Alternate Reality

The City

Complete Documentation (Atari 8-bit version):

(Alternate Reality is a registered trademark of Paradise Programming,

Inc. (c) 1985, 1986 Intellicreations, Inc. All rights reserved.)

1) Liner notes from the box:

One brave traveler to the city of Xebec's Demise left this brief record

for the unsuspecting souls he knew would follow him through the Floating


[pic of the floating gate facing west as the sun falls over the



I never believed in extraterrestrial life before this. But, judging

from what I've seen, there are myriad's of inhabited planets in the

universe. Earth isn't the only world that's been plundered by the

strange ship that brought me here.

The night sky is most curious. Nothing looks familiar. There are

stars, but none I recognize. I hear the same story from others.

Perhaps we're in another Solar System altogether!

[pic of the Travellers Inn]

I found out quickly that it's not good to wander around alone after

dark. There are many life forms who's intentions are unquestionably evil.

Fortunately, I had enough money to check into an Inn.

[pic of the Thieves Guild]


I picked up a cursed sword today and was in an awful state. I finally

located the Thieves' Guild and, for a fee, they removed the curse.

One of the Guild members said my sword was very nice, but I didn't seem

to have much fighting knowledge. He recommended I get some training at

a Weapons School.


I'm glad I haven't lied or cheated anyone since I've been here. Word

gets around pretty fast. In a Tavern today, I spoke to another

newcomer. He told me fantastic stories about his adventures here. I

was taking it all in, when the Tavern keeper called me to one side and

cautioned me. He said the man was already known in The City as a liar

and I' do well not to believe everything I was told. He said an honest

man would prove himself.

[pic of the Tail of the Dog]


This place is full of stories and legends. There are tales of dragons,

demons, and other beasts that live in the caverns beneath The City. One

creature I've heard a lot about is the Night Stalker. No one I've

spoken to has seen it, but everyone agrees that it's a horrible,

powerful beast that prowls the streets at night.

Today I met a man I'll never forget. He had no physical strength, but

possessed incredible charm. I think he was a very wise man. He gave me

a riddle he said will help me gain my freedom.

Closest to is farthest from,

lest with you've brought that which to come.

Past this you need not know a thing,

save where to go... you've what to bring.

Guidebook to

Alternate Reality

The City

Written by

Kathi B. Tremblay

Welcome to the city of Xebec's Demise. Read this Guidebook before

entering. It gives you important information for survival. The

separate Reference Card gives specific instructions for using your

computer to enter Alternate Reality.

A map of The City is included in your package. The Floating Gate, in

the center of the map, is surrounded by Granite Bank, Best Bargain

Store, Best Armoires, and Tail of the Dog Tavern. Use this base to

explore the rest of The City.

There are many establishments in The City. This list will help you in

your travels. Inns: 7; Taverns: 14; Banks: 3; Shops: 15; Smithies: 4;

Healers: 2; Guilds: 12 (you can't join Guilds, but they're useful in

other ways.)

In addition to the game, you need a blank, formatted disk to use as a

Character Disk. Without a Character Disk, you can't save a game. Refer

to your computer user's guide for instructions on formatting a disk. Be

sure to format the Character Disk on the drive you'll be using in the


NOTE: Never play with a different disk 2 (side 2 on the Apple) than the

one you use to create a character. If you create a character using your

backup of Disk 2, always use this backup disk when playing with that

character. If you use the original game Disk 2 when creating the

character, always use the original game Disk 2 to play with that


Please fill out and return the enclosed Datasoft Product Registration

Card. This automatically enrolls you in our Alternate Reality Players'


If your disks are accidentally damaged or destroyed, you can get backup

copies for $15. Send damaged disks, proof of purchase (box or receipt),

and a check or money order to:


Dept. B

19808 Nordhoff Place

Chatsworth, CA 91311-9969

You're kidnapped by an alien spaceship and find yourself in a room with

only one exit. Through this doorway you see The City of Xebec's

Demise. An energy field moves across the opening. Overhead is a panel

with constantly changing numbers. As you go through the door, the

numbers freeze. This sets your levels of Stamina, Charm, Strength,

Intelligence, Wisdom, Skill, Wealth, and Hit Points. The higher these

stats, the better your chances are in The City. You decide whether

you're Good or Evil.

