Time can be cruel to even the most innovative of games (look at Knight Lore or Sabre Wulf!), but not in the case of these marvellous First Star boulderamas. The idea's simple, the execution's brilliant. Move Rockford around the grid collecting diamonds and avoid being crushed by boulders that attempt to splatter you as you pass. You'll also have to block growing amoebas, transform butterflies and outmanoeuvre fireflies. Terminally addictive.
Instant relapse. Just when you thought you had licked your addiction to Boulderdash - easily the most potent game of 1984 - someone offers you a go at its sequel, Rockford's Riot. Pretty soon you dislodge a boulder, triggering off an avalanche. It gives you your first rush and the craving for more returns. To make matters worse, Monolith has included a copy of Boulderdash on the other side of the tape.
Rockford's Riot uses the same ingredients - boulders, jewels, amoebas, butterflies, fireflies, enchanted walls - but presents a brand new set of problems. There are 16 levels or caves as the cassette inlay calls them. In each caw you can scroll smoothly over an area at least six times the screen size. And in each you have to collect a given number of jewels within a time limit. But beyond this common factor there is enormous variety so that each level could almost be described as a separate game.
Take cave B for example. Amoebas are oozing out from the tops of three large vats. So you must first shift boulders to seal them in. If you succeed the amoebas turn into jewels. Then you have to dash down to the bottom of the vats, unplug them, and when the avalanche of boulders has settled, collect 75 jewels before time runs out.
Collecting jewels is a problem in itself. They are invariably embedded in a pile of boulders. As the game simulates perfectly the physics of rock falls, you only have to extract one for the whole lot to come tumbling down. When it is accompanied - as it is on the CBM-64 - by a distant booming this provides one of the most satisfying experiences in computer gaming.
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