Acorn User1st March 1988
Published in Acorn User #068
They always say first impressions are important. When I first saw Bonecruncher, I thought Superior had designed some new screens for Repton 3. But after five minutes, I'd found this was far from the truth and I've been crunching bones ever since.
The Repton similarity is quite marked; you play the part of some reptile and must wander around a number of screens collecting skeletons. Your character is callde Bono; I wonder if the author likes U2?
Of course, various monsters try to stop you. When you have five skeletons, the bone crunching bit starts. First you must find a cauldron, make some soap, and then take it to the bathing monsters upstairs. You may laugh, but this is serious small business! After five soapy deliveries, you move onto the next level, of which there are 24.
There are three types of enemy creatures, and for a change, a friend! The mosnters head straight for you, spiders follow the left hand wall and glooks move towards your last soap delivery. All monsters kill you on contact, but can be trapped in corners. Here, they will suffocate and you can collect their bones. This is vital on later levels as there are not enough 'natural' skeletons at the start to make the soap. Glooks behave rather like Repton's boulders, but can move in any direction. They can also be pushed about.
Your friend is called Fozzy; he is rather stupid, but protects you for monsters and can only be killed if he gets trapped. Talking of traps, there are two to look out for; the first is trapdoor that kills anything that touches it, the other is a 'volcano' that erupts glooks once uncovered!
The game is technically very good. The screen is laid-out well, and clever use of swapping between two screens creates very smooth scrolling, if a little slow. But at least, as far as I can see, it never gets any slower. A catchy tune adds a lot to the atmosphere on the BBC version. The packaging is also very nice, with a comic strip to introduce you to the characters.
My only criticisms are that there is no highscore table of any sort, and the picture that appears whenever you deliver some soap gets very tedious. Also, even on the Master versions, the screens are loaded in in four sets of six - some sort of sideways RAM storage would have been very nice.
Bonecruncher is a 'proper' sequel to Repton - the idea is similar, but the overall game is very different. It looks like another Superior hit.