[Calisto Software]
16K Cassette
Programming: Michael Hedley


REVIEW by AtariGrub

This game is a nightmare! No, really. You control Arthur in his nightmare as he is pursued by an array of enemies including Robots, Skeletons, Ghosts, Aliens and Cannibals. Using his trusty shovel, you as Arthur must dig holes and then with a sharp blow to the head, dispatch each enemy to their deaths in the platforms below. On the early levels, the main pursuers are Robots, which can be killed by being knocked down just to the next level. However, the later enemies are not only faster, but need an increasing number of levels to fall though in order to be vanquished from Arthur's nightmare. Skeletons (2 levels), Ghost (3 levels), Alien (4 levels) and finally the Cannibals (5 level drop).

The difficulty level, including a Random option can be selected from the Main title screen, with Cannibal being the hardest. Robot and Skeleton levels begin with two pursuers on the screen, but this is increased by an extra pursuer after the completion of a level. Bonus points are awarded for the amount of time left on the 2 minute counter at the bottom of the screen. If the level isn't completed in time or an enemy touches Arthur, then one of your three lives is lost.

The main problem with this game for me was boredom and frustration. Boredom from having nothing more to do in the game than dig holes and then frantically pressing the fire button to hit the enemies on the head. And frustration from having to wait for each pursuer to wander up and down the levels, before finally falling into my trap. I can only think the title for this game was derived from the feeling of wanting to gnaw my own arms off from the sheer nightmare that is this game!

Cannibals is basically a copy of the arcade game Space Panic (1980), which is possibly the first ever platform game, although Donkey Kong would later take that accolade with the first platform jumping character Mario. Broderbund had already released a Space Panic clone in 1982, called Apple Panic and this would be followed by the extremely popular Lode Runner, an offspring of Space Panic, featuring a larger play area and the additional gameplay feature of gold bar collecting. Unfortunately for Cannibals, which was released in the same year, it already feels past its shelf life. The only thing left to increase Cannibals longevity, if only by a few minutes, is the two player turn-based game. However, I found the game so difficult on the hardest level that I never did see more than one cannibal!

"A Nightmare!"

End of Game Music


Always allow yourself access to ladders, whilst digging holes. Also, remember you can fall the full length of the screen without getting injured - use this to your advantage if you have to make a hasty escape!



CLICK HERE to Download an Unlimited Lives file for use in the Atari 800Win Emulator.

Other Versions:

SPACE PANIC (Arcade - 1980)

APPLE PANIC (Atari 8-bit - 1982)


Space Panic, the Original 1980 arcade game from Universal was set in outer space with an oxygen depleting time limit and pursuing aliens to bury. Possibly the first ever platform orientated arcade game, although it was the 1981 release of Donkey Kong that would became the inspiration for the platform game revolution.

Apple Panic (1982) by Broderbund was a clone of Space Panic and although released on the Atari 8-bit format, it is probably more fondly remembered on the Apple II.


Killer List of Video Games - Space Panic
(Information and Images on the original 1980 Universal arcade game)

The Arcade Flyer Archive - Space Panic
(Large scans of two original flyers for the 1980 Universal arcade game)

Cannibal holocaust (1980 horror movie)
(This was the original Blair Witch Project, although still only a movie!) (Warning:18 years and over)

Hannibal (2001)
(Official Site of the Ridley Scott film, starring Anthony Hopkins as Dr. Hannibal Lecter)