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Cart #dragowfall-2 | 2024-05-25 | Code ▽ | Embed ▽ | License: CC4-BY-NC-SA


⬆️⬇️⬅️➡️ move
⭕️ [Z] Fire / Jump
❎ [X] Skip / Continue

Shadowfax + Pitfall! + Dragonfire

Dragowfall is a mashup of these 3 games from the 80's, in the style of Intellivision, all glued together to form a more intense chivalry-themed adventurous experience: upgrade your stats at shops, save damsels in distress, acquire knighthood, get married, choose between greed and Honour!

You start your adventure as a weak bachelor squire with disproportionate ambition and as much recklessness, to the extent that you volunteered to a deadly quest: you offered your loyalty to the duke promising him to bring back his treasures since the Dragonlord took over the castle and the rest of forts in the region will soon be its next targets.


The full game manual is available as PDF file in the Dragowfall Itch.io page here

How to Play


Ride your white horse Shadowfax to reach the castle. On the way you'll encounter several (depends on level) dark horses, some mounted by the Dragonlord's minions. How to zap them: keep ⭕️ pressed and release when the lightning bolt is close to your enemies.
Grab lightning bolts (to refill the yellow bar at the top, you can't zap when empty) and health potions on the way; the red bar at the top is your Health. Hint: zapping wild horses could drop extra bolts and potions, while mounted ones drop more gold items.
Upgrades and shops:
A sign indicates that a mage shop is near, better move towards the top of the screen. You can invest your gold (in yellow at the bottom) to buy upgrades: some will be useful for the Shadowfax stage only (e.g. anything related to lightning bolts) while the rest is about your health and physical resistance and they're always valid for all stages. Note: the more you buy the higher the prices will be on the next shops.


The entrance to the castle must be near but you have to survive this complex maze of dungeons. One does not simply walk on the surface -which has its hazards too-, you'd need to wander underground... especially if you want to gather all gold items and extra potions. The gameplay here is a mix of Pitfall! and Pitfall II: jump pools and vines (the handy vines will appear rarely at higher levels), avoid rolling trunks, birds on the surface, bats and deadly scorpions underground. Far to the left a sign will finally indicate the castle entrance.

Ladders: to safely climb down ladders approach them "diagonally", keep both ⬇️ and left or right pressed, just like the original Pitfall games.
Swinging rope/vine: you don't have to press anything to hold on, as soon as you jump and collide with the rope the hero automatically grabs it and keeps swinging until you either press jump⭕️ or down. Also for the release the momentum/physics are a bit more natural than the fixed hop forward of the original. You're also immune to collisions while swinging.

Rescue the maiden:
A damsel, the daughter of the duke, is held captive in the dark cellar under the main entrance tower. Unless you've already gathered all the gold ingots, a greedy mage is blocking the access to the cellar. See bottom right of the HUD to know how many ingots still need to be found. Once inside, careful since it's pitch-dark and at least one bat is inside. Climb up to the left to reach a trapdoor, press down ⬇️ to reach for the damsel and lift her up. At this point she will follow you. Safely bring her to your horse, Shadowfax will take her back to the duke's residence, even if she's wounded or unconscious (her health will decide the bonus points, you could even lose points if she's in critical condition)


You're inside the castle walls and fireballs are thrown at you: ⭕️ jump or ⬇️ duck to avoid them (or even take shelter walking back at the tower door). As you advance on the drawbridge a ladder will appear, in case you need an extra potion but beware the electric eel.
Behind the door on the left there's the final stage of each level, the treasure hall where you'll come face to face with the Dragon, more fireballs thrown at you, especially on higher levels.
At the top you see two doors, the exit on the left will be unlocked once you gather all treasure items belonging to the duke.

Greed or Honour?

You finally escape the dragon and -before starting a new level- you visit the duke to declare the extent of the recovered treasure (use ⬆️⬇️ to select the percent, 10% is the minimum).
It is suggested to be greedy and keep a good amount of gold for yourself to spend on upgrades early and improve your initial weakness, at least until you're experienced enough.
Giving him back a high percentage will grant you honour and respect (and a higher score as you'll receive that same amount in points).
All the gold recovered in a single level -not spent in upgrades- is considered as current bounty and the percent of gold you give back to the duke at the end of the level is based on such amount; even if you select 100% you will still keep the gold saved on previous levels.

