IV. Game Elements


Sam s Projectiles

As Sam flies through the levels, he will be able to pick up a variety of different projectiles he can use in defeating his enemies. Different projectiles will work better or worse against different specific adversaries in different situations, and as such the player will have to constantly be selecting the most effective projectile for any given moment. The different projectiles are as follows :

  • Goo-Balls: Greenish balls of a sticky substance, which make ground-based or wall-crawling monsters stick to their surface. Depending on the strength of the creature, it may end up stuck there just briefly or forever.

  • Water Balloons: Able to disable robots with exposed wiring by causing them to short-circuit. Robots with protective coverings may require multiple hits to short-circuit .

  • Magneto-Mass: A powerful magnet attached to a heavy weight, which will stick to metallic flying robots and drag them down to the ground.

  • Spring-Cage: A small black cube with six rods sticking out of it. On impact with a target the Spring-Cage will expand to surround the target, entrapping it in a strong cage. Works best against small flying adversaries; larger enemies will be able to smash out of the cage.

  • EM Disrupter: A small sphere that, when thrown, will fly a distance and then activate, rendering all electrical equipment within a certain radius of the Disrupter immobile. Flying robots will plummet to the ground, robots that cling to the walls will fall off, and ground robots will grind to a halt. The EM Disrupter does not work on humans or atomic- powered robots. The player will have to be careful when using the EM Disrupter while he has the Electric Piranha (as described in the Game Mechanics section), as the device will also cause Sam s Piranha to cease functioning and clatter to the ground below.

  • Bubble Wand: Similar to the bubble wands/rings used by children to blow soap bubbles, this wand produces much stronger bubbles that will envelop a target and prevent it from escaping, at least for a few minutes. One of the more effective of Sam s throwable objects in the game, the Bubble Wand won t work on enemies with sharp objects, spikes, or propellers on them.

  • Atomic Bola: One of the most powerful projectiles in the game, this looks like a traditional bola: two black spheres connected by wire. But these bolas are powered, and when the bola starts to wrap around a target the engines in the bola-balls activate, causing the bola to wrap around the target many times, very tightly. The Atomic Bola will not work on any flying adversaries that have any sort of propellers or rotor blades on them.

Rocket Enhancements

The player will be able to get various improvements to Sam s rocket-pack throughout the game, either through having an NPC tinker with the pack and make an improvement, or through an add-on that Sam can find and simply install himself. These enhancements provide a range of improvements to Sam s abilities .

  • Burst-Master: The Burst-Master is a simple modification to the pack that will cause it to have much faster speed when the player uses the pack s speed burst functionality.

  • Speedifier: The Speedifier will cause the overall speed of the rocket-pack to improve, such that Sam can navigate the world at a higher speed than he could before getting the enhancement.

  • Gyromatic: The Gyromatic will grant Sam much more stable flight using the rocket-pack, allowing him to stop and start much quicker, instead of having to coast to a stop. The Gyromatic is a simple snap-on attachment to the pack that Sam can easily install himself.

  • Atomic Compressor: A simple box with a dial on it that can attach to the side of the pack, this device will provide Sam with a longer flight time. The device works using a unique method to compress the atomic energy the pack constantly generates, thereby allowing the pack to store more of it at any one time.


Atomic Sam will also include other miscellaneous devices that Sam is able to pick up. These devices have a variety of functionalities that will improve Sam s abilities to navigate and survive the levels.

  • Electric Piranha: Throughout the levels Sam will find numerous Electric Piranha ” small devices that will swim through the air around Sam and deflect attacks for him. The full functionality of the Electric Piranha is described in the Game Mechanics section.

  • The Spidersonic: The Spidersonic kit allows Sam to stick to any vertical surface as a spider would. Using this kit, Sam can grab onto the side of a building and stop flying, allowing his pack time to recharge before he flies on to the next location.

  • Moon Suit: Found in New Boston, this handy Moon Suit will allow Sam to travel outside of the Moon colony and survive on the surface of the Moon. Fortunately, Sam s rocket-pack and utility belt can both be placed outside the suit so that Sam will be able to continue to fly and throw projectiles, though both will be affected differently by the Moon s gravity.


Sam will encounter a variety of characters in Atomic Sam . These include both friends and allies as well as enemies and, eventually, the man who kidnapped his parents.

