Elevator Action is an arcade game released in 1983 by Taito. It debuted during the "Golden Age of Arcade Games". Innovative in gameplay, this game was fairly popular for many years. The musician was Yoshino Imamura. The game was followed by a sequel, Elevator Action II (also known as Elevator Action Returns).
The player assumes the role of a spy who infiltrates a building filled with elevators. He must collect secret documents from the building and traverse the 30 levels of the building using an increasingly complex series of elevators. The player is pursued by enemy agents who appear from behind closed doors. The player must outwit them via force or evasion. Successful completion of a level involves collecting all the secret documents and traversing the building from top to bottom. In the lower floors of the building, the elevator systems are so complex that some puzzle-solving skills are needed.
The game cabinet was a standard upright. The controls consisted of a 4-way joystick and two buttons, one for "shoot" and the other for jumping and kicking. The graphics are extremely simple, 2D color graphics. The maximum number of players is two, alternating turns.
The player assumes the role of Agent 17, codename: "Otto", a secret agent for an unspecified organization or government. As Otto, the player must "acquire" (steal) a series of secret documents from a tall building which Otto enters from the roof. Otto must traverse the building's numerous levels via a series of elevators and escalators while acquiring the documents. After retrieving all the documents, Otto must escape via the getaway car at the bottom of the building and thus progress to the next level of the game.
The documents are located behind red closed doors which the player enters to retrieve. Enemy spies appear from behind some doors and the player can evade them or attack them in a number of ways. Using his gun he can fire at them or sever a hanging light above their heads, dropping it on them. The player can also kick the enemies (by jumping into them) or attempt to crush them with an elevator Otto is riding. The player loses a life if hit by enemy fire—physical contact with the enemies themselves will not affect him. Otto may jump over low enemy fire or duck to evade higher enemy bullets. The environment itself also creates danger for Otto; the player will lose a life if he falls into an empty elevator shaft, or is crushed between a descending/ascending elevator and the floor/ceiling. However, these hazards also threaten enemies; slaying hostile agents using the elevator scores large bonuses. The player may safely jump across an open shaft if the elevator is above him, and he may ride on top of a moving elevator (though he will not be able to control it).
The upper levels of the buildings are fairly easy to traverse and sparsely populated with enemies. As the player progresses downward, enemies become more numerous, some escalators appear for travel between levels, and some floors are completely dark, making it harder to see enemies in the halls. On the lower floors of the buildings (which, since the building is traversed from top to bottom, is actually further into the level), the elevator system becomes very complex and traversal more difficult. On these floors, not only does the player need to manage to get to the bottom floor, they must at the same time evade or dispatch the numerous enemy agents attempting to apprehend them. Traversing these lower floors requires some puzzle-solving skills and this novel gameplay added to its appeal.