Cloak & Dagger, which was originally
entitled Agent X but later changed to tie in
with the movie, was first produced in 1983
as a dedicated upright in the same cabinet
that was used for Crystal Castles. 20
dedicated original units were made, with
many of them going to the programmers
themselves, including project leader Breighton Dawe (a.k.a. Rusty).
goal of the game is for Agent X to
infiltrate the hideout (an underground bomb
factory) of the evil Dr. Boom and recover
the secret plans he has stolen. There
are 32 floors that Agent X must traverse in
the hopes to find Dr. Boom's hidden lair,
recover the stolen plans, and destroy bomb
factory once and for all.
the industry-wide crash in
1983, it was decided to produce Cloak &
Dagger in kit form for installation on
Williams coin-op titles Defender, Joust, Robotron: 2084 &
Stargate. Below is a picture from one
of the flyers that illustrates this (I heard
that wearing a green hat and coat while
applying side art helps your
concentration...that might be just urban
Rather than convert a Williams
classic, and moreover due to how nice the dedicated
units look vs. any of the Williams conversions,
longtime coin-op collector
Rick Ford began the quest to obtain the
original Atari films for the dedicated model from
Mr. Scott Evans, who owns not only the films for
this title, but practically every classic Atari
coin-op title ever produced.
Later on, Rick Ford hooked up
with graphics guru Richard
and inquired about the
on the entire artwork project, and thankfully Rich
Jeff Rothe graciously came on board to help with
some vector work, as in the case of a few of the pieces,
the original screens were never located.
And now after several years, this
very extensive and complicated reproduction artwork
package is coming to a close. In
all there are 9 pieces total: both pieces of the side art, the
front art, the control panel overlay, 3 versions of
the speaker grill overlay (2 never seen or known of before
until getting the original films for them) and 2
versions of the marquee ("Agent X" & "Cloak &
Dagger"). For pictures and
more details please visit the project status page at
the ThisOldGame website:
After hearing that the artwork
project had commenced, I acquired a Crystal Castles
cabinet from a local collector friend and then
started to amass everything that I needed to convert
it to an Agent X, which were a working board set, a
burn free WG19K7648 monitor (which has the sharpest
display of any CGA monitor I've ever come across), a smoked monitor glass (taken from a
friend's project Tempest that would have remained a
'project' for forever) and various parts from a
working C&D conversion (harness, sound board and
power supply). I had NOS Wico 8-way joysticks
on hand as well as the LED cone buttons and a NOS
red leaf switch button, and also, the black
cardboard bezel was in perfect condition so the only
other thing I needed to do get done while I was
waiting for the artwork was to get the coin door
parts powder coated (doors, bracket, bezels and
flaps), and to get the control panel made. The
latter proved to be a very tough feat to say the
(Pictures of the cab minus the control
To get the control panel made I asked Rich for a cpo
template (shown below) and after receiving that, I
brought it and the Crystal Castles panel to the
place where I get my powder coating done. The
owner (Don) told me that they didn't have the means
to make a new panel for me, but he said that he knew
of a place that could, and said he would bring it
over to them and ask for a price quote and the lead
time for me. So I left my panel and template
there and drove away, happy that this phase of the
project was underway.
passed and I had not heard anything back, so I
called and asked Don how things were going. He
told me that he never found time to bring the panel
and template over so, although I was disappointed, I
told him no worries, but if he could bring them over
as soon as possible I'd appreciate it. He said that
he would take care of it the following week.
The following week came, and went, and at this point
I decided to just drive over and kindly ask for my
panel and template back, and just start searching
for a place on my own. So I went to a place
that I had seen driving to his shop that looked like
they might be able to take this on, but after
talking to someone there they said they couldn't do
it, and so they directed me to a place about 15-20
min. away. So I drove over to there, but the
owner there said he was too busy to deal with it,
and he directed me to another place just down the
block, but the guy there said that they have the
means to do it either.
Walking away a
bit frustrated, and about ready to give up for the
day, I asked some guy working in a paint shop next
door if he knew of a place that could help me and he
told me to try a metal shop that was next to a paint
wholesaler that they do business with. I
figured I'd give it one last try before heading back
to work so I drove over (another 20 min. or so) and
found the place, but as I was walking up to the door
I realized they were closed. It was about 2:00
in the afternoon on a Wednesday, so I found it odd
they weren't open. I asked a guy working in a
medical supply place next door if he knew anything
and he didn't, but he said there was another metal
shop just a few doors down. So I walked down
there, and honestly expected the same dead end
scenario, but when I talked to the owner and told
him what I needed he said he could make me a whole
new panel for $200 and that he'd have it in done in
a week. I was obviously VERY happy to hear this and
the price was totally fine with me as well.
Heck I had probably spent at least $30 on gas
driving around that day.
But of course, the panel was not done "in a week"
(big surprise right?). When I called him he
said he needed another week. Another week came
and went and he said he hadn't finished it. He
said he was waiting on some dies to cut the holes
for the control panel. And so another 2 weeks
passed actually and still I had not received a call
from him. It turned out the control panel
holes are not a standard size and when his friend's
dies came in, they weren't the right size. So
that meant he would have to do them by hand.
