). If the creature is a MOTH, lure it up into the tunnel with you and blast it, then try again. If the creature is NOT a Moth, run to your left and the creature will follow you in the tunnel below. Quickly reverse direction, drop into the tunnel and blast it. Be ready to blast any other creatures that may spawn as well. Run right and access the secret passage.
Here the lion is tracking you, but he is too slow to catch you if you reverse direction and drop down and shoot

You can pick up the Herb no problem. The next section is made of two parallel tunnels. The top tunnel holds the Diamond in an upper alcove. The bottom holds two ACTIVE nests (that usually spawn Moths and Lions). You can use the two passages between the tunnels to your advantage. Drop into the upper tunnel. When a creature spawns, lure it up and blast it. Make your way to the Diamond and then work your way down into the lower tunnel. Drop through the exit in the center. CAUTION: A creature may follow you, keep your eyes open.

The next room is very odd. The entire right side, the larger chamber, is completely empty (there are a few inactive nests on the right wall). The narrow left side holds the Key and the game’s first invisible nest in the upper middle. The best way to get from the right side to the left is a small crevice in the center of the broken dividing wall. A moth will spawn (95% of the time, the other 5% usually sees a Lion). DO NOT enter the left side with the Moth, draw it into the right side with you, and then blast it. (More ideally, shoot the creature just as it enters the crevice in the wall, while running at it!) After killing the Moth run into the left side and up into the alcove with the Key. Head straight down very, very quickly. If done fast enough, you will dodge the monster spawning on your heels. If not you may have to waste a flare or run back into the right side of the room. The new monster may follow you through the passage below, keep your eyes open and shoot behind you as you move.
Moths tend to spawn one right after the other, but there is often a gap between other creatures.  Kill all of the moths and when something new spawns, kill it and make your move on the key.

The final section is very unusual and features one of the best “cheats” in the game! The upper tunnel features a series of long dead ends and terminates in a final down passage on the far right. This is where the cheat comes in. Straight down that passage is an active nest (note: both nests in that tunnel are active!) that will spawn the moment it is visible. DO NOT waste a flare! Instead, sneak down the passage until you hear the “slurp” of a creature being spawned. IMMEDIATELY reverse direction and head back up the passage. The creature will not appear if done correctly. Reverse direction again and head back down the passage. If you do not hear a “slurp,” all is clear and you may descend into the lower tunnels. If you do hear a “slurp,” repeat the “cheat” again. Once in the lower tunnels, keep your ears open. Creatures can spawn from either nest and come at you. 

Make your way over to the Candelabra and then down to the locked door. Grab the Cat Statue and get ready for the toughest Chamber yet!!!

This is the toughest chamber by far. You will have to use all of your old tricks plus learn some new ones if you plan to reach Tut’s tomb! And we start off with a bang!

Be ready for action the minute you start the Chamber. Immediately make your way to the secret passage in the center of the maze and zip to the other side. Quickly hide in the annex below the secret passage. A Virus will usually spawn first and slowly follow you into the annex. Blast it and run up so that you stand directly left of the nest. A Monkey will usually spawn, SHOOT IT! Then run past the nest, snag the Key from the alcove and be ready to shoot another Monkey. Make a break for the secret passage again and zip back across (because a Mystery Weapon can pop out of the nest and kill you).
Get here immediately and then wait to kill the virus when it comes down, then haul ass for that key
The large room below hides an invisible nest in the upper right corner. This nest LOVES to spawn those Mystery Weapons. Be ready at all times. You will need to blast the creatures that spawn, grab the Neck Ring and make a break for the central exit (the nest lies directly above the Neck Ring). Rarely will they be able to squeeze through the crevice to pursue you. 

The next series of tunnels can be tough. Drop into the tunnel with the two nests. The left nest is inactive, but the right nest and the nest in the right passage below it are both active! Something will spawn from the right nest and come for you, blast it! Run right and up into the annex above. Grab the Amulet, and get back down, quickly. A new creature will spawn, blast it and head down the right passage. (If you are not fast enough, a creature can spawn from the lower passage nest and you will have to lure it out or waste a flare.)

