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Martin Harris
Arcade: Action
ZX Spectrum 16K

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Chris Bourne

Gold Rush does not take place in California as you might expect but on the far off planet of Oron. The gold mines of Oron are bottomless caverns where gold nuggets rain from the roof. Oronians, it seems, have an odd way of collecting the gold. Two pots are placed in suspension between the walls and then girders are used to direct the falling nuggets into the pots. It's a dicey task because should a nugget hit an Oronian it kills him, and the mine is full of monsters that find Oronians make a tasty meal.

The playing screen is split into three vertical segments. In the centre is the mine shaft divided into an 8 by 9 character square checkerboard of red and black. At the base, evenly spaced, are the two collecting pots. To the right is a blue sector where the girders are positioned, ready for use. To the right is another blue area, a safe home from which your Oronians start off, but to which they cannot return. The monsters are gaping, yellow skulls which float up and down and from side to side, mouths agape.

What you do is take an Oronian out into the mine and, using the directional keys, place him where you want a girder to be. Pressing the fire key then slots a yellow girder in position. When a nugget hits one, it will roll to the right or to the left, so the construction has to be well thought out to keep those nuggets a-comin' into the pots. Points are scored for every nugget that hits a girder and many more for getting one into a pot. In their efforts to prevent you collecting gold the skulls will move the girders about and, on the highest level, eat the nuggets.


'All these games have very good title pages, and Gold Rush in particular has an innovative looking hi-score table. The game itself isquite original in concept and one of those I would call silly but likeable. It is quite frustrating to play and begins to get addictive the more you do. It starts off si mply enough, with only one skull and not many nuggets to contend with, but as you progress more and more skulls appear. At the highest level of skill you can still move at the same pace but the nuggets come pouring down and it is very difficult. Not a bad game at all.'

'The graphics are good, with the heads of the Oronians and the skulls turning as they move. It's all quite smooth and colourful too. But once again this game has no sound which seems a terrible shame.'

'Sound would have helped, but in the end this is an engaging game to play. and not as easy as it first appears.

Keyboard positions: two options, both slightly odd, the Sinclair keys 6/7/8/9 and zero. or Q/0 left/right, I/W up/down and P to fire.
Joystick options: Kempston, Sinclair
Keyboard play: very responsive and smooth
Use of colour: fairly good
Graphics: simple but smoothly moving
Sound: none
Skill levels: 5
Lives: 3

General Rating: average to good, and unusually addictive.


Screenshot Text

Catch the nuggets, avoid the skulls - GOLDRUSH.