Atomic Sam

The player controls Atomic Sam, a ten-year-old with a rocket-pack who uses his wits and dexterity to evade countless robotic and human adversaries throughout the game, not to mention navigating tricky areas, all in order to find his parents. Sam is about three feet tall and wears brown jodhpurs with a red aviator s jacket, the latter with gold trim. He also has a brown leather belt with various pouches on it. The large, clunky , moon boot type boots that Sam wears are silver in color . On his back is mounted the atomic-powered rocket-pack he uses to fly. It is a fairly small, compact device that is several inches narrower than the width of his shoulders, and several inches shorter than the distance from his belt to his neck. Sam has short black hair and wears a pair of 1930s-style aviator goggles. Sam s abilities are covered throughout this document. Sam s personality is what would be expected of a ten-year-old boy of the bright future: optimistic and smart. At the same time, Sam is without his parents for the first time in his life, and is somewhat frightened of the world he must now explore on his own.

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  • Xeraphina: In Benthos, Sam will meet a twelve-year-old girl named Xeraphina. A daughter of artists , Xeraphina has grown up entirely in Benthos, and has never seen the surface, a place she dearly longs to go. Xeraphina is able to glide around the city using a unique set of wings her parents invented, and will help Sam in his battles against his robotic adversaries. Xeraphina wears a tight-fitting light green outfit, with semi-translucent green shawls flowing around her body as she flies through the air. Her wings are made of a less translucent crystalline substance, are a darker jade green color, and are a good eight feet from tip to tip. Attached at her shoulder blades, they are a rigid construction, but flap slightly when she flies. She has a very friendly smile and wears her long brown hair in a bun behind her head, with a small paintbrush stuck through it to keep it in place.

  • Scrap: In Harmony, Sam will meet Scrap, a shiny-new, recently constructed robot no more than a few weeks old. Scrap is a very friendly fellow who enjoys using his high-pitched voice to tell jokes whenever he can; puns are his specialty. In many ways, Scrap behaves like a robotic version of a ten-year-old, and dreads the day that he will be sent off to his work assignment, though he does not yet know what it is. Scrap is happy being a robot, but just wishes he would never have to grow up, and dreams of a life traveling the world. Scrap is about Sam s size and is humanoid in form, except that he has four arms and a particularly small head. Scrap can use his pogo-stick-like legs to jump great distances, helping Sam to defeat his robotic adversaries in whatever way he can.

  • Dulo: Dulo is Sam s parents assistant. His general appearance as a Torso Moonie is described fully in the Moonie description below. In particular, Dulo wears special purple bracelets that he likes very much, which will help to make him stand out from the other Moonies, who all pretty much look the same, at least within the Torso or Bi-Header groups. Dulo is able to hop around and help Sam in defeating the robotic adversaries; his long tentacles are well suited to grabbing the robots out of the air and smashing them on the Moon s surface.

Other Characters

  • Electric Priestess: The Electric Priestess is the mysterious woman who helps Sam to find out what happened to his parents and provides him with much useful information about the world. By the end of the story, the player learns that the Priestess is actually Max Zeffir s sister and was also one of his chief researchers. She lost her leg in a zeppelin accident due to Zeffir s lax safety standards. The Electric Priestess continues to love her brother, while despising the money-hoarding madman that he has become. The Priestess dresses in a long jade-green dress with a large black hat that partially obscures her face. She has only one leg remaining, the other having been replaced by a clunky, robotic prosthesis.

  • Ike: In Harmony Sam meets Ike, an old robot assistant his parents had some years ago of whom they grew very fond. Unlike many owners , when Ike got old Sam s parents released him from his work for them instead of just shutting him off, and allowed him to return to Harmony to live out his time with other robots. Ike is quite smart, though his memory is failing, as is explained in the Game Progression section. Ike does not say much, but once his memory is activated he will speak with great love and respect for Sam s parents. Ike looks a bit older in design than many of the other robots Sam will find, with a boxy, clunky shape and a larger frame than many newer robots, such as Scrap. He is also quite slow moving because of his age. Ike moves around on tank treads, and was designed with only one arm, a long, five-jointed limb connected to his torso in the middle of his chest.

