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Boulder Dash

The Rockford Files.

Dark blue icons of video game controllers on a light blue background
Image credit: Eurogamer

Retro apologists are forever gushing over 'timeless classics' and weeping over nostalgic memories of crusty old games and the passing of their youth - but when you're talking about a title like Boulderdash, such undiluted conviction about its ageless worth is perfectly justified. EA has developed a remake, for gawd's sake.

Like a lot of early C64 games, this had absolutely awwwwful graphics with pixels the size of your face, but what made it so very very special was the beautifully refined gameplay which feels as fresh today as it did when we first laid eyes on it.

Starring the loveable prospector 'Rockford' (arf), the idea was to run around a series of Dig-Dug style underground caves, gather as many diamonds as possible and reach the exit before the time ran out.

Based on a true story.

Along the way, you'd have to tunnel through earth, push boulders around and try to carve the most efficient route, not only to reach the exit, but one that avoids death, crushes your enemies, and lets you hoover up as much booty as humanly possible. As a formula, it was pretty much spot-on from the beginning, and was one of the very few games to actually find itself ported to the arcade - something that was completely unheard of at the time.

But it wasn't exactly short on challenge, making progress beyond the first handful of levels quite a feat. If you fancy playing it today, one thing we'd definitely advise is save a ROM image between levels - unless you actually want to continually play the same early rounds over and over again.

Over the ensuing years, the Boulderdash brand was pretty much milked to death, and subsequent sequels merely seemed content to add new levels than do anything new with the core gameplay. How the remake turns out will be very interesting indeed...

8 / 10

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