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Although the graphics of the original
Boulderdash are simple, they are very effective and I'm surprised (and annoyed) that First Star have changed them. Bas-relief graphics may well be the 'in' thing, but they just don't walk with this sort of game. I would have welcomed a new title screen tune, but at least they have left the sound effects intact.

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Most of the caves are tough to complete -- although I'm sure cave A is impossible -- and I enjoyed playing
Boulderdash III. But it's really Boulderdash with redesigned screens, and I consider this a rip off at the price. Still, this is sufficient fodder for hungry Boulderdash players, but it really should be cheaper.

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I must admit that I thought another
Boulderdash game would be a real bore, but First Star have really come up trumps with this one. The graphics have been completely revamped, giving some initial confusion to even the most ardent of Boulderdash players and the screens themselves are fiendishly difficult. The appearance of a couple of new nasties would have been welcome -- the ones in this game are really the old denizens with new graphics, but even so the game is horribly difficult, amazingly addictive and in my opinion the best in the Boulderdash series.

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THE FOUR ADVERSARIES

MOUTHS

Have the same properties as the fireflies in Boulderdash and Rockford's Riot. They kill Rockford on contact, but dropping a boulder on them disposes of them and creates a square hole in the process.

EYES

Have the same properties as Butterflies and they also kill Rockford on contact. Dropping a rock on one turns it into nine sparkling diamonds.

THE MONOLITH

This menace multiplies through ground and empty spaces. It can be touched, but it has a strange effect on Eyes and Mouths. When either comes into contact with the Monolith it explodes, but the Eyes change into nine diamonds. If the Monolith gets trapped it turns into diamonds, but should it expand to 200 squares then it changes into boulders.

MAGIC WALLS

It looks like an ordinary piece of wall, but when a boulder or diamond is dropped onto it, it glows and makes twinkly noises for a limited period. If any boulder pass through it during this time they are turned into diamonds; however, precious jewels turn into worthless boulders if they fall through. When the magic stops sparkling, anything that falls into it disappears for good.
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Welcome to Game of the Week! Each week there will be a new featured game on this page. The game may be good, average or diabolically bad, it really doesn't matter! Just look at the pics, read the text and enjoy the nostalgia! :-) Game of the Week! is open to contributions so if you would like to contribute a game article for this page you're more than welcome to! Every article we receive will be considered!
Boulder Dash III
1986 First Star Software
Programmed by Peter Liepa
 
Most text of the present article comes from the review published in the fifteenth issue of the British C64 magazine ZZAP!64 (street date: June 12th, 1986).
 

BOULDERDASH III
First Star, 9.95 cass, joystick only


ZZAP!'s margin megastar, Rocky Rockford, is back in yet another chapter of the ever popular Boulderdash series. This time, however, our rock-pushing hero has donned a space suit and his adventures are set in the infinite voids of space rather than underground. There is a new set of nasties to confound and confuse the poor fellow and the graphics are different, but the object of the game remains the same: collect a set amount of diamonds from one of sixteen different caves and escape within a given lime limit.

The playing area is roughly three screens long by two screens high and scrolls with Rockford as he moves. Each cave usually comprises four basic elements -- metal plates, rocks, walls and diamonds -- along with various combinations of adversaries (see separate panel). Rocky can tunnel through plates and diamonds, but he can't pass through walls or boulders, and certain nasties kill him on contact.

Although the game is set in space, boulders and diamonds obey Earth's laws of gravity, ie they fall unless they are resting on something. However, boulders and diamonds don't like sitting on other boulders and diamonds, and they fall off.

If a falling boulder or diamond hits Rocky, or he runs into something nasty, he blows up and loses one of his three lives. Fortunately, a new life is awarded every 500 points. When the allotted number of diamonds have been collected, the screen flashes and it's time to make tracks for the exit, a distinctive flashing square. Any remaining time is converted into a bonus, and Rocky is transported to the next cave. If the time limit is exceeded, though, it costs him a life. When all of the sixteen caves have been solved, the game starts again on the next of the five levels.

 


THE SIXTEEN CAVES

CAVE A: INTRO

A relatively straightforward cave where the object is to simply collect the set amount of diamonds and escape. There are a couple of tricky places where a boulder could possibly flatten Rocky, but if he's careful there shouldn't be any hassle.

CAVE B: FORT KNOX

The first of many difficult screens. Over fifty diamonds are enclosed within four sets of brick 'prisons' -- how is Rockford going to get them? Well, there are six Mouths at the top of the screen which need to be guided to the correct place on the screen before dropping boulders on them and . . .

