Montezuma's Revenge

aka: Montezuma's Revenge: Featuring Panama Joe, Panama Joe, Predatore
Moby ID: 1178
PC Booter Specs

Description official descriptions

You play as a treasure hunter named Panama Joe, whose goal is to find an ancient treasure hidden by Aztec warrior deep inside catacombs. But beware, the catacombs are a large maze inhabited by monsters. Bouncing and rolling skulls, dancing spiders, disappearing and re-appearing chains and tons of fire await you. You'll have to find many keys and unlock doors in order to reach your goal. Panama Joe can jump and climb ladders, but doesn't have much to offer in terms of combat. That's why the monsters in the game should be avoided: a collision with an enemy leads to a premature death. He will also find amulets which make him invulnerable for a short time. Except for the Master System version, they are activated directly when picked up.

The Atari 2600 port is a truncated version of the game and has only 24 rooms instead of 100. The room layouts are more of an approximation of the original version than being a direct copy due to the limited power of the console. The ZX Spectrum version has identical room layouts, however, the rooms are arranged differently and a few were removed. The Normal Distribution port has both a retro and modern mode. While the retro mode attempts to be faithful to the original version, the modern mode offers enhanced visuals plus has scrolling instead of the flip-screen of the original.

Groups +



Credits (ZX Spectrum version)

4 People

Software (c)
  • Parker Brothers
  • Division of CPG Products Corp.
Documentation and Packaging (c)
  • Sinclair Research Ltd 1984
Illustration (c) 1984



Average score: 73% (based on 15 ratings)


Average score: 3.6 out of 5 (based on 77 ratings with 3 reviews)

Like Mario's Great-Grandfather

The Good
Montezuma's Revenge is rarely credited for being as innovative a game as it was. A platform/adventure, there are obvious Mario-esque elements first tried out in this game. The levels were sprawling and fun to explore and the graphics were very good for the time.

The Bad
The controls were extremely difficult; however, what platform game from this era moved well?

The Bottom Line
The dawn of platforming.

PC Booter · by Game22 (35) · 2004

Solid title but needs patience

The Good
Very solid title for 1984 year. It's possible to run it in 16-color mode but it was not so straightforward (I think machine in DOSBox needed to be setup as PCjr, no Tandy/EGA support). But it's worth it, in 16-color it looks so much better than in CGA. The game was quite revolutionary, 100 interconnected screens, between which you can move freely around. I think it was first such title. Gameplay was fun, albeit the game is a bit hard.

The Bad
I stated it in 'Good' section already. The game can be a bit hard. I tried to setup controller, it was quite sensitive, no problem to die every moment. Plus, sound was only PC speaker. Pity that the game didn't use PCjr 3-way sound.

The Bottom Line
Challenging arcade title, first of its kind, which has its place in gaming history. If you're patient and don't mind a bit harder difficulty, it's really recommended. Personally I kept it in my archive to play it on HTPC on big TV with controller.

PC Booter · by Vladimir Dienes · 2023

This gets very hard, very fast

The Good
I liked the way the levels are designed. This is not a form of game I'm familiar with and I found that the levels got very hard very fast. This is not a game I could rush into, I had to stop and think my way through them and plan ahead.

The Bad
The penalty for getting something wrong is losing a life. You start with five but it's very easy to lose them all and be put back to the beginning. This is typical of an old game of this type but it's very frustrating nevertheless

The Bottom Line
I haven't played many games of this type and, after a while I remembered why. The puzzle element sucks you in and it's fun for a while, but having to continually replay the early levels because you mistimed a jump in a later level turns the game into an exercise in endurance and perseverance.

ZX Spectrum · by piltdown_man (228387) · 2023


Prototype version

A 35kb prototype version of the game was created by Robert Jaeger based on the concept given to him by his friend Mark Sunshine. Robert Jaeger began making the game at the age of 15. The game was unveiled at the Consumer Electronics Show in 1983. The game was bought by Parker Brothers. Parker Brothers decided to release Montezuma's Revenge in 1984, but the game was adapted to the version that required only 16kb of RAM by removing some game elements. Parker Brothers made ​some ​cuts to the graphics, removed the intro, simplified maze construction, and changed the name of the main character from Pedro to Panama Joe.


Montezuma's Revenge is one of the few PC titles that supports 16 colors exclusively in PCjr mode.


  • Commodore Format
    • April 1991 (Issue 7) - listed in the A to Z of Classic Games article (Great)

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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Will D.

ZX Spectrum, Atari 8-bit, Apple II added by Martin Smith. Windows added by lights out party. Atari 2600, ColecoVision, Commodore 64 added by Servo. SEGA Master System added by Katakis | カタキス. Atari 5200 added by Jeanne.

Additional contributors: Alaka, Martin Smith, formercontrib, LepricahnsGold, Neville, nicholas mccolm, Karsa Orlong, Jo ST, FatherJack.

Game added March 27th, 2000. Last modified November 24th, 2023.