Boulder Dash Construction Kit (Databyte/First Star) Review | Zzap - Everygamegoing


Boulder Dash Construction Kit
By Ozi-Soft
Commodore 64

Published in Zzap #20

Comprehensive construction kit plus Boulder Dash IV

Boulderdash Construction Kit

Boulderdash was first conceived in 1981 by a thirteen year old Chris Gray (who went on to design and program Whirlynurds and Infiltrator). Within two years, Boulderdash was programmed on an Atari, and then converted to the Commodore. In December 1984 the game was released in Britain where it quickly established a strong cult following. Then, during the summer of 1985, came a follow-up called Rockford's Riot and, a year later, Boulderdash III was released.

Now, First Star are set to release the long awaited Boulderdash Construction Kit, a utility which allows you to design and play your very own Boulderdash games, complete with caves and intermissions.

For the uninitiated (where have you been?), Boulderdash puts you in control of a small insect-like creature called Rockford. This strange fellow spends his whole life roaming caves, avoiding nasty creatures and collecting precious diamonds.

In a standard game there are sixteen caves and four bonus screens. The caves are roughly four screens in size and contain four basic elements: diamonds, boulders, dirt and spaces. Rockford can tunnel through dirt, run through diamonds (thus collecting them) and push boulders horizontally (as long as there isn't any dirt or immovable object in the way). The screen scrolls with him as he moves.

The object of the game is to collect a certain amount of diamonds from each cave - within a given time limit (which varies from cave to cave). If the quota of diamonds is collected before the time limit reaches zero, then an exit is activated allowing Rocky to escape to the next cave.

Some caves are also inhabited by weird creatures, such as fire-flies, butterflies, amoeba and slime. Each has its own characteristic which can, and occasionally must be put to good use.

The Boulderdash Construction Kit comes in two parts, a screen designer and a main Boulderdash program, into which a maximum of 64 previously defined caves can be loaded. Ten caves and five intermission screens are provided, so you effectively have Boulderdash IV to play with. Any possible sequels are in your hands.

The construction kit is icon-driven. Options are executed by moving a joystick-controlled cursor over the relevant icon, then pressing the fire button. A complete list of icons is displayed down the far right hand side of the screen, alongside a 'working area' which consists of a quarter of the whole cave structure, i.e.: one screen. This working area can be changed by firstly calling up a complete miniature 'map' of the cave, then moving a window to the required position.

Caves or intermission screens can be play-tested at any time (as long as there is an entrance and an exit present) or saved out to disk (or tape) for future use.


This is a Boulderdash player's dream come true - an easy-to-use construction kit which allows you to design the screens you've always wanted to play. The designer is extremely well thought out and it takes no time at all to work out how to use it. As for designing screens... it couldn't be any simpler - just put everything where you want it and you've got your cave. The designer also comes complete with Boulderdash IV (which is a neat game in itself!) so you can play that and get some inspiration - some of the screens are nicely implemented!


It's been over a year since First Star released the last official Boulderdash game - Rockford's Riot - and ever since then I've been yearning for some form of construction kit. Now it's arrived - and I reckon it's been worth the wait. Designing caves and intermission screens is simplicity in itself (using the random function it's diamond falls through and activates it for a predetermined time possible to create a playable cave in seconds!) and unlike the original game, nearly everything can appear in a cave - fireflies, butterflies, magic wall, slime, expanding wall... the Boulderdash Construction Kit is quite simply brilliant. It's got immense potential and shouldn't be overlooked by any self-respecting fan of the original game.


Construction sets are always great fun, but a Boulderdash one? Honestly, I flipped over this. It's brilliant. There's no end to the amount of weird and wonderful designs you can come up with. It's the sheer flexibility of the program that impresses me - it's really simple to use and no hassle when it comes to trying out your designed screen. When you're bored of Boulderdash Construction Kit, you're bored of yourself because it all relies on your imagination.


Presentation 99%
Comprehensive instructions and many useful options which are incredibly easy to use.

Graphics 83%
Simple, but pretty and effective. The colour scheme is entirely up to you.

Sound 71%
The original Boulderdash title screen tune and spot effects.

Hookability 95%
The game is delightfully simple to get into and the construction kit is a joy to use.

Lastability 97%
As many screens as you want, limited only by your imagination.

Value For Money 97%
Two excellent products for the price of one.

Overall 97%
The definitive purchase for Boulderdash fans.