During the first few days, you're extremely vulnerable to foul play. The

safest area of The City is near the Floating Gate. Of course, safety

isn't your only consideration; there are benefits to discover in the

more dangerous locales. But keep a low profile until you're familiar

with The City. And avoid Encounters with life forms hat are obviously

superior (don't tease a Wizard, for example.)

Have enough sense to come in out of the rain! Bad characters like bad

weather. It's also dangerous to be out at night. Find an Inn and check

in before sundown. A good night's sleep does wonders for your Stamina

and restores Hit Points.

Keep an eye on your Stats. You can become hungry, thirsty or tired.

Find a Tavern for food and drink, and Inn for rest. You have a little

money; use it wisely. A compass, available in most Shops, is a wise

investment. It's helpful to remember that the inventories in Shops and

Smithies change daily.

The values at the top of the screen help you decide what action to take.

Increasing these levels is important to achieving your goals. Good

Stamina is useful in surviving hardships. Charming an opponent,

naturally, requires Charm (charisma). Strength gives you an advantage in

a fight; Skill helps you avoid blows from an adversary. Intelligence is

crucial for tricking your enemies, Wisdom for making decisions. Hit

Points are very important: the more you have, the harder you are to


You are closely monitored! Don't think the Stats at the top of the

screen make up the whole. Many things, including your personality, are

constantly taken into account by the computer. To achieve your goals,

be yourself!


There are many Secret Doors and One Way Walls in The

City. A Secret Door looks like a wall, but you can walk right through it

(accompanied by a whooshing noise and an odd melody). One Way Walls are

invisible on one side. You can pass through the invisible side, but not

the visible one.


Offer lodging for a price. They're also Time and Date information



Sell food and drink and offer entertainment. The menus change

hourly. Often, the songs sung in a Tavern give you important clues.


Taverns serve alcoholic beverages. Alcohol is also an

ingredient in many Potions. Drink in moderation. If you're drunk,

movement is hampered, manipulating screens is difficult, and you may

even experience blackouts. Find an Inn and sleep it off.


As you approach a Smithy, you may hear the Smith hammering

away on his anvil. New Weapons purchased at a Smithy are never Cursed.

But prices (and quality) vary greatly; bartering is essential. When

buying a Weapon, remember that each has unique characteristics. For

example, a Longsword is a better offensive Weapon than a regular Sword;

but a regular Sword is a better defensive Weapon.


Offer investment plans for your money. The higher the interest

rates, the greater the risk. They sometimes offer money for gems and

jewelry. Banks have regular hours; you can't do business in the middle

of the night!


Offer a variety of wares, usually ornamental. If you become

wealthy, you may want to deck yourself out according to your station.


There are Places of Healing in The City. Like clinics

everywhere, a fee is charged for services. There are some effects of

Disease or Poison that don't show up right away, so don't wait! If

you're wounded, ill, or poisoned, see a Healer as soon as possible.


Guilds are very particular about accepting new pledges, so don't

expect to be welcomed as a member on your first visit. However, even a

first visit is rewarded with Character-enhancing knowledge. And, for a

fee, any Guild will help you get rid of a Cursed Weapon.


takes many forms: Jewelry, Weapons, Armor, Potions, Money, and

other special items. All treasure, except gold, silver, and copper, is

potentially Magical or Cursed. Pick something up to discover its unique

properties. magical items are valuable; Cursed items can be a source of

great despair.


Are obtained after Encounters or found in Treasure.

Take them to a Bank for appraisal, and sell them. Appraisals vary from

Bank to Bank.


Are necessary for survival. Even if you abhor violence, you

need a Weapon for self-defense. Some creatures in The City will attack

you, no matter how nice you are, and bare hands are rarely useful.

