Volcano Hunter

written by Matthew Reed

Title:Volcano Hunter
Author:David Smith
Publisher:Lap Video Entertainment
Compatibility:Model I and III, disk and tape

Volcano Hunter advertisement from the February 1984 issue of 80 Micro

Volcano Hunter was one of the final games to be commercially released for the TRS-80 Model I and III. It was written by David Smith and sold through his company, Lap Video Entertainment. It cost $19.95 for the cassette version and $22.95 for the disk version. A review in 80 Micro described Volcano Hunter as an “ingenious machine-language, arcade-style adventure game.”

Here is David Smith’s description of the game:

You are HUNTING HARRY, the last person left in a town taken over by Druts. (A Drut is a monster that usually lives inside the earth near volcanoes.) The town you live in just happens to be near a volcano. The dreaded Druts have been mining the volcano for its gold, but they have run into a problem. They ran out of fuel for their machines to mine the volcano. So they robbed the city of its precious fuel supply and they plan to keep it. It is your duty to infiltrate the volcano and retrieve the stolen fuel, while killing the Drut monsters who will try and stop you. It may take you a while to find all the fuels because there are over 200 screens in this adventure.

Title screen

Druts and a fuel canister

The primary goal in Volcano Hunter is collecting fuel canisters and returning them to the basement. Either the arrow keys or a joystick can be used to control the player. Bombs can also be set using the SPACEBAR or joystick FIRE button, with the length of the press determining the delay before the bomb explodes. Bombs need to be used carefully because an explosion will destroy not just a Drut but also the player. Other ways to lose a life include touching a Drut, falling off a ledge, running out of air when underwater, or getting too close to the lava. To help avoid the last two, the amount of air remaining and the heat level are always displayed at the top of the screen near the score.

More Druts and a ladder

A bridge

Unusually for a TRS-80 game, the Volcano Hunter playing field is much larger than the screen. (Others include Swamp War, Panik, and Time Bandit.) The game contains 200 screens and the variety is the most notable feature of Volcano Hunter. I suspect that many players just had fun exploring all the screens in the game.

More fuel

Game over

Volcano Hunter had a resurgence of interest in 1991, when Gary Shanafelt wrote an article titled “The Great Volcano Hunter Hack” for TRSTimes. He detailed a project undertaken by Kelly Bates, who spent two years mapping all the screens in Volcano Hunter. Bates used the TRS-80 Dotwriter utility and a Gemini dot-matrix printer to print out the entire game map on multiple sheets of paper, finishing on February 18, 1986. Many people used these maps to explore areas of the game that they had never seen before.

More recently, George Phillips dumped a complete map of Volcano Hunter as a 20,480 by 8,280 pixel image. This incredible image is a great companion to the game and can be downloaded here: volcano-hunter-map.png (thanks to George Phillips for the map).

In 2011, David Smith created a Volcano Hunter page on Facebook. In 2015, Mark McDougall ported Volcano Hunter to the Microbee, an Australian computer from 1982. It can be downloaded from the Microbee Software Preservation Project.

Categories: Arcade Games