He actually devised a custom tool to make those 2
holes. He's a pretty skilled metal worker to be honest. Then
sadly, as it was nearing completion, the guy threw
his back out, and was closed down for another week
In the end, it took over 2 months from the time I
first went to the powder coater with my Crystal
Castles panel and template, until I was able to go
pick up the newly made Agent X control panel. It
came out perfect so I guess it was worth the wait,
but I'll say this: that's the last custom control
panel I'm ever going to try to get done.
The hinge he attached is a
standard 'piano hinge' and the brackets for the
control panel latches he actually 'took off' of the
Crystal Castles panel, and then spot welded them on.
The next thing I received from
Rich was a test print of the control panel overlay.
After lining it up, I
saw that the joystick holes and the ignite button
holes centered perfectly, but that the print
extended off to the right about 3/32, and
conversely, it was short on the left side the same
I also let Rich know that the
'Ignite' button graphics need to be moved over a bit
to the right. The top of the print could also
be extended so as to allow a full wrap all the way
around the top of the panel, vs. just meeting
perfectly at the edge of the metal. Extension
would help to keep the cpo from wanting to lift at
that sharp bend at the top of the panel. I
realized later though, that the best way to deal
with the material that the cpo was eventually
printed on was just to just cut it cleanly at the
top edge of the panel.
While Rich was finalizing the
details with the control panel overlay, I got to
work on the Agent X marquee (the marquee overlay was
actually the first piece of art that got produced).
first thing to do obviously was to
take the marquee assembly off of the Crystal
Castles and strip it down to the bare frame.
removing the hardware for the florescent
light, I stripped
off all the glue from the frame and the
glass, and then sanded the wood along the
bends smooth. I then let the marquee
overlay form on the frame for a week
with some clamps.
Clamping trains an overlay to the form
factor it will assume once applied.
Many collectors prefer this method vs. heat
as heat expands material (which does relax
the marquee which is why on the surface it
looks like a good method) but then when the
overlay cools, it contracts. This
expanding and contracting encourages
premature cracking, which is something that
most collectors would rather avoid.
material that this overlay was printed on was a
bit thicker than usual, and because of that
I left the clamps on for longer than I
normally do. In the end, it adhered perfectly.
I stapled along the interior
bottom of the marquee, as it started to lift
slightly the next morning after application.
The top was fine though, as the top has quite a bit
more material to handle the topmost bend without
wanting to lift, vs. the bottom which has very
little leftover. Lastly I installed the
fluorescent light hardware and retaining bracket.
Still to do is to cut out the 3 small
holes for the bolts.
Here's a picture of it in the
dark, backlit by the lamp on my workbench.
Meanwhile, while I was waiting for
the cpo to get finalized I burnt some Agent X roms for
my Cloak & Dagger board set. One night I played about 10 games of it on my
PAT9000 and I was getting my butt kicked to be honest.
Rich contacted me and said he was sending
down a few cpos for me to take a look at.
When I got them I took one over to the
control panel and saw that the alignment was
perfect! So I let him know and he
commenced on the entire run. I formed
the cpo on the panel for a few days, and
then applied it. It looked absolutely beautiful.
see all the clamps that I placed at the 2nd
top bend there in the 1st picture above That
bend is always the
tightest bend on most Atari panels to deal
with. That bend is not seen once the
panel is situated of course, so it's easiest
just to trim the cpo right there, but as
Rich allotted extra material for the top I
wanted to try to make it conform. In
the end though, it just ended up cracking
there, so I just trimmed it cleanly (as
the bottom where the hinge is, the cpo
overlapped just a tiny bit, so I needed to
trim along the panel's edge there. Otherwise
it would catch and lift when the panel is
unlatched and fully open.
came a moment of horror. As I was
getting ready to populate the panel, I
realized that a vital detail had been
overlooked: there were no holes for the Wico
joysticks to mount to (which is noticeable
in the pictures of the bare panel that were
shown previously). So sadly, the cpo had to come off as I needed to bring it
in for drilling and each hole needed to be
filed squarely so that the bolts would sit
flush. At least the cpo wasn't a total
waste: I used it to mark where the holes for
the joystick housings needed to go.
Here's how it looked when I got it back.
And after application of a
new cpo, it was then time (again) to
populate the panel.
I think it
goes without saying that I was very happy to have been
finally done with the control panel portion
of this project.
piece of artwork that I received was the
speaker grill overlay. Up until
a few years ago when Rich at ThisOldGame was sent
the original artwork films for this game,
the world had only known of one type of
speaker grill overlay for the dedicated
cabinet version of Agent X / Clock & Dagger.
out that there were actually 3 different
versions of the speaker grill overlay: Rev.
A and Rev. B (both of which no one had ever
seen before), and the original release
version, which I consider to be the least
attractive of the 3:
speaker grill overlay
that I received was Rev. B which is my
personal favorite, and that which I'll be
applying to my speaker grill and installing
on my cabinet.
like about the Rev. B version is that the
Atari logo area in red has a border that
ties in with the rest of the artwork for
this game. I also prefer the black
background used in this version vs. the grey
background used for the others.
I had the control panel powdercoated, I had
the speaker grill powdercoated too. I
also removed all the glue residue off the
square piece of tempered glass that sits in
the center of the speaker grill and cleaned
that up as well.