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Explore Hidden Levels in Atari 2600 video game, Mountain King

This webpage has instructions on how to access and navigate hidden levels in Mountain King* for Atari 2600 VCS; a largely unexplored secret area in this video game where all kinds of strange things occur.
Simply follow the step-by-step, walk-through instructions below to see some of it!

* {Mountain King: 1983 Toys, A Division of CBS Electronics 4L-2738-0000 - made for the Atari 2600 VCS}

NOTE: Some steps outlined on these webpages require the use of foreign controllers that are not meant for use with the Atari 2600 VCS, and venturing into areas that cause abnormal things to occur to this game. We warn you that the use of some controllers may cause permanent damage. The authors of this site take no responsibility for any damages to the Atari 2600, game or controllers that could occur.
Sorry, this is not an instruction manual for the game Mountain King and won't show you how the game should be played. But knowledge of how to jump and bounce off platforms is a must.

This webpage created: 04/27/99
Last revised: 11/16/12

Supplement with diagrams

* * * Section A * * *

Here's one way to access the hidden levels when played on an Atari 2600 VCS:

At the small mountain, stand one level below its top level, and very close to the right end of that level. Then jump up+left and always continue holding your joystick diagonally - don't let it go. Your explorer must bounce off near the left end of the small mountains' top plateau above, while you continue holding the joystick in a up+left position. If instead he landed in the middle of the top plateau and not the left end, try again. If he does hit the left end, he'll bounce way up.
While continuing to hold your joystick in an up-left position and never letting it go, you'll come back down, hit the right tip of the top plateau on the big mountain (the one with the flame), then bounce back up from there to arrive at four short red plateaus and a blue ladder next to it, similar to this:

  #        _   _
  #        _   _

Let the joystick go at the right time, so as to land on one of the red plateaus. Welcome to the entrance of the hidden world!
(note: There may be other methods to access this area; That was just one way).

From one of the four red plateaus you're standing on, these are the steps to follow:

  1. Carefully hop on the red plateau(s) in order to reach the blue ladder at your left. Climb this blue ladder to a larger blue pillar ladder that look like a large building. Be sure to visit for great screen shots of this!

    Now, let's number this large building-like structure, 'No.1', because it's the first building-like structure we climb on. Take note that numbers & names given to levels, ladders etc. are arbitrarily -used to guide through these particular steps only.
    1b. Set both left & right DIFFICULTY switches to "A" and set the TV TYPE switch to "COLOR". This will make some ladders and buildings larger and add plateaus at other locations which you'll later see.

  2. Near the top within the blue building no.1, are 3 red plateaus.
    In the right controller port of the Atari vcs, plug in an Atari 'Video Touch Pad' or an Atari 'Keyboard Controller' or a controller from Coleco vision.
    Press and HOLD down several buttons together so that the right side of the building you are in, is completely removed (find the right combination of buttons so that only the 3 red plateaus remain out in the open).
    While holding down those buttons, from one of the 3 red plateaus, jump and fly to the right to grab the next blue building: NO.2 .
    Go to the very top of this building no.2 and stand within the 3 short blue ladders above it.

  3. In the left port of the Atari vcs, unplug your joystick and replace it with one set of two Atari 2600 Paddles.
    Turn both paddle knobs fully to the right or until two tall ladders are created. With some paddles you have to turn the knobs very, very slowly near the right end to create the ladders. I found some paddles don't work as well as others. Note that it won't work at all if this Mountain King game, made for Atari 2600, is played in on Atari 7800! Other machines that play Atari 2600 games may also have difficulty in creating these extra ladders in Mountain King made for Atari 2600.
    Push one button on one of the paddles to travel to the right. Travel pass one tall ladder and stop within the other 3 short blue ladders hanging in mid-air at right of building no.2 - which is between the 2nd and 3rd building.

  4. Unplug the paddles from the left port and plug them into the right port. Then plug back your joystick in the left port. Two ladders will appear at your right when you plug the paddles in the right port (if not, carefully adjust both knobs very slowly until there are). The first ladder that appears at your right, is the one you will later climb. Let's name this ladder the 'left-paddle' ladder.
    Before climbing this ladder, you should get more time.


