This game from First Star Software originally
appeared in the States at the back end of 1984 and has been
available on import in this country for almost as long. Now it is an
official UK release, courtesy of Mirrorsoft, and thus to all intents
and purposes it can be classed as a 'new' game, especially as far as
recent converts to the Atari are concerned.
BOULDERDASH is a tunnelling game with a
difference. You control a cute little character called Rockford, who
has an acute fondness for diamonds. You use a joystick to guide him
around the screen, digging his way through 16 different levels of
play and risking life and limb - not to mention falling boulders,
fireflies, butterflies and amoeba - in his never-ending quest for a
fistful of diamonds (sounds like a new spaghetti Western, doesn't
Before each game you have the option of choosing
your starting level or cave in multiples of four. Rockford begins
each screen with a set number of diamonds to collect, but with no
visible exit. The exit is revealed once he has gathered up his quota
of gems for that level. Some screens are relatively easy, and it's
simply a matter of tunnelling your way around, picking up the
diamonds whilst avoiding falling boulders. Others require a certain
degree of skill and dexterity and also a significant amount of
brainpower. The instructions enclosed with the game give only the
briefest outline of what's expected of you, and you basically have
to figure out the individual screens for yourself. As you progress
you will encounter a series of intricate puzzles which will have to
be solved in order to continue, so the challenge is maintained
throughout the 16 levels.
The graphics are excellent and surpass all other
games of this type. Rockford himself is an amazing little chap. If
you refuse to move him he stands there, arms folded, blinking his
eyes and tapping his foot repeatedly in a show of impatience. The
sound effects deserve special mention, as there are some really neat
ones in there, such as the tinkling sound the diamonds make when
they fall, and the gurgling noise of the amoeba as it spreads its
way across the screen.
BOULDERDASH was a number one hit in the States and
in its various conversions for other computers has been highly
successful here also. The Atari version was out first (despite what
certain commercial 'gutter press' computer games magazines would
have you believe!), and needless to say it's streets ahead of all
other versions, with superior graphics, colour, sound and animation.
Most Atari owners will already have BOULDERDASH in their collection.
If you missed out on it, now's your chance to make amends.