Vectrex port (left), 2600 port
Publisher: Atari
Atari 2600, Atari 5200
Developer: Atari
Atari 2600, Atari 5200
Genre: Maze
Multi-directional Shooter
System: Atari 2600
Atari 5200


Berzerk was a unique game at the time when it was released in the arcade for several reasons; for one thing, being a maze game, it had 64,000 mazes, which was a gigantic number for any game of any gaming genre back then. It was also one of the first games that had speech synthesis as well (costing $1,000 a word U. S.), which involved sassing the player when they didn't destroy all the robots in a maze, saying "chicken! Fight like a robot!", among several other brief phrases.

The A. I. for the game was also a bit unique as well, as the enemy robots were stupid, shooting and running into each other or walls, which would result in them being destroyed. The player would also earn points for every robot destroyed, no matter if they or the robots caused their [own] destruction.

If the player took too long to escape from a level, the indestructible Evil Otto nemesis would appear from wherever the player had originated from in a maze and bounce his way across the screen, through walls and robots alike. The fewer robots that remained, the faster Otto would travel.

Also, the indication of a difficulty level increase was made apparent with the robots changing color. They would also fire faster and with more shots as well as the player progressed through the levels.

The game involved the player(s) running their way through a series of mazes while destroying as many robots as possible; destroying all robots in a maze would result in a bonus. Touching any robot, explosion from destroyed robot or wall segment or being shot would cause them to lose a life, and once the player ran out of lives the game would end.


Atari 2600Edit

  • Move humanoid--joystick
  • Fire--button

Atari 5200Edit


  • Cycle through skill levels--* button
  • Choose one or two players--# button

In-game controlsEdit

  • Move humanoid--joystick
  • Fire--any button
  • Pause--Pause button
  • Silence voice--9 on keypad
  • Reactivate voice--7 on keypad
  • Return to title screen--Pause, then Reset
  • Restart game at same skill level as previous game--Pause, then Start

Vectrex versionEdit

Main menuEdit

  • Choose from one or two players--button one
  • Start game--button four

In-game controlsEdit

  • Move--joystick or D-pad
  • Fire--any button


  • Robot--50 points
  • Bonus--10 points per robot
  • Extra life--5,000 points (along with additional at 10,000 on 5200 version)

Differences between portsEdit

Atari 2600Edit

This version of the game had much larger sprites, and proportionally all onscreen objects took up more screen area. The robots did not fire diagonally and there was no voice synthesis (although a homebrew hack entitled Berzerk Enhanced added that feature years later). There were also several variations for players to choose from, including how often they could earn extra lives, robots that didn't shoot, no Evil Otto, or a shootable Evil Otto. This was the only port of the game that was for one player only.

Atari 5200Edit

This version had voice synthesis, 11 selectable skill levels to start a game with and the ability to silence the voice synthesis.


Obviously there is going to be a difference in graphics, due to the majority of the Vectrex version being in vector (the original was in raster) and the robots looked like octopuses, plus there was no visible change indicating the robots' difficulty level had increased since the Vectrex doesn't have color. The difficulty level in this port also wasn't as high, due to the robots not being as aggressive as on the arcade original, the player could shoot several more shots at a time and the players' and robots' shots did not cancel each other out (although arguably this could make the game more difficult, depending on a person's opinion).

Evil Otto also made a bouncing noise as he traveled, which was not included in the original, plus the player's shots passed through him; originally he could be shot (although not killed).

There was also no voice synthesis in this version, fewer mazes, an extra life awarded at 5,000 points, which on the original it was 7,000 (although that could be changed depending on the arcade operator's choosing), and robots could, at times, either partially walk through a wall segment until they get destroyed, or totally pass through them unharmed.


  • The arcade original was followed by the less successful sequel of Frenzy, which was ported to the ColecoVision. There were two different robots in the sequel, as well as walls that could be shot out so the player could make their own exit, walls that bounced shots back, Evil Otto could be shot, and several screens had interesting twists to them, one of which had a Mother Otto that would send out four more Ottos in case the first Otto was killed, whereas another screen had a power station that would freeze all the robots if it was shot.
  • Berzerk was planned to be released for the Atari 8 bit line, but ended up never seeing a release date.
  • A Berzerk Debugged hack was released with minor bug fixes, along with Verzerk, which incorporated speech into the game if the player had a VecVoice or VecVox for their Vectrex.


The video game critic has reviews on all three ports

This article uses material from the Berzerk Vectrex Wikia article and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License.