There are three ways to acquire Weapons:

1. Finding them after an encounter

2. Finding them after uncovering a Treasure

3. Buying them from a Smithy

Always examine a weapon carefully before picking it up. The more

Intelligent you are, the easier it is for you to tell if it's Magical or

Mundane (normal). magical means it has special properties: it's very

valuable or it's Cursed. Once you pick up a Cursed Weapon, you can't

Drop it; you need help to get rid of it. Pick up any Weapon you ind and

a Secondary Weapon. This way, if it's Cursed, you aren't stuck with it

as a Primary Weapon while you travel to a Guild for help. NOTE: A shield

should always be used as a Secondary Weapon.

If you find a Weapon you want while carrying the maximum load, Drop one

of the Weapons you already have to Pick it up. A Weapon must be Ready

as either Primary or Secondary Weapon in order to be dropped. Follow

the prompts.


Some Potions are beneficial in advancing your Character. When

you find a Potion, decide whether to Keep it, Leave it, or Use it. Once

you Open a Potion, Examine or use it right away. The Potion

deteriorates once the seal on the container is broken. Examine a Potion

for color. To find out more, Sip or Taste it. Each Sip or Taste tells

you a little more about the Potion. Many Potions are unstable and

disappear during examination. To save a Potion for later, don't Open

until you're ready to use it.

There are four major categories of Potions:

Benign: Water, Fruit Juice, Milk, Mineral Water

Advantageous: Invulnerability, Cure, Potions to aid Stats

Disadvantageous: Strong Alcohol, Potions to Diminish Stats, Weak Poisons

Dangerous: Strong Poisons, Acids


In your system usually causes death. When poisoned, you sustain

initial Hit Point and neurological damage in line with the strength of

the Poison. If you're lucky enough to find a Potion that cures Poison,

drink it. Otherwise, fond a Healer right away.

There are four ways you can be poisoned:

1. Swallowing poisonous Potions

2. Being clawed by a poisonous creature during an Encounter

3. Being bitten by a poisonous creature during an Encounter

4. Being hit by a poisonous tail during an Encounter


Untreated, causes death. Contracting a Disease results in Hit

Point and neurological damage in line with the severity of the

infection. If you get a Disease, drink a Potion that Cleanses or seek

out a Healer. if you're clawed or bitten in an Encounter, find a Healer

to prevent possible infection.

There are three ways to contract Disease:

1. Contact with bacterial spores from Mold and Slime

2. Being clawed by a diseased creature

3. Being bitten by a diseased creature


With beings in The City are common. The five categories of

Encounters are listed below in order most favorable to you.

1. You Surprise a life form.

2. You Notice a life form (before it sees you)

3. You See a life form at the same time it sees you

4. A life form Notices you first

5. You are Surprised by a life form

In an Encounter, you are either Engaged or Disengaged. There are

separate menus for each of these options.

ENGAGED means you must battle the life form or try to become Disengaged:

SNEAK ATTACK is available when you Surprised a life form. Since your

opponent is unaware of your presence, you have the advantage.

LUNGE is a two-handed blow that can land with great force. BEWARE: if

this blow fails, you have virtually no defense against retaliation.

ATTACK is the standard fighting maneuver. You move offensively while

maintaining a decent defense.

PARRY is an offensive move offering the highest possible defensive


DISENGAGED lets you deal with your opponent in a less violent manner:

TRICK an opponent if you're Intelligent. If a Trick fails, try it

again. BEWARE: You're not prepared for defense if the Trick fails.

CHARM an opponent if your Charm level is high.

Some options are in either menu:

READY item if you have something appropriate, like a Weapon.

USE item you have ready.

LEAVE out of the encounter.

Tailor your Encounter strategy to fit your condition and the kind of

life form confronting you. It's easier to Trick a Warrior than a Master

Thief. Don't expect to Charm or Trick mindless life forms; you'd look

pretty silly trying to Charm Mold!


