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Comments (8)
Monk - 22/02/2015
John, don't you mean "Atari emulator"? I don't think there are working PC-emulators for the Atari 8-bit computers. Also, aren't you aware that you can get USB digital joysticks for PCs? Besides, a keyboard is as good and sometimes better than a joystick, except when it comes to quick back-and-forth with diagonals.

To the actual review:

What a great, little gem! I am finding these wonderful Atari classics lately, and they are absolutely charming. I think I want to get myself a real Atari 8-bit computer - never owned one before, but now that I know so many exciting (in an esoteric, atmospheric, energy-shining-way that is so hard to explain, and that doesn't exist in modern games) classics exist for the Atari, and can really experience some of the charm, I really want to upgrade the experience to "authentic mode" and see what I was missing.

Besides, the emulators are not that good (for reasons I am not going to go into right now), unless you are content using a TFT monitor and a Windowed mode, and even still.

I had two long-ish sessions with this game, and found it fascinatingly charming. The sequel is just too hectic and non-unique for me (too 'platformy'). But this one reminds me of Berzerk (A2600), Berks III (C16) and Zodiac (C64), all of which have brought me great joy, so this one is great.

The Atari certainly has a charm that I can't get enough of, and my appreciation for it has grown a lot over the years. A wonderful game, with such an immersive, thick atmosphere that I seriously recommend it for everyone.
cohones - 17/03/2013
Looks like the "Nadral" doesn't it?
Greg B. - 11/04/2009
To Tim Boxell: It may be 25 years too late, but thanks for all the great artwork! Rest assured that your artwork was appreciated and admired by just about everyone who purchased a piece of Synapse software. I even had the box for Necromancer hanging on my wall for years back then! Best of luck and great to hear from you...
AB Pos - 30/03/2009
"Why did so many programmers from that era (including William Mataga) undergo sex change operations???"

Maybe because us transgendered folk are geniuses with computers.

(Or we're all obsessed with programming sub 32-bit systems. I'm working on a Sega Genesis game atm :P )
ArnaudL - 27/03/2009

I bought it because it was a cheep game.
I got to the end of the game,I remember it was the red labyrinth and moves were very fast.
TIM BOXELL - 22/03/2009
Scott Wozniak - 15/09/2008
I remember buying Shamus on cartridge from J&R Computer World in NYC around 1982 for my Atari 400. (I was 13 at the time.) I bought it because I was fascinated with Tim Boxell's artwork and the Shamus character. I would see Synapse Software's ads all the time in magazines like Electronic Games. To this day it is probably my favorite game for the Atari 8-bit computers. The depth of the exploration amazed me. I played for hours and finished it (on Novice) the first day. I was obsessed. A trick I quickly learned is to hold down the fire button and tap the joystick very quickly to clear out enemies in groups. I think this game is a masterpiece. To think William Mataga crammed all of that gameplay into just 16k of memory! 10 out of 10 score from me. Why did so many programmers from that era (including William Mataga) undergo sex change operations???
JohnM - 06/08/2007
An excellent addictive arcade game.

Fast, lots of hidden extras, plenty of enemies with differing attack styles, lots of rooms/ levels, beautiful graphics throughout, super smooth motion and animations.

Quite incredible to think this was written in 1982.

Much harder to play on a PC emulator though as this really does need the digital joystick


Shamus atari screenshot
Shamus atari screenshot
Shamus atari screenshot
Shamus atari screenshot
Shamus atari screenshot


GenreAdventure / Arcade - 2-DYear1986
LanguageMachine LanguagePublisherAmericana
Players1CountryUnited Kingdom

Mataga, William

Graphic Artist(s)




Cover Artist(s)Boxell, TimSerial-
Dumpdownload atari Shamus Download

Additional Comments

Other version with the same title:

Synapse Software.


Shamus Atari tape scan Shamus Atari tape scan Shamus Atari tape scan

Book / Magazine Reviews

 Electronic Fun · March, 1983Rating: 3 / 5 

Shamus is a lovable little guy of a kind that you just don't expect to see in computer game characters. He's tiny, wears a broad-brimmed hat and has a purposeful, plodding walk - kind of a computerized Columbo without the cigar. He chases a variety of evil baddies through a series of mazes and secret rooms in his attempt to seek and destroy the shadow.

Shamus starts his... [more]

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