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Front Runner
Arcade: Maze
ZX Spectrum 48K
Multiple schemes (see individual downloads)

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Jon Pillar
Chris Bourne

A classic in every sense of the word except 'large grazing mammal of the lower Azures' because that's wrong. Boulder Dash is one of the very few home 'puter games to make it into the arcades. First Star, the American company behind the game, released at least three sequels, but I do believe I'm right in saying only Boulder Dash and Boulder Dash 4 made it onto the Speccy. You play Rockford, a thieving spelunker out to scour sixteen of valuable diamonds. Pitted against you a score of mutant butterflies, two score of mutant fireflies, a massively hugely enormously gargantuan wibblingly big number of amoebae and Isaac Newton's baby. (He means gravity. Ed)

Okay, the graphics are basic (He means crap. Ed) and admittedly the sound is uninspired (Crap! Ed) but the gameplay is magnificent. (Curses. Ed) The scrolling caves are about sixteen screens square (Alliteration! Ed) and packed with incident. (Wheee! Ed) Excuse me a moment. (Help! I've been imprisoned in some curly brackets. Ed}

That's better. Anyway, it's a very mentally taxing game, requiring a fine grasp of physics to determine exactly whether you'll be able to nip into this area, set off a controlled rockfall and expose those diamonds without getting caught by the patrolling firefly. Nastily, it's also a very fast game - once those butterflies get on your trail they'll hound you mercilessly, and it's entirely possible to run faster than the scrolling, and so flounder in the dark while the screen catches up with you. And there's a time limit. Yikes! If you don't mind dated graphics and like your puzzle games very tough indeed, I'd recommend this 'un wholeheartedly. It doesn't push the Speccy in terms of machine use, but you'll be hard-pressed to find a game with more playability per inch. And it's educational as well! (Sort of.)


Screenshot Text

This is a brilliantly fun level. You simply knock out the plug of earth and wait for the diamonds to spill out.

The point-packed outcome of a very trickY bit of manoeuvring. Those fireflies never knew what hit 'em.