Despite its self-congratulatory (and not very amusing) title, Boulder Dash: Rocks! is based on one of those crusty old relics that we genuinely don't mind coming back to once in a while. Although most of us didn't perhaps realise it at the time of Boulder Dash's original release on the Atari 800/C64 in 1984, its genius was rooted firmly in simple, addictive gameplay that made us look beyond the muddy, blocky (but charming) visuals. It was, in fact, the first ever home computer game to be turned into an arcade game - something unheard of at the time.
The concept was (and still is) disarmingly engaging. Taking the side-on viewpoint and subterranean earth-digging concept of Dig Dug, Boulder Dash added the collect-'em-up element of numerous early '80s arcade classics, but with a puzzle twist and tons of fiendishly designed levels. The aim, essentially, is to explore caverns and gather a set amount of diamonds before the time (or air, if you like) runs out. Along the way you'll guide 'Rockford' (arf) around various traps, avoid baddies, and push boulders out of the way without trapping yourself in the process. It's an idea that really hasn't dated a great deal, so seeing a DS remake 24 years on is no surprise at all.
Somewhat embellishing the key concepts of the mid-'80s versions, Boulder Dash: Rocks adds a whole bunch of new ideas into the mix - magnetic guns which can yank boulders out of the way from a distance, one-way doors, dynamite, tentacled boss monsters, projectile firing weapons, and many more as you progress. But all the while, the key 'gather the gems, get to the exit' premise remains at the heart.