There are many life forms in The City:

THE POOR are humanoids who have no ambition or have met with some

catastrophe that has put them in dire straits.

COMMONER These are individuals with no special skills or distinctions.

MERCHANT You usually see these capitalist types on their way to or from

wheeling-and-dealing. They work hard to keep The City's economy


COURIERS There's no telephone or telegraph, so Couriers are necessary

for delivering messages as well as parcels.

GUARD Most Guards are employed by the nobility. They're The City's


GLADIATORS are proven fighters from the Arena Games.

NOBLEMEN are rich and powerful. They live in the Palace and are fond of

Games in the Arena. When out in public, they're attended by their

private Guards.

DWARF Short (4 feet tall) and stocky (150 pounds), Dwarves are

interesting characters. They're resistant to many poisons and Magic

Spells, have excellent night vision, and are terrific close combat


MAGES, WIZARDS an other magical types dwell in The City. Most are

associated with Guilds or other learning institutions.

THIEF There are many Thieves in The City, each with his own criminal


Assassin Hired killers strike swiftly, without warning.

IMP Short (2 feet), devilish fire-breathers, Imps have long, dagger-

like, poisonous tails. Avoid them!

Night Stalker Legendary creature of the night. An extremely powerful

beast that no one can be certain doesn't exist.

OTHERS There are many other creatures, mostly evil, in The City. You

must be constantly vigilant.


THE DUNGEON is a world shrouded in mystery. This subterranean realm

feeds off your terror and serves it back to you. Rich treasure and

exciting adventure await you beneath The City. Are you strong enough to

take the risk?

When The Dungeon is conquered, you're ready for the challenge of THE

AREANA. For the first time, you see and control yourself in actual

combat. If you survive your first contest, you have the privilege of

mingling with the martial arts scholars who live in The Arena.

THE PALACE bring you to the pinnacle of life in The City. The Castle

and other upper-class establishments are now open to you. You may buy

property in The City and have a home to return to at night. Your social

standing continues to grow, your knowledge and strength increase, until

you are ready to travel into the world beyond The City.

THE WILDERNESS takes you beyond the gates of The City and leads to the

mountains that have tantalized you ever since your arrival. You travel

over hot deserts, through thick forests, perhaps even over water, until

you reach your rocky goal. You cannot climb the mountains, but there is

a way in.

REVELATION begins where The Wilderness ends. The answers to all your

questions about Alternate Reality are now revealed. You make startling

discoveries and prepare yourself for the final step.

DESTINY is the last episode in the adventure. Here you must make the

ultimate moral decision: Return to Earth or seek revenge on your


These Alternate Reality episodes will be available for Atari, Apple II

series, Commodore 64/128, IBM PC/PCjr, Amiga, Atari ST, and Macintosh


Atari 8-bit reference card:

Alternate Reality

The City

Programmed by Philip Price

Microscreen Art by Craig Skinner

Music by Gary Gilbertson

Documentation by Kathi B. Tremblay

Here's how to use your Atari computer to enter Alternate Reality. Read

the Guidebook before loading the game. It has information you'll need

in The City.


* Atari 400/800/XL series computer (48K)

* Compatible disk drives (1 or 2)

* TV or video monitor

* Joystick

* Blank, FORMATTED disk (Character Disk - Optional)

* Alternate Reality - The City game diskettes (2)


1. Turn off the computer and connect a joystick.

2. Place Disk 1, Side 1 in the drive (with two drives, place Disk 2,

Side 1 in the second drive). Turn on the drive and the computer. If

the wrong disk is in the drive, the game asks for the correct one. With

two drives, the game checks both drives for the correct disk.

3. When the game is loaded, follow the prompts.

4. Once you're familiar with the game, press Start to bypass the opening

scenario. This takes you directly to the Character Decision menu.