CAVE C: TRANSFORM

This screen heralds the appearance of magic walls. There aren't enough diamonds lying around the cave to allow Rocky to finish, but dropping a boulder through one of the walls generates a diamond. Ah! There is one small problem, though -- the magic walls are in abundance and if a diamond accidentally falls through a second magic wall . . .
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CAVE D: REUNION I

Greetings to the Monolith! There are several Eyes in this cave and since they turn into diamonds on contact with the Monolith, all you have to do is lead them to it . . . or is there more to it?

CAVE E: MAZE I

Just collect the diamonds and get out. The many Mouths scattered about this cave mean that Rockford has to be very stealthy on his travels, but otherwise this is straightforward.

CAVE F: MAZE II

Similar to the Maze I, but there are a lot more diamonds to collect and even more Mouths to avoid . . .

CAVE G: OBSTACLE

The Monolith returns! It is swiftly cutting off Rocky's exit, so he must quickly whizz past it, grab the diamonds and get out before it grows too large to allow him to do so.

CAVE H: EASY

There are three levels of magic wall and no diamonds. Just remember the old adage 'magic walls turn rocks into diamonds and diamonds into rocks and get to work . . . but, be careful with this cave -- don't set off the wall until all the rocks have been set up sufficiently.
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CAVE I: CAVE-IN

No nasties, but lots of linked vertical tubes filled with rocks and diamonds. If Rocky's careful and doesn't do anything silly -- like waiting beneath a falling rock -- he won't have too many problems in completing this cave.

CAVE J: THE GUARDS

There are only ten jewels to collect, but each is sitting at the end of a sealed tube patrolled by a Mouth. Fortunately, there is a line of boulders which can be dropped on the Mouths once they have been released.

CAVE K: GOOD LUCK

This is just about impossible! No diamonds, just a Monolith enclosed within a small brick 'prison', and a few Mouths. Blow a hole in the wall to free the Monolith, and then quickly trap it again to turn it into diamonds.

CAVE L: THE TRAP

Another tricky cave. The Monolith must be trapped before it grows loo large; not easy, since the Monolith spreads at a horrendous rate.

CAVE M: REUNION II

Lots of Eyes and the Monolith. Simply get the former to meet the latter, and a multitude of diamonds are yours for the taking.

CAVE N: LIBERATOR

The Monolith is completely enclosed by Mouths on the left hand side of the cave, and on the right hand side there are loads of trapped Eyes. Now, you'd think that you have to somehow get the Eyes to the Monolith to produce diamonds, but you don't. Well, not necessarily . . .

CAVE O: PERFECT

Deceptive screen this one. A magic wall and the Monolith are the only things present. Trap the Monolith and use the magic wall to get the rest of the required diamonds? Not really because you must get 95 diamonds before you can escape. A little clue though . . . this Monolith isn't like most of its genre.

CAVE P: THE FRONTIER

The final screen is a tricky one. The playfield is split horizontally by a magic wall and underneath that is a whole pile of Mouths. Plenty of diamonds to collect but how is Rocky going to get past all those horrible Mouths?

     

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Yet another Boulderdash game and as with the other two the only real change is its suffix. Admittedly the graphics are different as the packaging goes out of its way to tell you (putting Metalgrafik (tm) on the inlay is a little bit strong considering it's only that old favourite bas-relief (tm)). The new screens are reasonably well designed and provide more than a fair amount of enjoyment for Boulderdash junkies, maybe even 9.95 worth of enjoyment. If First Star were to play really fair they should release a Boulderdash editor but I doubt if they will as it would cut their throats financially with regards to Boulderdash. Never mind, I must admit to thoroughly enjoying Boulderdash III and would probably even cough up the tenner asked for it.
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Graphics 73%

Effective and pretty looking bas-relief which is quite strange if you're used to the normal Boulderdash style graphics.

Sound 62%
The original Boulderdash tune
makes another appearance and the usual tinkle, tinkle, boom spot FX are in evidence.

Hookability 93%
As with all the games in the series it's fiendishly addictive -- you feel you just HAVE to solve each screen . . .

Lastability 93%
And nearly all of the screens are difficult.

Value For Money 88%
A tenner for a program which will have you puzzling and playing for weeks!.

Overall 93%
If you want your hair to go grey and drop out (if you don't tear it out beforehand) then go out and buy this incredibly addictive program.
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Htmlized by Dimitris Kiminas (15 Jan 2006)

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