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1985
Arcade: Maze
£2.99
English
ZX Spectrum 48K
Multiple schemes (see individual downloads)

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24
Chris Bourne

In issue 12 CRASH carried a review of Boulder Dash marketed by a K-Tel company, Front Runner. The rights to the game are owned by an American software house, First Star, which designed the game for the Atari. Now that K-tel and Front runner are no longer part of the software scene, Monolith (owned by Beyond) were able to get the UK Spectrum and Commodore licences. Monolith's package includes the original game, Boulder Dash, and features a sequel Rockford's Riot.

In both games, you control Rockford, a cute little character, who is trapped in a collection of sixteen caverns which he must work his way through sequentially. To progress from one cave to another you have to collect a number of diamonds; how many varies from cave to cave, but on some you could find yourself looking for up to 75 diamonds. There's also a different time limit for each cave. Run out of time and you lose a life.

The caves are about three screens large and are presented in a scrolling format. Rockford can move left, right, up, and down. Whenever he nears the edge of the screen another section of the cave scrolls into view. The caves are made up from three basic building blocks; earth, boulders and diamonds. Earth is eaten away as Rockford moves through it, leaving empty space in his wake. When earth-supporting boulders or diamonds is removed, they fall down, making things potentially dangerous for Rockford.

Once you've collected the set amount of diamonds from a cave you need to search for an exit. This can be quite tricky as it's relatively easy to get cut off from your escape route after moving the boulders about. If you escape, you will get a bonus, which depends on the time you have remaining. As you progress through the caves things get harder as new factors are introduced.

In some of the later screens you have to transform diamonds into butterflies. One cave contains no diamonds at all: just one expanding amoeba which you must encapsulate in rock, whereupon it turns into a pile of diamonds which also need to be encased in rock. If you leave the amoeba for too long it changes into hundreds of boulders which are likely to squash you.

The game doesn't have to be started at screen A, you can begin from every fourth cave: A, E, I and M. If you manage to complete four consecutive caves a bonus screen is awarded along with a chance to solve a little puzzle and gain an extra life. Lives are also awarded for every five hundred points. Five skill levels are included which affect the cave structures and the time allowed.

Rockford's Riot is very much a sequel to Boulder Dash. All of the old features are here but arranged in a different way to present a new challenge. Riot has sixteen new screens and two new features that are not in Boulder Dash. An expanding wall gives you a very nasty time in one of the caves when you clear the earth away from around it. Water is found in two caves while it isn't dangerous you can take advantage of its supportive qualities.

CRITICISM

'I expected Rockford's Riot to be a step forward from Boulder Dash, but it's really just a step sideways. Admittedly, there a few new features, but for all intents and purposes Rockfords Riot is a souped-up Boulder Dash. The program still has its good points. Boulder Dash fanatics will love Rockfords Riot and it's extremely good value for those who never bought the original, thanks to the B side. But I must admit that I would be disappointed and feel slightly cheated if I'd bought Boulder Dash in the past and had just purchased Rockfords Riot expecting an exciting follow up. The B side would only make things worse'

'Spectrum Boulder Dash was a very good conversion from the Commodore, retaining all the playability of the original, despite the poor scrolling. Rockford's Riot is as good a translation as its predecessor in that it follows the 64 version closely. The thing is, the new screens aren't particularly innovative and l was somewhat disappointed to see little in the way of new adversaries. This is still a very enjoyable game to play but I would have appreciated something more than a simple reworking of the theme.' 'Having played and enjoyed Boulder Dash immensely (looked forward to getting hold of Rockford's Riot. After loading the latest offering from Monolith I found that while being a good game, Riot offers little more than some extra caverns for Boulder Dash without any graphical improvements. It is a fun game to play which can keep you addicted for hours and hours, but once all the good routes have been learnt it becomes very boring and repetitive. £9.95 seems a bit steep, but you do yet Boulder Dash with it. Overall it's a good game but if Lou have already got Boulder Dash then it isn't very good value for money.'

COMMENTS
Control Keys: left M, X, 5; right Symbol Shift, C, 8; up E, 0,7; down F, K, 6; fire N, V, B, 0; Q to u it; S to reset
Joystick: all joysticks
Keyboard play: very responsive
Use of Colour: very simple
Graphics: not over detailed, but still good
Sound: very good
Skill levels: five
Screens: 16
General Rating: Very addictive but the game is getting a little long in the tooth. Above average nonetheless.

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Screenshot Text

Bathtime for ROCKFORD, not an occasion the little chap looks forward to; get him out but don't let him get battered with a boulder.

ROCKFORD taps his foot impatiently waiting to begin his awsome jewel-gathering expedition into the unknown; wonder if he geats a bald spot holding up those boulders?