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Tomb hunter, mysteries of the ancients

title:Tomb hunter, mysteries of the ancients
download page:link
genre:Side Scroller
developer:USA Games
last edit by:Dark


Way back in the mists of time in 2004, James North of Alchemy games began work on a remake of the parker brothers classic from the Atari 2600 days, Montizuma's revenge. This was a side scrolling platform game in which you played as the daring explorer Panama Jo probing the depths of ruined South American tombs, facing chattering bouncing skulls, and skeleton warriors, deadly snakes, , fire pits and force fields all whilst collecting gems and gold

In 2005, James North took several preorders for the game, however Alchemy games shut down before the game was created. The project was then taken up by Thomas Ward of Usa games. With none of James North's original source code Tom began rewriting the game from scratch, changing programming languages and sounds and having ideas of his own to bring to the table such as renaming the protagonist from the Parker brother's original Panama Jo, to Arizona smith. Now renamed Montizuma's return, (since Montizuma's revenge was a synonym for bowel problems), the game saw several progressive Beta versions until 2009 when a full version with six out of the proposed twelve levels was completed.

Unfortunately, just before Montizuma's return was about to see the light of day, After Tom had accepted several preorders for the game, he was sent a cease and desist letter from a firm of solicitors representing a graphical games company at work on a game with the same name. Despite their version of Montizuma's return being a completely inaccessible game, Tom ward (feeling very disheartened), took down all copies of the Montizuma's return project and ceased work on it.

After that point, Tom decided to morph the Montizuma's return project into something he'd been working on for a while, a high quality, complex side scroller, still with the theme of finding lost treasures in ancient tombs, but far more of an adventure game than an arcade classic, with reusable weapons and ammunition, monsters with hitpoints and attacks which could be dodged, and a tough lady archaeologist, Dr. Angela Carter in the title roll as a homage to Lara Croft of the tomb raider series. As such the game was renamed again, Tomb hunter, mysteries of the ancients.

Several betas followed, with changes in game architecture, alterations in coding and experiments with different ideas. Discussions of how much the game would resemble a roll playing game, how much an arcade game, even the potential for the game to be the proposed first volume in a story about Angela Carter's exploits with the tentative title "tomb hunter, arc of hope".

Sadly, the project never got beyond the Beta stage. Changes in direction and design, a conflict with Tom Ward's other projects and Tom's own ill health and bad life circumstances insured that at most, only two levels were produced. A final Beta followed in 2013.

Thomas Ward died on the 8th of February 2016 of a brain tuma, so his games were sadly never completed.

In memory of Thomas Ward, his work has been preserved for posterity by the audiogames archive. The above link will download the final beta version of the game version 22, in which Angela makes her way through a tomb and confront's a cyclopse. Plus, further beta versions can be found on the above page, some of them with different design changes which give an idea of what the final game would've been like.

In 2018, Dark flyer production released a Modern remake of Tomb hunter starring a teenager called Fredric in memory of Thomas ward AND his work. This features many of the same concepts and ideas as both the Usa Tomb hunter and the Montizuma games , details of that game can be Found here

Rest in peace Tom Ward.


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Updates: entry 2 Feb 22 and description 2 Feb 22

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