  • Tool: Tool is the robot doctor whom Sam will need to locate in Harmony in order to save Ike. Tool is a huge robot who looks like he would be very violent and destructive. Instead he is very kind and caring, in a gentle giant sort of way. Tool is mute, and speaks only through a text display in the middle of his chest. Tool floats through the air a short distance above the ground using an anti-gravity unit he wears around his waist. When operating on robots, Tool does not use the massive arms and fists that are attached to his upper torso. Instead, a small compartment springs open in his chest from which small, spindly robotic arms pop out to do precision work.

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  • Moonies: Moonies, as Earthlings call them, average about four feet in height and hop around on the lower half of their bodies (they have no legs). For arms they have two tentacles, one on either side, which are quite long and strong, yet prehensile enough to use a human pen to write. Though the Moonies are asexual, there are two different physical varieties of the creatures ; one with two heads that sit atop their bodies as humanoid heads do (which Earthlings call Bi-Headers ), and another that has no head at all, but instead has its eyes and mouth located on its torso (which Earthlings call Torsos ). The Moonies also have white bumps on their bodies that can glow when necessary, allowing them to maneuver through dark areas. This lighting is necessary for them to navigate on the Dark Side of the Moon, where they have lived for all their recorded history.


Arctic Immobilizer Blimp The Arctic Immobilizer Blimp (AIB) is an easy to middle difficulty robotic adversary that Sam will have to disable or evade. Shaped like a cylinder, made of shiny, silvery metal, and suspended from a miniature zeppelin, the AIB floats through the air at a relatively slow speed, being propelled forward by a small rear propeller. Two metal claws extend from either side of the tube, and the AIB will wiggle these claws menacingly at Sam. The front end of the cylinder has four metal spikes that close over the front opening. The AIB will be able to move up and down (again, at slow velocity) in order to line up with Sam and attempt to attack him, but its slow speed will prevent the AIB from giving chase if Sam successfully evades it and flies away. Since the AIB flies, if Sam uses the Goo-Balls on it they will have no effect. One of the best projectiles for defeating the AIB will be the Magneto-Mass, which will quickly bring the enemy to the ground.

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The enemy has two attacks, one a melee attack and the other a mid-range attack.

  • Claw Attack: If in close range, the AIB will be able to slice at Sam with its two claws, possibly cutting off his rocket-pack. Sam will need to avoid getting in close range of the AIB in order to avoid this fate.

  • Freeze Mist Attack: For the AIB s second attack, the four metal spikes that cover the front of the tube will fan outward, revealing a small nozzle. From this nozzle will come a liquid spray, which will freeze whatever it contacts. The spray generates a cloud of mist in front of the AIB, and if Sam comes in contact with this cloud before it dissipates he will be frozen solid in a block of ice and plummet to the ground.

Arachnaught The Arachnaught is a fairly easy to defeat robotic enemy. The Arachnaught looks approximately like a four-legged spider, with each leg being a three-jointed appendage with a spiked end. The legs all come together at a fairly small main body, which contains a curved vision-sensor that gives the creature a good range of sight. The Arachnaught cannot fly at all, but instead can climb up the sides of buildings just as easily as walking on the ground. The Arachnaught moves quite quickly, in a scurrying fashion. Since it crawls on surfaces, the Arachnaught will be impervious to Sam s projectiles that work on flying adversaries, while being particularly susceptible to the Goo-Ball projectiles.

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The Arachnaught has three attacks: melee, projectile, and a short-range tractor beam effect.

  • Claw Attack: The Arachnaught will be able to attack with its sharp legs, devices that will easily allow it to slice off Sam s rocket-pack, thereby incapacitating him.

  • Sticky Web Balls: The Arachnaught can shoot large, slow-moving globs of a uniquely sticky substance. If Sam is on the ground when hit by this substance, he will be stuck to the ground and immobilized. If Sam is in the air, he will be temporarily unable to throw any projectiles, as he attempts to struggle out of the sticky substance. If Sam runs into any surfaces with the web ball still on him, he will stick to that surface and become incapacitated.

  • Web Strand : The Arachnaught s most fiendish weapon may well be its web strand attack. Using this, the Arachnaught can shoot a long strand of webbing toward Sam and, if it hits, can then pull Sam back toward itself. Then, once Sam is close, the Arachnaught can use its claws to rip Sam s pack off, thereby putting him out of commission. Sam will have to fly in the exact opposite direction of the web strand, only breaking free after five seconds of resistance.

