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.
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
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:
DATASOFT CUSTOMER SERVICE
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,
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
GEMS AND JEWELRY
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
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
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.
COMING SOON IN THE ALTERNATE REALITY SERIES FROM DATASOFT
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:
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
* 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
PRESS I TO INITIALIZE A DISK TO USE AS A CHARACTER DISK. As prompted,
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.
TO PREVENT ANYONE ELSE FROM USING YOUR CHARACTER, USE THE CONTROL KEY
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
PRESS E IF YOU ALREADY HAVE A CHARACTER FROM A PREVIOUS VENTURE INTO AR.
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.
IF YOU MAKE A WRONG SELECTION FROM THE CHARACTER DECISION MENU, press
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
After selecting from the Character Decision menu, you're at the door to
enter The City.
TO SAVE A CHARACTER
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
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
NOTE: You must use a joystick to exit Banks and some other
Left: J Right: L
* 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
Htmlized by Matt Roller, http://www.cc.utah.edu/~krw8466