Mackscrane, the Great Demon, has stolen the chalice of binding and hidden it deep within the Dunjunz.
Four fearless adventurers must risk their lives to save the chalice... and the world.
Dunjunz is the arcade/adventure game to top them all. It is based around a dungeons and dragons type scenario in which up to four players compete simultaneously.
This is achieved by dividing the screen into four separate action windows, all of them looking into the same dungeon, but each showing the progress of one particular adventurer.
This system enables groups of players to explore the dungeon as a fighting unit, protecting each other against attack by the guards, increasing their fire power when destroying objects or even killing each other.
The adventurers are provided in four different guises: The Ranger uses a magic bow; the Wizard is hot stuff with a fireball; the Barbarian is an axe-wielding maniac; and the Warrior is a mean swordswoman.
The weapons all have different attack values - the higher the value the greater the damage inflicted with each blow. This value is increased if the adventurer locates the magic sword or a pile of weapons.
Similarly each character's armour has different values: The Warrior's chain mail and shield offer great protection from most blows, but not so the Ranger's robe which is of little defence against the guards attack.
A game such as this would not be complete without a smattering of magic, so both the Wizard and the Ranger are endowed with mystical powers. These manifest themselves in smart-bomb fashion, destroying every guard on the screen when a certain key is pressed.
The Wizard expends a great deal ofenergy incasting such a spell, though the Ranger's energy value remains mysteriously unaffected.
As well as the obligatory treasure chests the dungeon is littered with magical objects and keys. Keys will open doors to new areas of the dungeon, and eating food boosts your energy rating by 10 points, up to a maximum of 99.
The magic helmet and the cross of resurrection increase the strength of your armour and the Boots of Speed will double a character's rate of travel.
Not all objects you discover are beneficial. For example, the dungeon is riddled with trap doors from which new guards appear to replace their dead comrades.
Most dangerous of all are the energy drainers, innocent looking squares which relieve you of 20 energy points when touched and are sometimes used to bar your way to a new section of dungeon.
Drainers can be destroyed by multiple blows from a weapon but great care has to be taken as they have a defence mechanism which reflects a weapon back on the attacker. A shoot-and-sidestep technique is essential if you are to survive.
When I first played the game I was under the impression that I had to collect all the treasure on a level before I could jump through the trap door to level two. This is not so: If you want to you and your three comrades can exit level one in under 30 seconds.
However, in doing so you pass up the opportunity of improving weapon and armour ratings.
Dunjunz comes complete with 25 different levels, each loaded individually from tape as required. This may sound tedious but each level takes only five seconds to load.
Loading occurs automatically when all surviving characters have jumped through the exit trap door. It is only necessary for one adventurer to survive to progress to the next level. Once loaded, all dead characters are reincarnated with a full bill of health but with only the default values for weapons and armour. A surviving character is restored to full strength.
A save game option would have been appreciated as you are unlikely to fight your way through all 25 levels in a single session.
Ignoring the problem of cramming four people into an area of three square feet there is no denying that Dunjunz is a stunning piece of programming.
The action is smooth and fast and the levels tortuously difficult. This game will sell and sell.