NOTE: If you have two drives, you can avoid turning disks over during

gameplay. When the game asks for Side 2 of Disk 2, put your backup copy

of Disk 2, Side 2 in the first drive. Lave Disk 2, Side 1 in the second



The Character Decision menu offers four options:

Hit N to become a new person

Hit E to resume an existing one

Hit I to initialize a Character Disk

Hit T for a temporary character


remove the Alternate Reality disk from the drive and insert a blank,

formatted disk. Press any key to continue. NOTE: INITIALIZING DOESN'T

FORMAT THE DISK. It simply prepares the disk for use as a Character

Disk. See your Atari user's guide for formatting instructions.

PRESS N TO CREATE A CHARACTER. Press Return. As prompted, type a

Character name (up to 31 letters, including Secret Name) and press

Return. The next prompt is Verify your name. Type the name again and

press Return. You're prompted to remove the AR disk and insert a

Character disk. You can store up to four characters on a Character

Disk, but you can only play with one at a time.


FOR A SECRET NAME. Example: You want a character named Morag with the

Secret Name, Morag Giant. When prompted to name your character, type

Morag. Press Control and type Giant. Press return. Only Morag appears

on the screen. Verify the full name when prompted, pressing Control

again for the Secret part. To access this character, type the full name,

using the Control key for the Secret Name. Secret letters can be used

before, after or within a character's name, or for the entire name (up

to 31 letters).

PRESS T FOR A TEMPORARY CHARACTER. Follow the prompts, pressing Return

after each response. You can't save this character, but it's useful for

getting into the game quickly to look around and get the feel of the



At the prompt, type the ID number corresponding to the name you're

using. Type the name (when prompted) and press Return. To return to

the Character Decision menu, press Return instead of typing a name.


the Option key instead of typing a name. If you make an error when

typing a character name, hit Return when the program asks you to verify

the name.

After selecting from the Character Decision menu, you're at the door to

enter The City.


save your character when you're ready to stop playing. Press S. You're

prompted to remove the AR dish, insert the Character Disk, and press

Start. To play again, reload, select the saved character from the

Character Decision menu, and the game resumes at the point you stopped.

NOTE: Save the character to disk or you'll loose it when you turn off

the computer.


Finding your way around The City is simplified by use of a compass,

available for purchase at most Shops in The City. If you buy a compass,

press the Select key until you see it. The direction you're heading

will always be topmost on the compass (the arrow always points North.)


The Joystick controls physical movement.

* Enter The City in the beginning scene by pushing up on the joystick.

* Move Forward by pushing up on the joystick.

* Move Back by pulling down on the joystick.

* To Turn Right or Left, press the Fire button while pushing the

joystick to the right or left.

* To Enter a shop or store, push up on the joystick. Follow the

prompts. Pull down on the joystick to Exit. It's possible to back

through a doorway.


To play without a joystick, use the keyboard commands shown in the

diagram below.

NOTE: You must use a joystick to exit Banks and some other


Up: I

Left: J Right: L

Down: K

* Press I to enter The City in the beginning scene.

* To enter a shop or store, press I. Follow the Prompts.

You also use the keypad to interact with business establishments, review

and position your belongings, and during Encounters.

* A Menu at the bottom of the screen displays your options. Each option

has a flashing letter or number. To choose, press the appropriate

flashing character. In some situations, there is no flashing character.

Either hit any key or answer Yes or No, where appropriate.

* Press the Select key to get a full account of your condition. Repeat

until you've seen all the information and are back in normal operating


* Defend yourself with either hand in an Encounter. Press U to switch


* Press R to ready weapons for use. Follow the prompts.

* Press D to drop items. This is usually done to make room for new

acquisitions, since how much you can carry is limited.

* Press U to Use Potions in your possession. You can't Use Potions

during an Encounter.

* Press P to pause the game. Press P again to resume play.

* Press S to save a character. Follow the prompts.

This text thanks to

-Silverblade the Grey Wanderer (46 Jaguar games and counting,

MST3K # 65531, Founding member: Gonzo for Electric Blanket Movement)

"In the not too distant future..." COME ON SCI-FI!

Htmlized by Matt Roller,