Boulder Dash has been released on a wide variety of home and portable consoles since the first game in 1984, making its way to mobile devices and recently being re-released for the game’s 30th anniversary. Today I’m going to talk about the 1990 NES version specifically.
In Boulder Dash you play as a miner named Rockford and dig through 2D caves filled with earth and boulders, trying to collect enough diamonds to unlock the exit to each level. The game’s challenge comes from carefully navigating around and manipulating the movement of the titular boulders. They can fall on your head if you dig the ground out from under them, you can get trapped between them or you can block yourself off from the exit, forcing you to restart the level. As well as navigating the caves you encounter enemies who you have no means of attacking directly, instead you have to time and position a boulder so it falls on top of them.
The NES version has a bright and clear visual aesthetic, however the textures for the rocks, earth and boulders have little variety so each level lacks visual distinction to make them memorable. It has an upbeat and catchy soundtrack although I didn’t get far enough to see if that changes much either.
Boulder Dash’s core gameplay of digging away and collecting diamonds is fun on its own, however the added challenge of having to think on your feet and complete each level within a strict time limit gives the game a steep difficulty curve. This gives it some longevity in the same vein as other games of the time. I struggled to get past the third stage in the time I had with it, however the map screen suggested there were plenty more to do beyond that.
This week I was given a game that I have actually played before, and have fond memories of it. This week I was given Might Morphin Power Rangers on the Super Nintendo. Now, this is a game that is really rather simple, it’s your basic beat ’em up.
You start out by picking your Ranger out of 5, and then you are sent into a level when you punch and kick putty enemies to death. These levels are a little different to your normal beat ’em up, in that they are separated into three parts. The first part sees you as your unpowered Power Ranger, where you take on different colour Putty enemies, the second part sees you morph and become fully powered up to take on the putties, which appear to take fewer hits to defeat when powered up, and the third part sees you taking on a boss. The stages have variety also, going from the streets of Angel Grove into warehouses and the sewers which fill with water making you swim. The combat is pretty basic, though, it’s one button to punch and you can do a more powerful attack by pressing up and attack at the same time. You also get a special attack that seems to do a lot of damage to everything on screen at once.
Visually I like the game it’s rather nice and vibrant, they only real complaint is that the Power Rangers themselves all look the same in that when they are powered up the sprite is the same bar a different colour when the should be various helmets and a skirt on the pink ranger. That is a small gripe.
The music in this game is also wonderful, it has a catchy rockish soundtrack to it and is actually pretty damn enjoyable. I would say to any old school Power Rangers fan that this game is worth a shot and it is, even if you aren’t a fan, there’s plenty of fun to be had in just beating on things.
This game has come up several times on some peoples lists to get played, but until this week hasn’t managed to get the votes it’s needed to actually win.
It’s yet another game I haven’t played, which is now becoming a common theme.
Kickle Cubicle is a puzzle game, so put it simply you control a boy named Kickle , and you have to turn enemies into ice cubes and hit them into water which create ice paths to the Dream Bags which in turn finishes the level.
It all sounds pretty simple and the earlier levels are, but the do ramp up in difficulty and while I didn’t get to the end of the game to see the meatier puzzles I did get about half way through. I can safely say that it’s an interesting take on the puzzle genre. You can only turn certain enemies into blocks that can be used to create ice paths, others can be frozen, but defrost after a while, others can be frozen, then some smash and more. All the while each enemies you defeat respawns, so you have to constantly keep an eye out and what’s respawning and what’s already on the ice field. You also have bosses at the end of each set of puzzle stages, which is simple to beat, just avoid the attacks and hit the items back at them.
Visually the game is really nice, especially considering it is mainly ice. the sprites are really well done, are vibrant and cheerful. The Music in the game is catchy and again cheerful.
Overall the game is really good, and it was worth the wait to play, I can safely say that it’s one of the best puzzlers I have played.
Verdict: Highly Recommend