Berzerk (Arcade)

Berzerk in One Sentence

The player object must survive as long as it can in a maze filled with evil robots.



Berserk is an early arcade game released in 1980. It is largely forgotten in gaming lore except among retro gamers. Those who still remember Berzerk remember it for it's slightly cheesy, almost over the top digitized robot voices that randomly played whether there was a robot left or not. The most famous is "Chicken! Fight like a robot."

Game Objects

There are only four game objects in Berzerk :

  • The player object, a green humanoid.
  • Robots, which can fire and move in four directions.
  • The sentry, used to "force" the player out of a room.
  • The "laser bullet" fired by both the humanoid and the robots.

Because the walls are interactive, they may be another game object.

Player Object

The player object is a green "humanoid" who has apparently intruded among the robots domain (if the obvious clues from the voices a are believed.) The player object can fire in the standard 8 directions — one bullet at a time.


The player object can move in the standard 8 directions, controlled by four inputs, Up, right, left, and down. It moves at a constant rate (when moving) that never changes, even as the robots and sentry get faster to up the difficulty.


The player object can be destroyed by :

  • Being shot by a robot.
  • Touching a robot.
  • Possibly, but has never been tested, by touching a robot explosion.
  • Touching a wall.
  • Touching the sentry.


The Robots in Berzerk are there to challenge the player. In each room they become more dangerous by being able to move faster and shoot faster.


The Robots show very simple A.I. They are able to detect walls and will not move into one (unlike the Atari 2600 version) and will not move if there is a corner between them and the player object. However, they do not detect each other. They blissfully walk into each other (destroying both robots) and shoot each other if they are aligned with the player object.


The robots will fire on the player object if they are aligned with it in any of the 8 directions. This can be expressed in this pseudo code :

// detect horizontal alignment
IF robot_x = player_x THEN fire()

// detect vertical alignment
IF robot_y = player_y THEN fire()

// detect diagonal alignment
IF ABS(robot_x - player_x) = ABS(robot_y - player_y) THEN fire()

// note, the robot must then decide which of the four diagonal directions to fire in.
This pseudo code is not included yet.

There appears to be a timer set when the robot fires which allows it to shoot at a very low rate.


It is believed that a robot will always seek to move towards the player unless it will kill itself by walking into a wall. This happens in only one situation — if the robot is in a corner that separates it from the player object.


The sentry, as strange as it may seem, is a bouncing smiley face. It is summoned if the player stays in the same room too long and is believed to be indestructible. It is also believed to be summoned by a timer set when the room begins.


The sentry appears to "bounce" up and down and will always move towards the player. It is the only game object that can move through walls.

Laser "Bullet"

The "Laser bullet" fired by both the player object and the robots can be considered to be the same game object. It can be fired in 8 directions as both the player object and the robots are capable of firing in 8 directions.


The laser bullet moves in a constant direction and in a constant speed that never changes once fired.


The laser bullet can be destroyed upon a collision with :

  • The player object
  • A robot
  • A robot explosion (which makes it difficult to shoot robots in a line)
  • The sentry
  • A wall
  • Another laser bullet (which allows the player to "shoot bullets out of the air.")


Robot Voices

The voices of the robots are digitized voices of human actors (rather than synthesized) and are mostly played randomly at all times — including if there are no robots left in a room.

There are two classes of robot voices known not to be random while a third is suspected to be random. They happen when :

  • The player leaves a room, resulting in an insult, including the the famous "Chicken! Fight like a robot" voice clip.
  • The sentry is summoned — always with "Intruder alert!"

The third class, thought possibly not to be random, is the phrase "Charge It!" where the robots seem to get faster momentarily. This has not been observed enough times to say for sure.



The player is given a bonus if :

  • He destroys all the robots before leaving a room.

Related Games

Other Versions

  • Berzerk (Atari 2600) - Bezerk on a less-powerful CPU, missing voices and sentry can be destroyed. The Robot A.I. stinks.

Games with Related Themes

This page is a stub. You can help by expanding it.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 License.