    4b. Travel to the right, within not the top(!) the short blue ladders above the buildings and go to the 4Th building. Make sure you travel within the ladders and not the top. As you travel pass the 3rd building, your explorers' color may turn blue and you may see odd white shapes in the air above! Sometimes, one shape almost looks like a face! Always stay within the short ladders and never travel at the top in these ladders only while in this area. On the way you'll pass several tall ladders but do not climb them. If you do climb them you'll get stuck and your explorer will get fat!
    When you reach the 4Th building, go down in its top level. The 'minutes' at the bottom of the screen will flash on/off.
    Now return within [not the top] the short blue ladders and you'll note that you've received 84 minutes of playing time! (The level just below the top level was for the seconds, ie. 84:84)
    By the way, if you were to reset the game at this point, you would get 48 minutes of play. If you choose to do this, you can then hold down the GAME SELECT switch to choose a game with even more time; ie. 99 minutes! (99:59)

  5. Now, travel back to the 'left-paddle' ladder that I mentioned in step 4 and climb it. Half way up is a gap in the ladder and a short red plateau to the left of the gap, hanging in mid-air. When you get up there you may also notice another gap higher up; ignore it.
    Use this red plateau to jump up+right to grab the continuation of the same ladder you were climbing. When you do, you'll notice the other gap above filling in!
    Climb up to a longer red plateau on the right.

  6. Travel on it to the next blue paddle ladder at right. Let's call this ladder 'right-paddle' ladder because it's on the right and it is created & controlled by one of the paddles.

    Just as you reach the 'right paddle' ladder you'll see a white flame above in a blue horizontal ladder. Climb up and pass left of the white flame and your ladder. (note that some parts of your left and right ladders are now made up of short red plateaus that continue within the blue blinking block ladders). The white flame will vanish as you pass left of it. Let's number the level the white flame is on, level 56. Note the numbering of the levels descend as you climb (Refer to Diagram 3). The reason we name that level 56 will become apparent later.

    Notice this area is in constant change with the passage of Time. Some blue ladders and red plateaus move in steps with the Seconds while others with the Minutes. It's possible that your Score also has an effect. More information about this strange area is found elsewhere on this site.
    Now, each level to the right of the 'right paddle' ladder you've just climbed on, have something I call "gateways" that allow access to many variations of the Mountain King game. More information about gateways are on the Supplement page. The next steps below show how to access one of those gateways.
    [If instead you want to climb even higher, skip the steps below and scroll down to SECTION B.]

  7. Climb up (on the left side of the 'right paddle' ladder) to level 52.Since there aren't any blue block ladders at 52 you'll be standing on top of level 53. Refer to Diagram_3.

  8. At level 52, move very slowly and very carefully to the right; towards the 'right paddle' ladder. As soon as the white flame on level 56 re-appears, STOP!!

  9. While the flame is visible, tap the joystick only once very briefly in the up position. *I must emphasize that it is very important it's only ONE brief tap. Otherwise the trick won't work and you'll get stuck! The picture on your television set will go crazy and bounce or roll up & down if the 'tap' was enough. Note: On some newer television sets this may cause the picture to blank out (blue screen). Playing this part of the game thru some VCRs may also cause this. I recommend you use older TVs that can show anything without blanking the picture or a TV that does. Some tv picture bouncing and rolling is normal on most TVs. Some TVs will handle the picture better then others.

  10. While the TV picture is rolling/bouncing, move away from the ladder by pushing the joystick to the left only. It may be difficult to see what is happen but look carefully to be sure your explorer is moving away from the ladder; he will move very slowly and may be blinking. If you can't move away from the ladder it means the 'tap' you initiated in step 9 above, was not brief enough and now you'll have to start all over again :(
    Continue moving away left until he begins to fall on his own - slowly at first then speed up to normal speed. The TV picture should return to normal now. Your explorer has now loss the ability to stand on (red) plateaus! Let him fall; if you land on a ladder or pillar, simply climb down and fall off. From now on he'll fall through all plateaus and pass through the mountain, the spiders' lair, and then below the spiders' lair to land on some blue blinking block ladders! This may take a while but eventually you'll pass everything and land below the Mountain King game levels!
    Those blue blinking block ladders you've landed on is at level 1.
    Remember level 56 where we saw the white flame in step 6? Well it's now far below! You're now four levels below the spiders' lair! That's four levels below the lowest level of the mountain cavern if there were levels there to count!

    Now turn the two paddle knobs back & forth to notice the locations of the two paddle ladders for a later step (step 12 below).

