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ARE YOU READY to enter the CAVERNS OF KHRON? Spikes, slugs, demons and more await you below the surface. What unknown evils will you encounter deep within? Arm yourself with sword and star and venture forth!
CAVERNS OF KHRON is an independent freeware game project by designer John D. Moore with music by WiL Whitlark (composer for Retro Affect’s Snapshot) and environment graphics by Michael Santiago. The game contains forty levels of puzzle and action platforming influenced by MS-DOS and NES games of the 1980s and 1990s. The caverns are divided into three sections with unique themes, each with its own set of environmental challenges, enemies, and bosses that reflect their environments.
In addition to the forty stages in the main game, there are two shorter campaigns (Sky Realm and Special Stages), a bonus stage, a boss rush mode, a costume select, and a level select that can be unlocked after clearing the game. The game has an extensive record-keeping system to track your best runs, optimized for speedrunning.
At the time of release, this was my largest and most polished game. Begun as a one-month “bakedown” jam game at the SelectButtonDotNet forums, the game expanded significantly, involved a musical collaboration with my longtime friend WiL Whitlark and a graphics artist, Michael Santaigo. The game is set in a fantasy world I originally created for some unfinished QBASIC games in the mid-nineties. While the basic platforming is not too gimmicky (at its core, it began as a fantasy re-working of the DOS classic Monuments of Mars with a sword), the game allowed me to work out some ideas about level design I’d been itching to try. The game file contains an NES-style manual.
While this game was in development, the engine was modified to provide the basis for The Adventures of Bulb Boy.
After retiring from ZZT officially in 2002 with Zem! X, my friend WiL (whose accomplishments and involvement in the ZZT community far outshone mine) convinced me to join him for the Spring 2003 24 Hours of ZZT competition. The theme was “adversity.” We won first place for our entry AdversiTurtle, an “interactive movie” about a turtle who introduces adversity into the lives of the relatively comfortable. The player takes control of AdversiTurtle as he faces off against other adversity-themed opponents, such as AdversiTofu in a series of minigames. WiL took care of most of the programming and all of the music, while we wrote the game together, and we both drew the art. I’m pretty sure AdversiTurtle was based on one of my character designs, but I can’t entirely remember.
Due to a hilarious mix-up with emails, the version we submitted was missing some of the art boards I was supposed to complete and send to WiL. This version is the correctly synthesized edition.
In this game, you play “X-Files” star David Duchovny. Mr. Duchovny has found himself trapped inside a game of Tetris (Tetris + Duchovny = Tetrovny!). You must help him escape so he can get to the outside world and tryst with pop superstar Britney Spears.
But it won’t be so easy. Besieged by the falling blocks, Mr. Duchovny must find the key that will grant him his escape. But the door is so far away and Fat Albert keeps interfering! Never fear. When the pogo stick cannot help you, call upon Saddam Hussein to clear the way.
The game was designed and programmed in 2003 (in one heady night) by myself, Brian Polak, and WiL Whitlark in a then-in development engine “adv” was designing called Bang!. This zip file includes the files needed to run Bang!. Before playing, please read the “readmefirst.txt” document.
Note that this game was one of several Bang! project I worked on, but the only one that was ever completed. This is technically the Special Edition, since it has native support for joysticks.
An archive for Bang! files, games, and resources, run by Jotz, can be found here (warning: sketchy webhost).