Boulderdash review - Nintendo Entertainment System
Data East have taken one of the most popular games of the early eighties, dusted it down and released a brand, spanking new version for the Nintendo! Yes indeed, after a seven year absence, Boulderdash is back!
The game involves a tiny little miner called Rockford, who's on the look-out for jewels. Rockford likes jewels you see, and it's his life's ambition to have a suitably massive collection of such glittering crystalline items. To this end, he's decided to visit a number of mines across four remote worlds - all of them teeming with massive diamonds! The only problem is that each of these mines is a potential death trap, with plenty of boulders at the ready to crush the life out of poor old Rockford.
The action is displayed Dig Dug-style (remember that classic coin-op?), with Rockford travelling the four-way scrolling mines digging out earth to reach the jewels, looking out on the way for evil sprites intent on deprived Rockford of one of his lives. The main problem comes in the form of the boulders. Dig some earth away from underneath the boulders and they'll fall. Rockford can rest boulders on his head, but if they drop a distance onto his unprotected scalp, it's curtains! Although Rockford can collect jewels, if these fall on his head, a similarly hideous death befalls him.
There's a time limit for each sub-level, and it's Rockford's objective to collect a certain amount of jewels and find the exit.
What the Mean Machines staff thought
Boulderdash was one of my fave games on the C64, and it holds a similar place of honour in my Gameboy collection. Now, Nintendo have seen fit to release a new, improved version on the NES and it's completely skillful! Boulderdash was never a game to impress graphically, but Data East have spruced up the original game with more variety in the backdrops and better sprites. Combine this with classic playability (thankfully, Data East have left this largely the same) of the older 8-bit versions and we've got an extremely impressive title. Boulderdash is a trip down Memory Lane for me, mainly because the maps are identical to the old C64 original - and all the old tactics work too! In all, a great game that should have you digging away on the NES for ages to come.
It might be over six years old, but Boulderdash is still as fresh as ever. Data East have improved the graphics and added a neat front end, but have retained the same maps and gameplay that made the C64 version one of the classic games of all time. It's massively addictive, calling on arcade skills and fiendish puzzle-solving in a way that draws you totally into the game. You shout with frustration as a wrong move results in Rockford being buried under a pile of boulders, then yell victoriously when you work out how to get those last few diamonds and finish the screen! Boulderdash is one of the greatest games ever written - if you want a summer of glorious play, treat yourself to a copy as soon as possible.
Have your say about this review
Matthew Taylor - 23 Aug 2009, 02:47 GMT
This was a game that I became completely absorbed with on the C64. The often crude graphics of the early 8-bit days of gaming, like the black and white pages of a good book, left your imagination to fill in the blanks and conjure much richer worlds filled with dank caves, treasures and traps. Boulder Dash was one such title, blending beautifully the adrenalin rush of arcades like Pac-Man with the intellectual workout of a great puzzler. While Data East's cutesy graphical overhaul of First Star's classic leaves less to the imagination, its nice to see so much love poured into an update, and the super deformed sprites made this remake relevant to a new generation of gamers possibly discovering it for the first time on NES. Along with the excellent soundtrack, what has been retained is the super tight level design of the original, with literally no boulder or diamond out of place, making the challenge a carbon copy of the original's winning formula...and nobody can argue with that.