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The Keys of Acheron (1981)

The Keys of Acheron (1981) is the first expansion for Epyx’s Hellfire Warrior (which I posted about back in December).

It’s kind of interesting, because up to this point, all the DunjonQuest games were sort of the story of one character (I say sort of because you only get that info in the manual, not in the actual game). Keys switches it up — this time you are tasked to find four gems (one for each level) so you can defeat the evil demon Kronus (the illustration of whom, I believe, was done by the game’s designer, Paul Reiche III). The twist here is that Kronus is actually pursuing you through the levels (similar to the demon in the last level of Hellfire Warrior), which adds a new sense of urgency to the proceedings.

Like Hellfire Warrior, only two of the levels have room descriptions — the Abode of the Dragon and the Crystal Caves. The other two, the Temple in the Jungle and the Shadowland of Kronus are up to you to navigate without help. I kind of hate that. It made sense for the labyrinth and the hell plane in the first game, but I really would like descriptions for the temple in the jungle! Apparently, though, because the first game was designed to not have descriptions in the second and fourth levels, that had to be true of the expansions, because code or something. Programming, man! It’s for the birds!

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