Arcade games in the early 80s were extremely basic to say the least. With few exceptions, early 80s arcade games involved shooting everything in sight and/or took place on one to three screens. Venture was one of the exceptions, and the ColecoVision managed to deliver an almost arcade-perfect rendition.
In Venture, you play a treasure-hunter. Though there are enemies in the maps and you have unlimited arrows to shoot, your goal is to get the treasures and escape. There are twelve tombs of various shapes and sizes with different enemies and obstacles in each spread across three maps. Many of the tombs have multiple entrances and exits, allowing for a lot of flexibility in how the treasure can be reached. Yes, you can shoot the enemies, but the still-lethal corpses hang around for a few seconds afterward; you can inadvertently block the treasure or the escape route. In fact, on the harder difficulty settings, an indestructible monster charges after you if you take too long in any one tomb. This was a very complex arcade game when it released in 1981, and it still holds up quite well.
The ColecoVision version managed to recreate the arcade game almost flawlessly. All twelve tombs and three maps have been recreated exactly as they were in the arcade. The animation is solid for the enemies, and the music for each of the different tombs is present and accounted for. The only issue with the port is with the controls. Controlling yourself on the map screens is smooth enough, but for some reason it gets painfully stiff in the tombs. There always seems to be a one-second pause whenever you change direction, and there were plenty of times where that one second was lethal. Also good luck pulling off diagonal arrow shots.
There were also a couple of issues with the arcade original that got into the ColecoVision version. While the different enemies look unique for each tomb and are animated well, the graphics for the player character are pretty shoddy. On the map screen, you control a little pink dot, and when you enter a tomb, you control a happy face which turns frown-y when you die. Really? Was that the best the designers could do? Also, the enemy movements are extremely spastic. There are not patterns to exploit (with the one exception being a tomb with laser walls and no enemies). While the lack of enemy patterns does add significantly to the challenge level, it does get frustrating. It's especially frustrating on the map screen when the monsters block the only entrance to a tomb and you can't shoot them.
Venture was a unique arcade game when it released, and the ColecoVision represented it almost perfectly. The game itself is still enjoyable if a bit simplistic. Even with its issues, Venture is a fun little slice of Indiana Jones-style adventuring for Coleco's console. I say it's definitely worth digging up and brushing off.