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Activision's other arcade puzzle, Zenji, had me hooked for ages. I initially thought Rock 'n' Bolt would do the same, but unfortunately its appeal died exponentially with play. For once a few nasties to upset your play would be appreciated, but as it stands, Rock 'n' Bolt didn't rivet me to my chair for hours on end.



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!
Rock n' Bolt
1985 Activision
Programmed by Jeff Vavasour
Most text of the present article comes from the review published in the first issue of the British C64 magazine ZZAP!64 (May 1985).

Activision, 10.99 cass, 19.99 disk, joystick only


O Slick, original puzzle with great music

High above the city streets Louie the construction worker struts to the sound of a contemporary rock beat, in this new arcade puzzle from Activision.

Girders move back and forth and Louie needs to bolt them down within a given time limit. For each girder he successfully stops moving, he is paid a certain fee, depending on the level of play.

If he needs to undo a bolt for any reason, then his pay (score) will decrease by more than he earned for bolting it down. Once all the girders have been bolted down, then he needs to get back to where he started in order to move up to the next level.

There are basically two different types of screen in Rock 'n' Bolt, alternating through 100 levels. In the first you simply have to bolt everything down and get back to the lift at the side of the building as quick as possible.

In the second type, you must bolt down girders to a specific blueprint, as shown in the bottom right corner of the screen, returning to the lift once finished correctly.

You are given a time limit in which to complete each level, and this becomes longer or shorter depending on which level you're on. Once you finish one, the points awarded for each successful bolting of a girder are increased.

You can enter at one of three starting levels (1, 9 or 18). On later levels the puzzle extends over several screens. These screens are linked, but unfortunately don't scroll to one another, they switch abruptly.

There are three levels of difficulty: practice, easy and hard, but these are only time orientated, not really giving much other variation.

The score and timer are displayed on screen in 3D -- the first time I've seen this. Louie himself looked as if he's wearing a turban, but he's well defined for a multicolour sprite, and exceedingly well animated -- watching him walk and spin is very amusing. The colours used were fitting and attractive on both sprite and background.

Sonically Rock 'n' Bolt is incredible - some of the most outstanding music yet on the 64. Activision have really done themselves proud this time, and there can't be much more to be squeezed out of the SID chip. Other sound effects are great too - just listen to that guy spin.

Despite all these good points, I'm afraid the game is still somewhat flawed. Gameplay is interesting and enjoyable to start with, but it fades due to there not being enough variety.


This reminded me of Activision's Zenji as an arcade puzzle against the clock and proved to be equally absorbing. Many of the levels are easy but with 100 of them it will be tough to finish them all. As with most of their recent releases, music is

always in accompaniment and adds to the game. The graphics are plain but breakdancing a bolt into its hole is fun. This could well provide hours of concentration and with the layouts extending over several screens it may drive you crazy.


The nature of the puzzle

ROCK 'n' BOLT introduces some new elements to an arcade style game. It combines arcade quick thinking and control with a strategic and logical approach.

In some ways it's a sort of 2D Rubik's cube with sliding pieces. Fortunately it's not as hard as the cube. Unfortunately there isn't as much lasting interest as the cube either, but there's enough to keep you going for some time.

The skill is to choose carefully the order and position in which the girders are bolted down to ensure you don't isolate yourself.

On the later levels of several screens width, the best approach is to sort out the farthest screens first, arranging some form of route back. The same applies to each individual screen as you go - take the external areas first, working your way inward.

Remember that you need to get back to where you started, so always leave a return route. In every case it's apparently possible to do this without having to undo girders.


Don't be seduced by the slick graphics and superb music. There is no real challenge in this game, and boredom became an increasing factor during my first play. The time ticking down is the only thing to make your palms sweat, and even that can be fixed.

Perhaps something that chased you or undid your work would have made the game far more frantic and challenging, but as it stands this is just an average arcade style game with amazing music.


75% Choice of level, time allowance, 1 or 2 players.
Bolting down girders is new to us.
74% Louie bops and spins beautifully, otherwise plain.
Immediate desire to complete a layout.
93% Seven fantastic foot-tapping funky tunes.
100 screens, but many are easy.
61% Expensive, but almost a really good game. Not quite enough variety.


Htmlized by Dimitris Kiminas (15 February 2001)

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