Reviewed by Jim Short


Issue 19

Jan/Feb 86

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Mirrorsoft/First Star 

48k cassette 9.95 

1/2 players 




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 it?)

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.