Professional, Originally Released On Cassette Only
Game Type : Arcade Maze Game
Standalone Release(s) : 1987: BOULDERDASH, Tynesoft, £3.99
Compilation Release(s) : None
Stated compatibility : Electron
Actual compatibility : Electron, BBC B, B+ and Master 128
Supplier : TYNESOFT, Unit 3 Addison Industrial Estate, Blaydon, TYNE & WEAR NE21 4TE. Tel: 091 414 4611
Disc compatibility : Unknown
Instructions currently unavailable.
Instructions' Source : BOULDERDASH (Tynesoft) Inner Inlay
Review (Electron User) - "Rocky Original"
Before you say wearily, "Oh no, not another Repton-type game", let me put the record straight. BOULDERDASH has the enviable reputation of being the game which inspired REPTON and all its clones all those years ago.
So why is it finally being released for the Electron/BBC Micro market which by now must surely be saturated to bursting point with diamond-digging maze games? The answer is, as ever, that the original is usually the best. Not always, but in this case it is certainly true.
I, like many others, cracked my maze-digging teeth on REPTON long before I ever heard of BOULDERDASH. I first played BOULDERDASH on an Amstrad CPC464 about a year ago, and thought to myself that REPTON had better watch out.
Little did I know that this newcomer actually predated my favourite by quite a stretch, albeit on a different machine - the old 8 bit Atari.
Well, here it is at last on the Electron, and jolly good it is too. You play the part of Rockford, a cute little character who is a right little hoarder, and addicted to those big glistening diamonds scattered about the place just waiting to be scooped up.
Unfortunately, opposition to Rockford's greed lies in the form of hundreds of lethal boulders, deadly butterflies and a rapidly growing, pulsating amoeba.
You won't meet the amoeba until the later levels - there are sixteen in all - but the other hazards are present right from the start.
Most obviously dangerous are the boulders. Although this doesn't need explaining to REPTON fans, the boulders are imbedded in earth and digging for diamonds undermines their support. If a boulder falls on Rockford, it's curtains.
A large element of strategy is involved in turning things to your advantage. Boulders may be pushed either left or right, and as they will topple off the edge of a precipice - which can be dug carefully to suit your requirements - traps can be laid for the mutant butterflies.
Dropping a boulder on a butterfly mutates it into nine separate diamonds. As a set quota has to be collected, butterfly crushing is a necessary pastime - especially on levels deliberately low in their supplies of diamonds.
Collecting the full quota for a given screen causes a door somewhere in the maze to be activated. It won't always be near you, so when you hear the bang, which signifies its opening, a quick dash is indicated, especially if time is running short - there is a time limit for each level.
The green amoeba encountered on later levels is a real pain. It grows at a phenomenal rate and after a certain point it will turn into hundreds of boulders, which will then rain destruction on Rockford's head. Another incentive to hurry things up.
What surprised me the most about BOULDERDASH was the way the screens have been copied faithfully from the original version on the 8 bit Atari. The two micros are worlds apart and the programmer has done a good job in converting a game.
As far as I could tell, every single diamond and boulder is in the same location as in the original version, and it was with great excitement that I realised that I could complete level after level using exactly the same techniques that I had spent so long working out a year ago on the Amstrad.
That is the mark of a truly successful game conversion. Even the sprites are identical, except that the Electron/BBC Micro version runs in Mode 5, using just four colours - but then so does REPTON.
My only niggle, oddly enough, was in the keyboard control. Rockford simply would not stop smartly on the spot when I released the keys.
Instead - during what were usually tightly calculated manoeuvres - he would plough ahead for one more move, totally mucking up the strategy and sometimes getting himself crushed under an impromptu rockfall.
My verdict is that BOULDERDASH is the original diamond digging game and it's still the best ever. Buy it, even if you are an unshakeable REPTON fan - you'll be amazed at just how addictive it can be.
There are many, many more secrets further into the game which I'm not going to spoil by revealing here.
Sound ........................... 7
Graphics ........................ 8
Playability ..................... 7
Value for money ................. 9
Overall ......................... 8
"Electron User Golden Game"
Chris Nixon, ELECTRON USER 5. 7