Marriage and Knighthood

While at the duke's court, you might notice a red heart appearing next to the damsel you've just saved. Clearly you've made an impression on her and -yes- you're also selecting the most honourable option declaring 100% of the bounty.
You think you're ready to take the plunge? Maybe too soon?
When you marry the duke's daughter you will:

  • be knighted in an Accolade ceremony with all the trappings, including the tapping of a knighting sword on your shoulders;
  • obtain a better Armour granting more resistance to penetration damage (see Damage section below);
  • receive a remarkable amount of extra points (especially on higher levels);
  • have your spouse sweetly wishing you Godspeed while departing to a new quest.


The game uses pixel-perfect collisions and the damage taken depends on the overlap between the hero and enemies.
In general damage is calculated as -1hp each pixel. While a superficial contact (3 pixels or less) will result in a very short invulnerable state (i-frames, you can tell by the hero flickering) regardless of your upgrades, if the penetration is deeper (4 pixels or more) you will still get the same damage per pixel but the invulnerability lasts longer. You can upgrade to increase this duration and the measurement unit is "frames": the game runs at 60fps (frames per second) so if you upgrade invulnerability to 30 it means you cannot take damage after a hit for half a second.
In the first Shadowfax stage it is slightly different: if the contact is superficial (3 pixels or less) you don't take any damage, it is considered "grazing" and you also score a few points.
Armour: your initial armour grants a maximum damage of 30 per hit. Once you're knighted your armour will further reduce the amount of penetration damage depending on level. For instance becoming knight at level 10 will set the threshold to 20 max dmg.


Items in the treasure hall are worth three times as much.
How many HP you get picking up health potions and lightning bolts can be upgraded in the shop.

Saved progress

The progress is saved at the end of each completed level. If you die you can still ❎ Continue from the last saved state (it works like a checkpoint) while pressing ⭕️ in the main screen will discard your progress and start a new game. Note: even when no "Continue Lvl." is explicitly shown at the bottom of the main screen, you can still choose ❎ to restart a game with the previous random 'seed': you could try this option at the beginning, especially if you failed to beat the Pitfall stage, so the dungeons layout and enemies will be identical to the previous game, it should be easier to beat it on a second run knowing where the hazards were.

Journey / Achievements

At any time during the game you can open the pause menu (P or Enter) and select "Journey" to display useful stats and info on your current game (level, status, armour and upgrades) also you can scroll the list of castles and forts to review the honour obtained in your past quests. Note: on the left you see the tower icons, the more the distance from the left side the longer the path to the castle will be (length of the Shadowfax ride, good chance of gathering more gold and upgrades at shops along the way).
By pressing ⬅️➡️ you can switch between Journey and Achievements page, showing the all-time best results; in the scrollable list the best Honour points for each level are recorded (excluding marriage and rescue bonuses) showing whether the dragon is still undefeated.


Code, art, SFX & Music: by @Heracleum two of the tunes are a tribute to audiovisual project iamamiwhoami (;john and n)
Thanks to:
thisismypassword for creating Shrinko8;
Feedback/proofreading: Trog
Bugs: @2bitchuck , @Jadelombax
you for playing the game!

P#148594 2024-05-19 14:57 ( Edited 2024-06-07 17:02)


Brilliant as always! I love the music, and the Pitfall stages are so nicely done! The nostalgia junkie in me also appreciates the blue Imagic font title banner from Dragonfire :).

FYI, I ran into a crash completely by accident. It's repeatable, so probably easy to find/fix. The first time I played, I pressed X on the title screen, then mistakenly pressed X on the level select screen instead of Z. The "Start Level 1" screen appeared briefly and then I got this crash:

I was able to repeat this every time. However, when I pressed Z on the level select screen and then played through the game once, this didn't happen anymore, even when pressing X instead of Z.

P#148637 2024-05-19 15:58

Looks very neat, but I encountered a couple game-breaking bugs before getting far. When starting, I pressed x and the game shut down with an error message, and when playing the 1st level, most of my shots didn't travel any distance before exploding.

P#148638 2024-05-19 16:25 ( Edited 2024-05-19 16:34)

Yep looks like you both had the same issue starting with X (which is kind of an hidden trick to restart with the same seed as the previous run but yeah at the very first launch in fact there is no previous game 🤔).

Edit: Ok I see, you start with X and it immediately tries to switch to a "game over" screen since there is no game, I think I'll avoid the crash but keep the Gameover (until the player starts with O button at least once) since the fix doesn't require any token but just a few chars (except I'm at 99.99% compressed chars 🙄)

@JadeLombax "my shots didn't travel any distance before exploding"
yes -as in the original Shadowfax game- you have to keep the button pressed for travel distance and release it to explode when on target

Thanks a lot to both!

