Estimated reading time: 6 minutes
Many moons ago, a smol Jaggy played a game called Boulder Dash on the Commodore 64 and the Atari. Yeah, that’s calling up the sands of time. Anyways, players run around as Rockford whose job is to pick up gems that open the exit. Each level increase in difficulty and the trick is to successfully escape without blocking the exit. It’s not just monsters that can stop you from completing the levels, you can prevent your escape too! With that said, here is my preview of Boulder Dash Deluxe.
Rockford is now a 3D character who has the same task as before but has more tools to use. It sounds simple in concept but in reality, these tools can increase the difficulty. This makes the differences between the original game and Boulder Dash Deluxe striking.
In Boulder Dash Deluxe, players have the option to play as the original 2D Rockford character or they can customize a newer character. Players have access to a variety of different looks without needing to unlock or purchase them. Also, the customization is not set in stone. Your character can change looks whenever you decide to change it!
However, good looks do not get you far when it comes to completing the levels. Players need to rely on their wits and speed to collect all the necessary gems to get out. In fact, finding the exit in Boulder Dash Deluxe is much easier than it was in the original game!
Early on, players gain items or boosts which help Rockford in his quest. One of these items is a speed boost, which makes the escape of falling rocks easier. However, this can cause Rockford harm if he runs into enemies.
A neat feature that has been added to this game is the ability to use items. Boulder Dash Deluxe allows the use of dynamite, a time freeze, the spyglass, and a score multiplier. In the original version, the only ability that players had was to shoot in a direction without putting Rockford in harm’s way. I’m not even certain that the ability to activate dynamite was in the original, either.
In short, these elements add to the difficulty of the game and it could easily benefit from a level editor. Endless challenges could be created!
The only level set that is unlocked automatically is the classic level set. Players have the ability to experience the original game in all its glory, with its old-school graphics intact. Also, they’ll be able to learn about the hazards of the original game without a tutorial. Back in the early days, players figured out the rules on the fly. So, players that want to experience the original game can dive into the classic level set! (I did play through a bunch of these levels just for nostalgia purposes.)
The challenge of Boulder Dash was not only to complete the levels but to beat your own high score. Not only does the classic level set give a numerical score but it also contains a star rating. Boulder Dash Deluxe players will be able to rate their own abilities in this way. I think it’s neat.
In the above screenshot, we can see the original graphics of Boulder Dash on the Commodore and Atari. Rockford was a 2D character and the color scheme was limited. The original game also didn’t have an obvious indicator for the exit. Players had to hope they didn’t bury it while they raced to grab their gems.
Boulder Dash Deluxe not only updated the graphics style, but players were given better indications of hazards and gems. By updating the color palette, adding character customization, and added tutorial has boosted the games’ appeal, in my opinion.
I don’t have a ton of things to say about the sound design and music in Boulder Dash Deluxe. What I can say is that the game developers used the original music from the old Boulder Dash games. From a nostalgia standpoint, I absolutely love that players can see the original inspiration sprinkled throughout the game, right down to some of the pickup sounds.
Music originally composed by Peter Liepa can be heard here. At the time he created Boulder Dash, he attended school for Physics then switched to Mathematics. His foray into video games was rather short as he only created Boulder Dash. Peter designed the gameplay, the caves, game physics, graphics, QA, and music, which is stated in this 2005 interview. He can be found posting about mathematics principles on Twitter so be sure to drop him a follow!
I absolutely adore this title. Not only did Peter Liepa return to video games by designing some levels for Boulder Dash, but the game pays homage to the original. The music is modernized, the graphics are clean, and the added features add a higher level of challenge. In the future, the developers intend to add a multiplayer option (which my brother will be happy to hear.) All Boulder Dash Deluxe needs is a level editor, and you’ll find me lost in the caves for hours. Send out your search parties! Yeah, I love this game.
Boulder Dash Deluxe is a testament to the original game, giving players new abilities, character customization, and beautiful graphics. While this is only a preview of the game, I would rate Boulder Dash Deluxe at a 9 out of 10 because it’s not just a copy and pasted version of the original, it has unique and interesting elements. Anyone that enjoys titles like Boulder Dash or Chip’s Challenge will adore this game. Trust me!Score: N/A for previews