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Atic Atac (1983)            

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Details (Sinclair ZX Spectrum) Supported platforms Artwork and Media
Minimum Memory Required:
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Other Files:
Ultimate Play the Game
Chris Stamper, Tim Stamper
Kempston, Cursor
Audio cassette
UK (£5.50)
Atic Atac map, Official game poster
Also appeared on Boots compilation '10 Titles for the Spectrum Plus', and Ultimate's own 'Ultimate Play The Game: The Collected Works'.
Click to choose platform:
Acorn BBC  9.1
Sinclair ZX Spectrum  10

VideosScreenshots (Sinclair ZX Spectrum)

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Added: 7 Mar 2011
This was more or less the game that the term 'arcade adventure' was coined for and one that spent months at the top of the charts of every games magazine. It is set in a castle of 200 rooms and hidden somewhere in those chambers are the three parts of a key needed to escape. You can take the role of a knight, a wizard or a serf in your quest, each having different weapons and being able to use different secret passages. After a few seconds in each room, it fills with a variety of different baddies who are out to suck you of your life energy. Despite the clumsy controls, Atic Atac is a genre-defining game, and one whose very name evokes memories of the Spectrum era.
Added: 19 Jun 2012
Magazine map
Another innovation resulting from the game was that it was the first game to have a map published by a magazine (Crash!). This was contributed by a reader, and unusually as a result of a competition.

Some copies of the game exist where the message on completing the game is spelled as "CONGRATULATIONT" - apparently due to an error in the typing of the code, using 212 instead of 211 in an important place.

Added: 13 Dec 2008


Producer: Ultimate
Memory required: 48K
Retail price: £5.50
Language: machine code

In last month's issue we promised a fuller review of Atic Atac as our review copies arrived too late to do it full justice. It turns out to be difficult to do full justice to this program anyway! There's such a lot of it. You're stuck in this castle which contains five floors with lots of rooms on each floor. The total number of rooms, staircases and passageways is a subject of argument, although the best estimate we've heard about from one reviewer (who's been busy mapping the place) is 40 rooms per floor, making a total of 200.

Tic Tac, who's there?

The rooms are seen in a sort of splayed perspective from above so that all four walls as well as the floor are visible. Put simply, the object of the game is to find the key, which comes in three pieces, open the main door and escape. You can do this as three different characters ' knight, wizard or serf each having different weapons and knowing different secret passages.

Very like Lunar Jetman, Ultimate have provided little or no instruction as to how the game is played to your best advantage ' the entire thing is a learning experience, like life!

'There's really nothing much to be said about Ultimate's graphics that hasn't already been said. Just marvellous. But the details of events is also fantastic, like when you lose a life, a cross marks the spot, but it stays there until the end of the game. From this you learn that if you pick up an object, and then put it down somewhere you'll be able to recognise which was the room from rediscovering that object. This becomes the best way to map out the rooms. If you aren't nuts already, Atic Atac is likely to be the turning point.'

'Atic Atac is in no way a true adventure but neither is it a shoot the baddies game. But it is one thing ' FANTASTIC! There are many types of baddies, ghosts, spiders, ghouls, pumpkins and guest appearances from Frankenstein's monster, Dracula, Devil Witch and Mummy. You certainly get your money's worth from content alone! It's fast moving, fun to play and its originality, graphics and addictiveness make it excellent value for money. This is one of the best arcade games I have seen in a long time.'

'A drawback with complex games is that the control keys can get difficult to manage. Atic Atac uses Ultimate's favourite layout, but the keys are a handful and it's not possible to get full value from the game's potential if you use a joystick. Definitely a game for those with nimble fingers! Otherwise ' just excellent. Ultimate have done it again.'

Control keys: Q = left, W = right, E = down, R = up, T = fire, Z or SYMBOL SHIFT- pick up and drop
Joystick: Kempston, AGF, Protek
Keyboard play: highly responsive, 8-directional but needs practice!
Colour: very good
Graphics: excellent with masses of detail
Sound: good
Skill levels: just generally impossible!
Lives: 3
General rating: excellent

Use of computer 90%
Graphics 95%
Playability 95%
Getting started 85%
Addictive qualities 93%
Value for money 95%
Overall 92%
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In 1991, Atic Atac was ranked as the 79th best ZX Spectrum game of all time by Your Sinclair.
Voted the 8th best game of all time by the readers of Retro Gamer Magazine.
The game was a major inspiration for the critically acclaimed CITV game show Knightmare, with producer Tim Child realising that if a ZX Spectrum could run a compelling adventure game, then a television programme with pre-rendered graphics could revolutionise the genre.


Atic AtacWindowsRichard Jordan2006The game requires a PC running Windows 98, Windows Me, Windows 2000 or Windows XP with DirectX 8.1 or later installed. A DirectX 8 compatible graphics card is also required. Written using the Allegro games programming library http://www.talula.demon.co.uk/allegro/


This title was first added on 25th November 2008
This title was most recently updated on 25th March 2017

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