Merciless Mercenary Though many of Sam s adversaries in the game will be various robotic constructions, Sam will encounter human foes on Max Zeffir s flying fortress, the Ikairus. Dubbed the Merciless Mercenaries (MMs), these humans are highly trained and will be quite difficult for Sam to evade or incapacitate. Dressed in black uniforms with red trim and fierce-looking steel helmets, the MMs are able to fly by an anti-gravity belt fastened around their waist. The belt allows them to float in the air, and in order to actually propel themselves , the MMs need to perform a swimming type motion. Many of Sam s projectiles will be useless against the MMs; the only effective weapon will be the Atomic Bola, which will wrap around the MMs legs and prevent them from swimming any farther. The MMs are one of the more mobile adversaries Sam will encounter. For this enemy, running away will be hard since the MMs will be able to track Sam and move almost as fast as he does.

The MMs have a total of three attacks: one melee and two ranged.

  • Tri-Power Trident Melee: The MMs carry gold-colored, metal tridents called Tri-Power Tridents, which have two functionalities. The first is as a simple melee attack, used if Sam gets too close. The sharp ends of the Tri-Power Trident will easily be able to rip Sam s rocket-pack right off.

  • Tri-Power Trident Ranged Attack: The second attack of the Tri-Power Trident is to shoot a large, slow-moving mass of light blue, sparking energy into the air. This travels toward Sam, tracking him, but it alone will not hurt him. When it gets close enough to Sam, it stops moving and explodes into six miniature energy balls. These small balls hurtle at great speed in random directions outward fromthe main ball, and if they come into contact with Sam burst into a perfect energy sphere with Sam trapped inside. Unable to break out of the sphere, Sam is now immobile.

  • ElectroNet: Finally, the Mercenaries have an ElectroNet, which they will throw with their other arm (the one that does not have the Tri-Power Trident in it). This net, similar to Sam s Atomic Bola, has heavy black balls at its ends that propel it in the direction thrown. Of course, if the net manages to wrap around Sam, he is incapacitated.

Visionary At the end of Harmony city ” the town that is the hub of robot manufacturing ” Atomic Sam will face a fierce boss enemy. In appearance the Visionary is a giant eyeball-like mechanism, with two metal structures on each side, both of which have helicopter blades on them. These blades keep the Visionary aloft, giving it great maneuverability. The Visionary can travel up and down at speeds much faster than Atomic Sam can manage with his rocket-pack, though it is a bit slower at turning than Sam.

From the bottom of the eyeball emerge three steel tentacles, each with a different-mechanism on its end. Each of these devices is the basis for one of the Visionary s three attacks.

  • Electric Blades: One tentacle features three rotating blades that all point in the same direction like a claw. These blades continually rotate menacingly. Their real power, however, is to shoot an electric shock wave that can stun Sam into unconsciousness. The blades spin up to a high-speed whirlwind and then unleash the blast from their center. This ranged beam style attack will be tricky for the player to avoid; once the player sees the Visionary s blades start spinning at high speed, she must be careful to move Sam out of the path of whichever direction the blades are pointing.

  • Magnet: One tentacle has a giant, U-shaped magnet on the end of it. The Visionary can turn on this magnet, attracting the metal in Sam s rocket-pack and sucking the player toward the robot. Sam will have to use all his dexterity to avoid getting too close to the enemy, where the robot will be able to rip Sam s rocket-pack off using the tentacle arm with the blade attachment.

  • Smog: The third tentacle has a giant funnel on its end. From this funnel the Visionary can shoot a thick, black cloud of gas, which will cause Sam to have an uncontrollable (and game-ending) coughing fit should he be so unfortunate as to fly into it. This smog cloud will hang in the air for some time after the Visionary shoots it, and the player will have to be careful not to fly into that cloud until it dissipates.

As with all the boss monsters in the game, most of Sam s regular projectiles will not be very effective against the Visionary. They may slow down the robot for a short time, but they will not permanently defeat it. The player will need to use the setup of the level itself in order to incapacitate the Visionary. This makes defeating the boss less a matter of dexterity, repetition, and perseverance , and more about understanding the puzzle, which, once figured out, is not that hard to repeat. Since the player is battling the Visionary at the end of the Harmony levels, the battle will take place in a robot factory. The Visionary emerges from a storage crate riveted to the ceiling at the top of the play area where Sam will battle the robot. Scattered about the area are various appropriate pieces of equipment used in a robot factory, as well as four high-powered fans. Sam will be able to turn on these fans by using his action ability near them. He will also be able to use his Action button to rotate the fans and change the direction they are blowing. By activating and blowing all of the fans upward beneath the storage crate, Sam can create a windy vortex which will be able to push the Visionary ” since it is kept aloft by helicopter blades ” back up into the case. Sam will then, by using a switch near the crate, be able to close the crate and trap the robot inside, hence defeating the creature.

