Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Night Stalker

Illustration for article titled Night Stalker

Intellivision's catalogue description of Night Stalker begins, "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." It's also a hell of a lot of fun.


Night Stalker is elegant in its simplicity: You take control of a little animated man (creatively named "The Man") and blast as many robots for as many points as possible before you run out of lives.

Gameplay: Five different colors of robots attack you in Night Stalker. They have unlimited ammunition, and are controlled by a surprisingly complex AI. (Remember, it's 1982, and digital watches are still a really neat idea.) They enter the game as your score increases, and each robot is more difficult to defeat, from the relatively easy grey robot to the more difficult white robot (which takes three hits to destroy) to the invisible robot (which is, uh, invisible).

However, the robots aren't the only denizens of this creepy maze. Bats and giant spiders are hanging out, and while they won't cost you a life, if you run into one, you'll be temporarily paralyzed and vulnerable to flaming robot death. You can blast them for points, but after you get 5,000, every bat you shoot will turn into a grey robot, so good luck with that.

Could be mistaken for: Dark Cavern, Berzerk, multiverse Goonies fan fiction

Kids today might not like it because: They may have a hard time understanding that the object isn't to actually escape from the maze, but to rack up as many points as possible.

Kids today might like it because: Finally, their dream of running around an inescapable maze, shooting robots, has been realized.

Enduring contribution to gaming history: Let's see… a maze, a re-spawning gun, deadly creatures, and murderous robots… Quake, anyone?


Wil Wheaton is the modren man.