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Boulder Dash (1990)      

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Details (Nintendo NES) Supported platforms Artwork and Media
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JVC
Maze
First Star Software, SAS Sakata

Yes
Eng

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USA


Nintendo NES


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Wiki (Unknown)   14th Mar 2013 05:03
Boulder Dash (バルダーダッシュ Barudā Dasshu?), originally released in 1984 for Atari 8-bit computers,[1] is a series of computer games released for the Apple II, MSX, ZX Spectrum, Commodore 64, and ColecoVision home computers, and later ported to the NES, BBC Micro and Acorn Electron, PC, Amstrad CPC, Amiga and many other platforms. It was created by Peter Liepa and Chris Gray, and on October 28, 1983, acquired and later published by First Star Software, which still owns the rights to the game. Boulder Dash inherits numerous gameplay similarities from the earlier 1982 arcade game The Pit, by Japanese developer Taito.

The game's protagonist is called "Rockford". He must dig through caves collecting gems and diamonds and reach the exit within a time limit, while avoiding various types of dangerous creatures as well as obstacles like falling rocks and the constant danger of being crushed or trapped by an avalanche, or killed by an underground explosion.

The Commodore 64 version of the first game was also re-released on the Virtual Console in Europe on September 19, 2008, and in North America on June 1, 2009.


Game objects

Rockford, left, drops a series of boulders on a series of butterflies. The butterflies explode into diamonds, which fall down the shafts. Commodore 64 version.Rockford is the hero of the game, the character controlled by the player. His goal is to collect diamonds and avoid contact with monsters and falling rocks.
Dirt and Space are the two basic components of the playfield. Dirt can serve for blocking and/or suspending objects, while space allows them to move freely. Rockford clears dirt as he moves, creating space.
Walls are the delimiters of the level. Two basic types exist, destructible (which looks like brick, and can be removed with explosions) and indestructible (made of titanium and from which the edge of the level is usually made).
The exit is the final goal Rockford must reach after collecting enough diamonds. It is disguised as an indestructible wall, and reveals itself after the required number of diamonds is collected.
Rocks are probably the most commonly encountered elements of the game. Upon removing the dirt from beneath them, they fall until they reach solid ground again. A falling rock can not only crush enemies, but also Rockford as well. Rocks can also "roll off" of other rocks and destructible walls if there is space beside them, and Rockford can also push single rocks sideways if there is nothing else in the way.
Diamonds are the items Rockford must collect in order to open the exit of a level. They otherwise act like boulders.
Fireflies are one of the common enemies in the game. When next to a wall, they follow it to their left (clockwise); otherwise they circle around a point in a 2x2 area. When a rock or diamond is dropped on them, they explode in a 3x3 square, destroying anything in that area except indestructible walls and leaving empty space behind. They also explode when Rockford touches them, killing both themselves and Rockford.
Butterflies are similar to fireflies, with two important differences. They follow the wall to their right (anti-clockwise) and when they explode, they leave behind nine diamonds arranged in a 3x3 square (unless one of these spaces happens to contain an indestructible wall).
Amoeba is one of the most unpredictable elements of the game. It grows at a random rate, by expanding into adjacent space and dirt. The level settings include a duration after which the amoeba's growth rate will dramatically increase. The amoeba is not directly dangerous to Rockford, although it is capable of enclosing and trapping him, or blocking him from reaching the exit. If the amoeba grows too large, it will solidify into boulders, and if it is stopped from growing any more, it will crystallize into diamonds. The second advantage that Rockford can exploit from the amoeba is that both fireflies and butterflies will explode on contact with it, the latter being the most advantageous.
Slime looks similar to the amoeba (colored blue instead of green), but it works completely differently. Slime does not grow, and does not cause enemies to explode on contact. Its functionality is revealed when dropping a rock or a diamond on top of it; slime has a permeability rate which defines how long the item will remain sitting on top of it before falling through. This happens in quite a sudden and random manner, making the game rely on improvising even more.
Expanding walls look and act just like destructible walls, with one difference: when possible, they expand horizontally, often trapping the player or enemies. Expanding walls are made out of themselves - blowing a hole in the middle of a row causes it to close in again almost immediately.
Magic Walls look and act just like destructible walls except that when a boulder is dropped on a magic wall, it falls through and turns into a diamond. Conversely a diamond dropped on a magic wall turns into a boulder. If there is no empty space underneath the magic wall, a boulder or diamond dropped onto it will simply disappear. The level settings specify the amount of time that magic walls will "mill", i.e. turn rocks into diamonds and vice versa; after which they deactivate, and any more rocks or diamonds that fall onto them will simply disappear.