P#148639 2024-05-19 16:48 ( Edited 2024-05-19 16:58)

@2bitchuck it's fixed, now first X ever does not crash, softly lands to a Game over screen ("Journey ends.. too soon" 😌)
I've added both of you in Bugs section but for some reason bbs post is not linking to your profiles, weird (you didn't get the notification either, I assume).

I also changed label image since it was messed up in splore (it contained more than 16 cols, like in most screens of this game).
How is the flicker working for you in the browser? it seems like 60fps is way more consistent in newer releases of the browser (Chrome/Edge).
In case disable Flicker from pause menu.

P#148648 2024-05-19 19:16

@Heracleum Yeah, no notification. I've seen this happen every now and then on the BBS where sometimes usernames will link and sometimes not. No idea what causes it. I did get a notification for your comment though!

P#148649 2024-05-19 19:44

bug report: I ran load #dragowfall-1 in my local pico8 (026b) and the game wouldn't start for me -- on the "start level 1" splash screen, I press X and various other buttons but it doesn't seem to respond. then a second or two later it shows me the "game over" splash screen.

edit: um, and while typing up this message the behavior changed?? the game starts just fine now. bizarre. Ah, but deleting my cartdata txt file brings back the broken behavior. I think the game itself might be playing in the background -- I see "nay!" text pop up on top of the "start level 1" splashscreen

P#148669 2024-05-20 03:08 ( Edited 2024-05-20 06:36)

@pancelor Yes pressing X the very first time (note the UI asks to press ⭕️ to start not x) tries to restart an empty game and immediately switches to game over (fun fact the Nay! appears on the horse butt 😆).
It's quirky but now it doesn't crash and disappears once you regularly start with ⭕️.

P#148677 2024-05-20 08:16 ( Edited 2024-05-20 09:09)

Fantastic combination of the source material with your own theme, and amazing use of the more-than-16-colors trick to great effect, especially the skies! I love the way the pitfall ropes swing, looks very natural, but I couldn't figure out how to stay on.. holding or letting go of the button both seemed to drop me into the pit, and I died.. time to give it another shot!

P#148702 2024-05-20 14:11

@kozm0naut yes the scanlines trick already brings the total colours on screen to 24-25, plus there's the (opt-in) flicker creating smooth gradients 🌈 and the illusion of even more colours.
Oh right the vine/rope, I forgot to explain in the game description.
Basically you don't have to press anything to hold on, as soon as you jump and collide with the rope the hero automatically grabs it and keeps swinging until you either press jump⭕️ or down. Also for the release the momentum/physics are a bit more natural than the fixed jump in the original.
You're also immune to collisions while swinging. I'm adding these to the manual. Thanks!

P#148719 2024-05-20 16:05

Gameplay like this was the core of the 80s game experience and it is captured and improved upon so much in this mashup. From the excellent sprites and smooth animation to the classic one-color Atari-age pickups, excellent soundtrack, an inviting sense of curated randomness, and depth of play, this cart is a rich and repeatable experience that would have been an instant classic if it were released back when.

Heracleum’s distinctive art style is infused throughout the game and brings a lot of extra character and story immersion to a game that could have just been a walk-to-get-treasure experience. Instead, it is elevated to an illustrated tale of classic heroism which bestows a sense of excitement for discovering what’s awaiting just around the corner. I’m looking forward to getting better at the game and delving into the various character-building experiences and challenges that this game offers. Excellent!

P#148925 2024-05-25 02:41

Cart updated to v2

  • Tweaked superficial damage (3px or less) increasing base i-frames, now especially the Pitfall stage should be less problematic;
  • Fixed an annoying visual glitch while climbing down ladders through holes;
  • The pitch of the "ow!" sfx on collisions is now aligned to actual damage taken (hero shouldn't scream like a girl on hard hits while protected by a good armour)

@Trog thanks a lot! ✨

P#148961 2024-05-25 23:16

This is an amazing piece of work man, congrats. It's amazing that you packed so much into this.

P#149232 2024-05-31 11:36

@pomb thanks!! Yes I'm just kinda disappointed that two details couldn't make it into the final cart:
1) the archer in Dragonfire: at least in the Intellivision version there's an archer at the top of the tower adding more threats to the level by shooting his arrows (but it wasn't present in the Atari version so ok)
2) the iconic crocs in the Pitfall! stage (I feel bad for this missing detail, they're even in the official cover art, and I imagine Pitfall fans would expect to jump on the crocs heads 🐊)

P#149237 2024-05-31 13:19

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