Classic Computer Magazine Archive ANTIC VOL. 7, NO. 9 / JANUARY 1989


ST vs. PC review By Steve Panak

Just what we needed: another sequel to Boulder Dash. But Rockford: The Arcade Game promises a whole new experience – based on Boulder Dash, not just another version of it. That's too bad, because another version of Boulder Dash might have offered more.

Rockford screen image.

Your goal is to move through various mazes and levels (a total of 80 combinations), collecting items and avoiding dangers. In the original, you collected diamonds whlle avoiding falling rocks and exploding butterflies. But Rockford puts you in settings such as outer space or the Old West. So the treasures and monsters are as diverse as your environments. You'll pursue Indian pennies and suns while avoiding tumbleweeds and comets. Unfortunately, all this diversity is overshadowed by the familiar theme of the program.

I think the problem is that when the video veneer is stripped away, at the core is only your standard collection game again. Pac-Man and hundreds of others can call themselves Rockford's ancestors, in one way or another. I just wasn't taken with this game. But those who are – and there will be Rockford fanatics – will revel in the fast action and brilliant animation. Arcade-quality animated sequences appear at key points throughout play which, with 80 screens, is certain to last awhile. As usual with arcade games, the manual and instructions are sparse. Completing the game depends costly on trial and error, with patience and fast reflexes helping immeasurably.

While the ST's speed and image are just about as expected (fast and distinct), the IBM's CGA graphics are also surprisingly sharp. Rockford selects the required graphics mode for you (anything but monochrome will do). This makes loading a snap. And the PC version handles quite nicely despite its keyboard control.We might as well face it – the IBM PC compatible is a business machine. I know of few users who have a game port, much less a joystick.

Rockford treads ground that the originals covered long ago. So why not just reproduce the originals? Like fine art and good music, the classic video games improve with age. I'd love to have a true arcade-quality Asteroids,or maybe Galaga or Xevious. Or even Pac Man. Certainly the ST and PC can handle these. But although I cannot recommend Rockford sight unseen, some arcade afficionados might find it worthwhile. And there will be a few people who won't be able to put it down.

$29.99, color. Arcadia (Electronic Arts), 1820 Gateway Drive, San Mateo, CA 94404. (415) 571-7991.