Electron User1st February 1988
Published in Electron User 5.05
In Bonecruncher you play the unlikely part of Bono, a cute little green dragon who lives in a castle by the sea. As an enterprising soul, you have set up Bono's Bathing Company making soap, a commodity prized by the monsters who bathe in the moat. As everyone knows, real soap is made from bones. So to keep the customers happy you must collect the skeletons littered around the castle and boil them up in your cauldron. This turns them into luxurious skeleton soap.
However, the castle is anything but a safe place. There are trapdoors through which you can disappear without trace. On top of this, some of the skeletons are not yet skeletons - they're live and very deadly monsters, with an insatiable appetite for little green dragons.
A further hazard appears in the shape of giant spiders that rush around the walls biting any hapless dragons in their path. These will also eat any bones they find. You must race the spiders to collect the skeletons before they do.
The castle is also inhabited by Glooks, large creatures who love the smell of soap. When you have climbed up a stairway to supply another customer with a bar of soap, they will - after a short delay - all move in the direction faced by this stairway. Although a Glook is not harmful in itself, it will crush you if you get in its way.
An added problem is that you may find yourself, or the way forward, blocked by Glooks if you are unfortunate enough to take a bar of soap up the wrong stairway. However, you can push them or take advantage of the direction they are trying to move to suffocate monsters and turn them into skeletons.
Fortunately, Bono's Bathing Company is not a one-man show. Your partner Fozzy, is the brawn of the operation, strong enough to hold monsters and spiders at bay. He's not very bright however, and you must keep an eye on him to make sure he is not trapped or wandering in circles.
Bonecruncher is similar in appearance to Superior's classic Repton, with smooth four-directional scrolling and fiendish puzzles. However, the two games are quite different.
The addition of Fozzy and the Glooks brings an entirely new dimension to the game, not the least of which is that the Glooks' movement causes the layout of each chamber to change repeatedly around you.
The humour in Bonecruncher is probably its most appealing aspect. The skeletons grin at you and tap their feet expectantly, and if you stand still for more than a few seconds Bono will start to yawn and stamp his foot impatiently. The monsters are also beautifully animated, jumping up and down showing a mouthful of teeth.
Bonecruncher will delight game players of all ages - another sure-fire hit.