It's no joke being a miner these days - at least not in this offering from Kansas City Systems. It takes you back to days of yore when gold, diamonds or coal were hewn from the rock by pickaxe power alone. There are no bodies to help here though. Once you've won your precious load, you pull your own truckful back to the paymaster. That niggardly soul will notice if you haven't filled your truck and will reward you with fewer points.
Life is cheap down the mines. The rather crude arrangement of lifts is unguarded - one false step and you're dead. You can construct your own ladders but, of course, heavy trucks don't go up or down them.
These accursed mines have seven levels and the Troglodyte lives on the lowest. Once you're below the first level, it relentlessly chases you. This can be to your advantage because he dies at the surface. It's too bad that the next generation hatches out on level seven to replace him.
While you dig for gold and diamonds on the first two screens the mine furnace is burning down. That's why coal is needed from the third mine. There's no pay for coal. The instructions included in the program explain all of this. In fact they are a model that other software houses might like to look at.
If it all sounds good, don't get too excited. The graphics, while smooth, are very ordinary. You might even call them crude. Some of the sound is strange to say the least, although the noise of pick on rock is quite pleasing.
There are also odd bugs. When Troglodyte snuffs it he is not removed from the screen unless some other object moves over him. Also it's possible to fall down non-existent lift shafts.
It's a pity that the cursor keys are used for movement. Apart from being too near BREAK, they are too cramped up for easy use. However, I could get the game to work with my Plus 1 joystick using the Joyplus program (Electron User, March 1985).
Kansas have a good idea here and Caveman is fun to play, particularly in outwitting the Troglodyte. The program suffers from its simple graphics and from a lack of variety in the screens but makes up for it in amusement.