front cover

Platform: Arcade

Region: NTSC-U

Country: United States of America

Developer(s): Stern Electronics

Publishers(s): Stern Electronics, Inc.

ReleaseDate: 1980-11-12

Players: 2

Co-op: No


Berzerk is a 1980 arcade maze multidirectional shooter video game developed and released by Stern Electronics in the USA on November 12, 1980. When the game begins, the player controls a green stick man on the left of the screen. In two-player games, the second player controls a purple stick man on the right of the screen. Each player plays until they lose a life, allowing the other player to have a turn. Using a joystick and a firing button that activates a laser-style weapon, the player navigates a simple maze filled with many robots, who fire lasers back at the player character. A player can be killed by being shot, by running into a robot or an exploding robot, getting electrocuted by the electrified walls of the maze itself, or by being touched by the player's nemesis, Evil Otto. The function of Evil Otto, represented by a bouncing smiley face, is to quicken the pace of the game. Otto is unusual, with regard to games of the period, in that he's indestructible. Otto can go through walls with impunity and hunts the player character. If robots remain in the maze Otto moves slowly, about half as fast as the humanoid, but he speeds up to match the humanoid's speed once all the robots are killed. Evil Otto moves at exactly the same speed as the player going left and right but he can move faster than the player going up and down; thus, no matter how close Otto is, the player can escape as long as they can avoid moving straight up or down. The player advances by escaping from the maze through an opening in the far wall. Each robot destroyed is worth 50 points. If all the robots in the current maze have been destroyed before the player escapes, the player gains ten points per robot. The game has 65,536 rooms (256×256 grid), but due to limitations of the random number generation there are fewer than 1,024 maze layouts (876 of which are unique). It has only one controller, but two-player games can be accomplished by alternating at the joystick. As a player's score increases, the colors of the enemy robots change, and the robots can have more bullets on the screen at the same time. Once they reach the limit of simultaneous on-screen bullets, they cannot fire again until one or more of their bullets detonates; the limit applies to the robots as a group, not as individuals. A free life can be awarded at 5,000 or 10,000 points, set by internal DIP switches, with no extra lives thereafter. The game's voice synthesizer generates speech for the robots during certain in-game events: "Coin detected in pocket": During attract mode, specifically while showing the high score list. "Intruder alert! Intruder alert!": Spoken when Evil Otto appears. "The humanoid must not escape" or "The intruder must not escape": Heard when the player escapes a room after destroying every robot. "Chicken, fight like a robot": Heard when the player escapes a room without destroying every robot. "Got the humanoid, got the intruder!": Heard when the player loses a life (the "got the intruder" part is a minor third higher than the "got the humanoid" part). There is random robot chatter playing in the background, with phrases usually consisting of "Charge", "Attack", "Kill", "Destroy", "Shoot", or "Get", followed by "The Humanoid", "The intruder", "it", or "the chicken" (the last only if the player got the "Chicken, fight like a robot" message from the previous room), creating sentences such as "Attack it", "Get the Humanoid", "Destroy the intruder", "Kill the chicken", and so on. The speed and pitch of the phrases vary, from deep and slow, to high and fast; as well as different versions of the game being translated into four different languages such as English, French, German, and Spanish.

Trailer: YouTube

ESRB Rating: E - Everyone

Genre(s): Action | Shooter

Other Graphic(s)