Series

The official Boulder Dash games started in 1984 with the original home computer title, and continue to be published by First Star.
Boulder Dash (1984) The original Boulder Dash was published on multiple home computer and consoles.
Boulder Dash (1984) It was then released on arcade console by Exidy. This version was almost identical, but with coins buying 30 seconds of game time. Historically, this was the first home computer title to be converted to an arcade console.
Boulder Dash (1985 Arcade) In 1985 Comptiq released another arcade version on Data East's "DECO Cassette System", with improved graphics but a reduced display grid on a vertical monitor.
Boulder Dash II (1985) The second home format was published under several different titles; Rockford's Riot on the MSX, Rockford's Revenge on the C64 (with the former used with the ZX Spectrum's marketing, but the latter used on the cassette inlay, originally the game was going to be called pebbles, Reg Wilkins, Allan McInlay, Martin Brown and David Kivlin were on the design team). The second release in Japan was titled Champion Boulder Dash., but it's not a port of the western game.
Boulder Dash 3 (1986 Apple II, C64, Spectrum, PC) Monochrome space-themed graphics and poorly designed levels made this a critical failure.
Boulder Dash Construction Kit (1986 Apple II, C64, Spectrum, Atari 8-bit computers, Atari ST) This release included a small number of levels, but was titled Boulder Dash IV The Game for the Spectrum re-release.
Rockford (1988 Arcade, Amiga, Atari 8-bit, Atari ST, Arcade, Spectrum, Amstrad, C64)- Rockford was originally a licensed arcade game produced by Arcadia Systems, and later converted to various home computer formats
Boulder Dash Part 2 (1990 Arcade)
Boulder Dash (1990 - Game Boy)
Boulder Dash (1990 - NES)
Boulder Dash EX (2002 Game Boy Advance) - This one has a new "EX mode" and "Classic mode" which is a direct port of the 1984 PC version.
Boulder Dash Xmas 2002 Edition (2002 PC)
GemJam Gold (2003 PC) The game's credits claim this is based on Boulder Dash, and is licensed by First Star.
Boulder Dash Treasure Pleasure (2003 PC)
Boulder Dash: Rocks! (2007 PSP, DS, iOS)
Boulder DAs Vol 1 (2009 iOS)
Boulder Dash-XL (2011 - Xbox Live Arcade, PC)
Boulder Dash - The Collection! (2011 Android) "Boulder Dash - The Collection for Android Announced".
Boulder Dash (2011 Atari 2600) - Limited edition of 250 copies.
Boulder Dash-XL 3D (2012 - Nintendo 3DS) - 3D version of Boulder Dash-XL.
Boulder Dash-XL by HeroCraft (2012 iOS) - has a retro mode which copies the look of the classic Boulder Dash-XL>



Review scores

Computer and Video Games 34/40
CRASH 93%
Sinclair User 5/10
Your Sinclair 8/10
Zzap!64 97%
Home Computing Weekly 5/5


Awards

Zzap!64 Gold Medal



The ZX Spectrum version was voted number 9 in the Your Sinclair Official Top 100 Games of All Time.

Mean Machines gave the Game Boy port of Boulder Dash a score of 90%, praising it as "one of the finest video games ever written", describing the game as "one to buy as soon as possible" and noting its faithfulness to the original Commodore 64 version.

Clones and similar games
Supaplex
Repton (video game)
Crystal Mines II - The core game mechanics of Boulder Dash with more objects and Rockford replaced by a robot.


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This title was first added on 28th January 2012
This title was most recently updated on 14th March 2013


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