Caverns of Mars

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Comments (11)
ddahlstrom - 09/08/2023
One of the earliest games I played on the Atari. Actually played it on my friends Atari 400 long before I got my 800XL. The game ranks at 100% on the nostalgia scale for me and remains fun in short sessions, but I also acknowledge that while it may go deep below the Martian surface, the depth of the gameplay is limited. Still, the graphics are smooth well done, and there was always this mystery about what I might find at the bottom. A true classic of its time.
the big m - 29/07/2023
Smooth vertical scrolling shooter! So amazing for 1981!
I can't get very far. But I still love the challenge!
Atari A to Z (Pete Davison) - 04/07/2022
Caverns of Mars is one of the earliest examples of a vertically scrolling shoot 'em up, and a classic of the early Atari 8-bit library. Let's Play!
tkarner - 21/06/2016
This should have been a good game. Good graphics, smooth scrolling, responsive control and a feel-good story about the teenage programmer. But it's far more aggravating than it is enjoyable. Collision detection on the missile level is poor. The mines on the fourth level move randomly. Basically, your success is more dependent on chance than skill. The worst part, when you do suffer the inevitable cheap deaths you're forced to start at the beginning of the level, losing any progress.
rave.N - 06/04/2016
CHEAT MODE unlimited lives - change the 3 byte sequence which reads $"CE AC 1A" to become $EAEAEA.

Cartridge didn't work for me, I see here you say it needs the emu SIO patch turned off. It would be very easy to edit cartridge to no longer require this. Cartridge is the same game as disk, cart copies the program into lower RAM then runs it there. Also, there appears to be a 1 byte corruption in the cartridge scan, in which a very large block of zeros has a bit turned on in the middle, not seen like that in any other version.
atarifan2020 - 27/12/2014
This was one great game created in 6months in assembler by 17 year old Greg Christensen at the time. Outstanding to say the least. I wonder how it would've done as an arcade game. The arcade quality was there in the design of the game. I've played this game a zillion times and is always a blast to play.
Punkydudester - 21/12/2014
Good game, I never beat it. I always wondered what was at the bottom.
devwebcl - 07/05/2014
mymoon - 27/08/2013
great game! the atari spirit is in this one. Just played it for ten or so minutes and it was great fun.
Daniel Thomas MacInnes - 09/05/2011
Classic Atari 800 game. Very challenging and very tough vertical space shooter, this is definitely for the die-hard fans. I do wish Infogrames, aka Atari Interactive, would bring this game back...that is, faithfully and without completely screwing it up. I'm probably asking for too much.
Greg B. - 30/10/2007
A great game but probably one of the most frustrating games I've EVER played. Stands as the only computer game or video game in the last 30 years which actually made me mad enough to smash a controller. A few of them, actually...


Caverns of Mars atari screenshot
Caverns of Mars atari screenshot
Caverns of Mars atari screenshot
Caverns of Mars atari screenshot
Caverns of Mars atari screenshot


GenreShoot'em Up! - Vertical ScrollingYear1981
LanguageMachine LanguagePublisherAPX
ControlsJoystickDeveloperChristensen, Greg

Christensen, Greg

Graphic Artist(s)

Christensen, Greg

MediumTape Disk

Christensen, Greg

Cover Artist(s)[n/a]Serial10084 / 20084
Dumpdownload atari Caverns of Mars Download

Additional Comments

Other versions with the same title:

Atari, Christensen, Greg.

Missing original tape image!


Caverns of Mars Atari disk scan


Caverns of Mars Atari tape scan



Caverns of Mars Atari ad Caverns of Mars Atari ad

Book / Magazine Reviews

 Electronic Fun · April, 1983Rating: 3.5 / 4 

Caverns of Mars is an exciting, fast-moving adventure game for the Atari 400 / 800 home computer (for now, it is available only as a computer disk program). The game plot is simple. The player must maneuver his one-man fighter down into the depths of Mars, activate the timer of a fusion bomb and escape before the bomb goes off.

The game starts with the selection of one of four... [more]

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