Max Zeffir Zeffir is the founder and owner of Zeffir Zoom, and is widely considered to be the richest man on the planet. Zeffir started acquiring his fortune with his zipper company, Zeffir Zippers, and then moved on to virtually every other industry he possibly could. His companies include the aircraft manufacturer Zeffir Zeppelins, the clothing line Zeffir Zest, and the Zeffir Zeitgeist news network.

Max Zeffir is also the employer of Sam s parents and, as it turns out, the one who kidnapped them in order to keep them quiet. Sam will finally have a showdown with Zeffir in the end-game, where Zeffir will turn out to be quite a formidable opponent himself.

When the player finally meets Zeffir he will be wearing a 1920s-style railroad baron black pinstripe suit with an extra large top hat. Zeffir sports a stringy black mustache and a mischievous grin. Zeffir will battle Sam on his Negativity Platform, so named because it negates the effects of gravity. A circular disk that floats on the air and is much more maneuverable than Sam s rocket-pack, the platform features waist-high handrails, which he holds on to while the platform flies around.

Zeffir s combat will consist of two methods of attacking the player:

  • Robots: Zeffir will battle the player by summoning robots to fight Sam. These will be all manner of robots that Sam has been fighting throughout the game, and they will emerge from various compartments throughout the large, domed room in which Sam and Zeffir battle. Sam will have to defeat these robots as he normally would in the rest of the game. Zeffir will bring out a maximum of three robotic adversaries at a time.

  • Tuning Fork: Zeffir will also hold a six- foot -long tuning-fork-like device in his hand. When Zeffir strikes this bar on the rails of the Negativity Platform, it creates a sonic blast, which he can aim at Sam. If the blast hits Sam, he will be temporarily stunned and have to stop flying and raise his hands up to cover his ears. This will make Sam particularly susceptible to robot attacks, since he will be unable to move or throw projectiles.

The player will be able to defeat Zeffir using a variety of different tactics, which can be used in different combinations:

  • Brute Force: Once hit with a lot of projectiles of the right sort, Zeffir will finally be defeated. Only some of Sam s projectiles will work, however; the Magneto-Mass and Spring-Cage will be ineffective against Zeffir, while the others will slowly wear him down. It will take a lot of hits, however, and Zeffir will do his best to bring out more robots and to blast Sam with his Tuning Fork at the same time. As a result this is the most difficult of the ways to defeat Zeffir, but it is also the most obvious.

  • Disable Negaposts: Zeffir s Negativity Platform is actually held aloft by four Negaposts, which are on the ground in four opposite corners of the room. As Zeffir moves about on the Platform these posts glow. Sam will be able to take out one of the posts by hitting it with three water balloons. When the post goes out of commission, Zeffir temporarily loses control of his craft, only to regain it quickly. Sam will need to incapacitate all four posts before the Negativity Platform will actually stop working and clatter to the ground of the room, where Zeffir will surrender.

  • Get Zeffir s Ear Protection: The player will notice that Zeffir is wearing a bulky pair of ear protectors, large devices that look like headphones but which serve to block out the dangerous sound of the Tuning Fork. If the player is clever enough, he will realize that if he hits the Negativity Platform hard enough the ear protectors will be knocked off of Zeffir. They cannot be knocked off simply by pelting Zeffir with projectiles, however. The player will need to cause Zeffir to steer the Negativity Platform into a larger swinging girder that hangs from the top of the domed room. If Sam is simultaneously pushing the girder while Zeffir is flying toward it, the impact will knock the ear protectors right off. If the player then flies Sam down to where the ear protectors fell, Sam will put them on. Now Sam is immune from Zeffir s blasts and will have a much easier time defeating him, using either brute force or by disabling the Negaposts, as described above.

Game Design Theory and Practice
Game Design: Theory and Practice (2nd Edition) (Wordware Game Developers Library)
ISBN: 1556229127
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2005
Pages: 189

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