Advanced Dungeons & Dragons: Treasure of Tarmin, Intellivision

An early, proto RPG based on the TSR AD&D universe, released for the Intellivision in 1983. It’s actually a sequel to the previous Intellivision AD&D game: Cloudy Mountain.

Treasure of Tarmin is one of my all-time favourite Intellivision games; it’s like an early prototype version of Dungeon Master, with crude graphics and minimal sound. That said: playing Treasure of Tarmin is a great experience if you learn how to play it properly. Reading the manual helps. As does configuring the controls correctly.

You explore dungeons from a first-person viewpoint, looking for treasure (of course), but also looking for weapons and armour upgrades which are found randomly located around. As you explore you will run into a variety of monsters, which you have to fight using essentially turn-based combat. You have two hands and can carry a variety of weapons with which to attack, but some weapons are more effective against certain opponents, so you have to learn how to switch weapons quickly and use them appropriately.

What is cool is that you have a ring-shaped inventory, in which you can rotate items, and also swap them with items in your hands. This is key to understanding the game. Once you’ve grasped how to use the ring inventory, and can easily switch between items, you can then concentrate on killing monsters and exploring. And it’s tough going initially. There are four different skill levels to play. On the easiest skill level the dungeon is small and games take between 10 mins and 30 mins to play (longer if you’re slow). On the hardest difficulty a game can take five hours or more and have a minimum of 12 maze levels, although you can beat the end boss Minotaur and continue going downwards if you want. There’s a neat side-on dungeon map showing how deep you are in the dungeon, and of course the monsters get stronger and the items get better the deeper you go.

Treasure of Tarmin is surprisingly good considering its age. It might look a bit rubbish, but the game has a lot of detail and atmosphere and – for my money – is the best game on the Intellivision by some margin. Great programming by Tom Loughry (who apparently wrote the game in 1981, but it wasn’t released until 1983… Weird…).

More: Treasure of Tarmin on Wikipedia


4 thoughts on “Advanced Dungeons & Dragons: Treasure of Tarmin, Intellivision”

  1. It is always great to see this game get its proper acknowledgement. It was groundbreaking and also still has some *fun* replay-ability in 2019, not many games can say that. It is a good one for playing alone with the lights off and no ambient noise (although Cloudy Mountain is more fun with that because that game requires audio cues) to get the full effect.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dungeon Master is my (second) favourite game of all time, and Tarmin has similar qualities. For its time, it is quite an achievement. Tarmin is still very playable and engrossing now, in 2019. It unfortunately passed me by at the time.


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