Zip through the secret passage, and a creature will spawn from the nest above the passage. This is the ONLY time in the game you should use a FLARE. (This is the only way I know of to get the Fan) Use a FLARE, snag the fan from the hallway, and run down the passage. A creature may pursue if you are too slow. Lure it down into the tunnel below and blast it.
If you don't use a flare, your timing will have to be perfect to get the fan
The next treasure will take some skill to get. The nest in the center of the maze will spawn mostly Monkeys and Weapons and often two at a time. When a creature spawns, run just right-of center in the tunnel above. The creature will follow in the jagged hallway below and get “stuck.” Get the Crystal while you are at it. If a second spawns you can “trap” it the same way (occasionally it will “stick” in the nest itself). Once you have trapped the creatures, return left and make your way down to the Zircon. This next bit is VERY tough. Carefully lure the “trapped” creatures into the small hallway with you and blast them. No new creatures will spawn until both are destroyed (95% of the time). When both are destroyed, drop down the right passage and into the final room.
If you stand here, the enemy will get stuck where that monkey is and you can pursue from the right without (much) fear.
There are only two nests in this giant room, both are active and both are in the worst possible place. The only treasure is the Dagger, but it’s worth the trip! The left nest is the most active but the right nest can surprise you at the worst times, so don’t dally around it! Here’s how I get the Dagger and get out safely: Follow the right most passage past the right nest. Go all the way down and out of the main room. Travel past the locked door at the bottom of the Chamber and start back up the left passage (if you unlock the door, the Chamber will be completed and you will not get the Dagger). QUICKLY, move toward the Dagger. Grab it and immediately reverse direction. A creature will spawn from the nest above (99% of the time it’s a Mystery Weapon). As fast as possible, return down the left passage. The creature will usually get stuck along the way and be unable to follow.

Now you are free to unlock the final door and claim Tutankham’s Mask for yourself! But don’t rest on your laurels, you are about to embark on the quest again, only this time its MUCH more difficult.

Here are some things to help you along the way.
TIP: You don’t have to see a creature to shoot it. Once you hear the “slurping” sound that precedes creature generation, SHOOT! You won’t see the creature, but you will see the “explosion” from its destruction. This can save you a lot of time in tight situations and get you a few extra points once you learn the generation routines.
TIP: Creatures generate in sequence. Usually one or two will spawn, followed by a 2 or 3 second gap. Then more will generate. Occasionally the number will increase to 4, 5 or 6 between the “generation gap.” You can use this time to slip by dangerous nests. As the game difficulty ramps the number released will increase.
TIP: Some nests are inactive early in the game, but become active more regularly as the difficulty ramps. Keep your eyes and ears open at all times each round. Be ready for unpleasant surprises!
TIP: Nests usually cannot spawn if they are off screen. You can use this to your advantage to keep troublesome nests quiet. There are exceptions, though, so use with caution.
TIP: If a creature leaves the screen, it is usually gone. If you run fast enough up and down you can run creatures off the screen and not have to worry about them. Of course, this could also get you in bigger trouble. Know your catacombs well before running around all willy-nilly.
TIP: You will get an extra FLARE each time you complete Burial Chamber 4. Budget your FLARE usage carefully. To avoid wasting FLARES during movement, remember that you CANNOT shoot up or down; therefore there is no reason to press the red button if you are moving thus. Lay off the trigger finger. Learn when and how to use your gun effectively, plus you will conserve ammo. (Important later in the game!)
TIP: You probably won’t have to worry about conserving ammo in the first two rounds, just blast away. Once you get to the third or fourth round of searching the tombs, your bullets will really drain. Conservation of ammo can make or break you.
TIP: The collision detection in this game is not the best. Avoid close calls at all costs. You may think you can blast a creature as you run past, but too often the creature will get you first. When possible, shoot from a distance. I call this shoddy collision detection “Tut’s Curse.”
Questions, comments, tips of your own? Let me know! I’m always happy to answer feedback and include your stuff!
Final note: The above guide is for the cart version of Tutankham; the information may be inaccurate if you play the game on an emulator.
My best score on Tutankham is 2610


1 comment:

  1. Nice guide, got me through Chamber #3 which I could never finish with all the gold.