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Shamus is an Action/Shooter video game created by Atarisoft for multiple gaming systems including the TI-99/4A home computer system. It was distributed on Solid State SoftwareTM Command Module during the 4th quarter of 1983 with part number RX 8518. It sold originally for $44.95 (USD).

Shamus Front of Retail Packaging
Shamus - Front of Retail Packaging [1] [2]
Publisher(s) Atarisoft
Original Retail Price $44.95 (USD)
Part# RX 8518
Format(s) Solid State SoftwareTM Command Module
Release 1983 (4th Quarter)
Genre(s) Action, Shooter


The player is Shamus controls a robotic detective of the same name through a 128 room maze with electrified walls. The player is in search of his ultimate enemy, "The Shadow" hidden somewhere within the 128 rooms. To achieve this goal, the player must collect certain color-coded keys which open the same color-coded locks allowing the player further advancement towards the ultimate goal. Along the way, the player will also encounter collectible items including extra-life giving bottles and mystery question marks. Rooms in the game remain constant, meaning, if you enter a room, leave it, then re-enter, the room will remain identical.

The player doesn't wander the rooms of the maze alone, however. Enemies that the player will encounter during his travels include spiral drones, robo droids, and snap jumpers, each intent on destroying the player. Shamus is armed with his signature weapon, his Ion SHIVS (Short High-Intensity Vaporizer). Shamus can hurl up to two Ion SHIVs at the same time. While avoiding and destroying adversaries and navigating throughout the numerous rooms, Shamus must avoid contacting those electrified walls which will result in immediate death. This becomes more challenging as the game progresses which increases the player's speed making it much easier to simply run quickly into them.

Enemies regenerate each time the player visits the room. The player must also either defeat enemies quickly or swiftly leave each room, otherwise, the shadow will emerge from off-screen and leap directly on top of the player. The shadow can move through walls and enemies, and can therefore be difficult to avoid. The player can freeze the shadow in place temporarily with an Ion SHIV.

Advertising Blurbs

Back of Retail Packaging

Who knows what evil lurks in the Shadow's lair? Shamus does. And that's why he must penetrate it and destroy him. But it's no Sunday School picnic. Suicidally vicious Robodroids, sinister whirling Drones, and trigger-happy Snap-Jumpers guard four locked levels of 32 rooms each. Armed with his outlawed Ion SHIV, Shamus may eventually come eyeball to eyeball with the Shadow, only to find he's protected by Tri-Gamma body armor. How to snuff the fiend? That's the mystery.

Triton Catalog - Fall 1986

Armed with his outlawed ion SHIV, Shamus must slay a slew of evil enemies lurking in the Shadow's lair before he eventually meets up with the Shadow himself. Can he snuff this fiend, too? (Requires Joysticks.)


Tell the Shadow that Shamus is Here!

Load the SHAMUS cartridge into your Texas Instruments 99/4A Computer as explained in your computer owner's manual, and turn on your computer. Plug the joysticks into the controller port. This is a one-player game.

Press the Plus Key(+) to choose one of 3 difficulty levels: novice, experienced or advanced.

Press enter to start the game.

Press the space bar to pause during a game, or to reactivate the game after a pause.

You are the SHAMUS. Your goal is to reach the very core of the SHADOW's Lair and destroy him. This is accomplished by progressively exploring each level of the Lair and accumulating the greatest number of points, bonuses, and extra lives. The Lair consists of four levels, the colors in order of progressive difficulty are BLACK, BLUE, GREEN, and RED. You gain extra points for completely clearing each room of intruders. In the Lair you will encounter POD rooms, which exist in another dimension and have only a small time window which must be opened to gain entrance.

Each of the colored levels of the Lair contains various colored Keys which are paired with matching colored Keyholes. These Keys are picked up by SHAMUS by touching them. As they are touched they are displayed in the righthand bottom of the screen. When encountering a Keyhole of the matching color, SHAMUS merely makes contact with the Keyhole and the wall retracts permitting you to proceed through the Lair. If the wall does not drop you have not obtained the correct color coded Key; and you will not be permitted past the Keyhole. This is the only way to gain entry from one color level to another.

Lurking in the Lair are the SHADOW's dangerous henchmen to overcome. Never underestimate the ferocity of the SPIRAL DRONES. They are sneaky, and intensely sensitive to movement within the passages of the Lair. They are armed with disruptors. Relatively slow moving semimechanical androids are the ROBO-DROIDS. These droids are methodical and never give up. They are also armed with disruptors. SNAP JUMPERS are self-propelled annihilators who cannot think. This feature, however, makes them all the more dangerous. They are a strange mutation who exist simultaneouslY, in two dimensions. They "snap" in and out of your time-space continuum and are therefore unpredictable and because of this quality are extremely quick. Their speed makes them very dangerous. SHAMUS' only weapons are the ION-SHIVS (Ionic-Short High Intensity Vaporizers). These weapons are banned in every part of the galaxy. They totally disintegrate any life form upon contact, unless shielded by Tri-Gamma body armor. There can only be two ION-SHIVS on the screen at one time.

The arch villain himself, the SHADOW is constantly monitoring your activities in his Lair. Be extremely careful when you hear a low pitched pulsing begin. This is a signal that the SHADOW is about to enter the room. You cannot kill the SHADOW since he wears Tri-Gamma armor. You can, however, stun him. He remains stunned for a short time, after which you had better move quickly!

The current number of lives are displayed in the upper right-hand corner of the screen. If you encounter a bubbling bottle in a room you need merely to touch it to obtain an extra life. By passing over pulsating question marks you will invite either bonus points or an extra life.

Unlike other text adventures, SHAMUS can only be mastered by a long and arduous training period, in which your reflexes are sharpened to a point where you can deal with the incredible speed and viciousness of the attacks of the Shadow and his henchmen. Only in the deepest recesses of level RED will you find the answer to this puzzle! Tell the SHADOW that SHAMUS is here!


You start each game with 5 lives. The Shamus figures located in the top right corner of the game screen represent the number of lives remaining. You may accumulate up to 12 extra lives.

Shamus - Shooting Robo-Droids.png Shooting Robo-Droids . . . . . . . . 10 points
Shamus - Shooting Spiral Drones.png Shotting Spiral Drones . . . . . . . . 10 points
Shamus - Shooting Snap Jumpers.png Shooting Snap Jumpers . . . . . . . 10 points

Bonus for Clearing a Room . . . . . . . . . . . . . 200 points

Mystery Symbol (?) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Random amount of points and possibly an extra life

SHAMUS can move and shoot in 8 directions - left, right, up, down, and 4 diagonals. To shoot, press the joystick button while holding the controls in the direction you wish to shoot.



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