  11. To see something very peculiar - as if things aren't strange enough already!!!, go left while staying within the first five levels. Stay near the top and you'll eventually come across three small beige coloured figures! By moving your explorer left/right in different places, you can make the little fellows switch locations or change in numbers. Sometimes, one may suddenly turn very big by stretching out horizontally! Most will flicker and as you move further away (down) and fade away. They look like your explorer except they have a shorter body which makes them look more like little teddy bears.
    Their purpose and functions are still a mystery! If anyone happens to know what they're for, please let us know!!
    There are also strange square patterns in the air at the top that change as you move around horizontally. You may have seen similar looking patterns above some pillars where you went to get 84:84 minutes in Step 4b. This time they are the same color as the figures and are largely made up of lines similar to the web the spider spins when it catches your explorer in the regular game.
    It's possible to traverse in either left/right but stay near the top - above the 12Th level - or you may end up in one of the 'Gateways' that might get you stuck or cause the game to crash. If the TV picture begins to bounce, back off, it's usually a warning that you're venturing into an area that could cause the game to crash. Be carefull, some television sets won't show the bouncing as well as others and may mislead you to think you're in a safe area. Do not forget that your explorer has lost the ability to travel on red plateaus and could fall into invisible 'gateways' that might cause him to get stuck.

  12. Optional step: Return to the two paddle ladders and climb down between them.
    Climb down pass level 56, the buildings and fall through the mountain one more time.
    Note that the diamonds in the regular game have now moved into the hidden world. When you land back on the 1st level, the 'right paddle' ladder will have "gateways" in it starting at level 12(?) and continuing down pass the buildings. The tiny beige figures are absent this time. However, if you fall one more time they will re-appear.
    Entering any levels of the 'right paddle' ladder causes a different trick; just like level 52 did above. But falling through the mountain more than once, may move them to other locations (I say 'may' because I don't remember if it does). Every fall through the mountain create more and more changes in the game.

* * * Section B * * *
Refer to Diagram 3 for the steps below.

Here's a way to climb higher; to get from the white flame (level 56), up to level 1 which is 4 levels below the spiders lair, without having to fall through the mountain and lose the ability to stand on red plateaus.

From step 6 in Section A, these are the steps to follow:

  1. From level 56, climb up and go to [a] at level 48 at the 'left paddle' ladder. (Here, the 'left paddle' ladder looks like tall rows of short red plateaus with few blue ladders).
  2. Remove the 'left paddle' ladder by turning one of the paddle knobs. Only a short red plateau should remain on level 48 [a] when you do this.
    From it [a] jump up+left to land on top of blue horizontal ladders at level 47 [b].

  3. Unplug your joystick and replace it with a Sega Genesis (not Sega Genisis) controller - model number 1650. This is a flat controller with a flat joystick and with four flat buttons: 'A', 'B', 'C' and 'Start'. Buttons 'A' and 'Start' have no functions in this game. CAUTION: There are other similar controllers that are not meant to be used with the Atari 2600 as they may cause damage.
    This controller will add two additional vertical rows of short red plateaus/ladders. One of those rows can be temporarily removed by holding down button 'C'. So let's name this row of ladder, the 'C' ladder, because it is controlled by it.

  4. At level 47, of the 'C' ladder, there's a short red plateau. Stand on the very right edge of it.
    The goal is to jump up-Left from this short red plateau [b], and almost simultaneously remove the 'C' ladder (by pushing C button) *just* as you are leaving so that your explorers' head doesn't hit the rest of the red plateau-ladder above. In other words, the 'C' ladder must be removed just after having jumped up-left from level 47. Practise this manoeuvre.
    If done correctly, you'll leave [b] to bounce off at your left in a ladder of plateaus at level 46 [c], and then while still holding the joystick in the same position, bounce from there to grab a short blue ladder [d] on the left at level 45. NOTE: The location/availability of this short blue ladder [d] depends on your score/time. So if you let too much time pass before performing this jump, the short blue ladder [d] might not be there. And you might have to wait a long time for its reappearance.
    This is very difficult to do, as the place to jump from and the bounces must all be very precise or it just won't work.

    Have you found an easier way to get up there? Please let us know!

    - At the 39th and 38th levels in the 'C' ladder, you can increase your score. Stand within the diamonds at that location and watch your score rise nonstop. Don't forget that Level numbers decend as you climb.
    - Each level to the right of the 'right paddle' ladder are Gateways. Each of these levels do a different trick. Some get you stuck while others do nothing.
    - If you climb all the way to the top, you'll find the small beige figures (the ones we saw by following the steps in section A) are absent. Everything looks the same except that you're explorer can stand, jump and bounce off red plateaus. If you jump up from any plateau and bounce off on another one and then another, you'll briefly see the lowest level of the mountain cavern. It's also possible to have your explorers' head hit the bottom level if you jump and bounce in the proper locations. The number and locations of blue ladders change depending on the score and time. Try finding a score or time that removes the most blue ladders so that you'll have a clear path to jump and bounce on plateaus. Sometimes if you wait long enough, many blue ladders will have moved around or vanish. Some blue ladders can be temporarily removed by holding down some buttons on an Atari key pad or a Coleco Vision controller plugged in both ports together. And at some places you can remove blue some ladders by holding down the fire button in both ports.


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