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Boulder Dash – MSX

Released in the early 1980s, "Boulder Dash" is a classic action-puzzle game that found its way to various platforms, including the MSX. Developed by Peter Liepa and Chris Gray and initially published by First Star Software, this game quickly became an iconic title known for its combination of strategy, problem-solving, and arcade action.

Boulder Dash logo

Graphics: Given the technical limitations of the MSX platform, the graphics in "Boulder Dash" are simple but effective. The game features colourful, blocky graphics that serve their purpose well. The sprites are clear, and the visuals do not hinder gameplay. While not groundbreaking, the graphics capture the essence of the game and provide a nostalgic charm.

Boulder Dash Screenshot

Gameplay: "Boulder Dash" is all about navigating caverns and collecting diamonds while avoiding hazards such as falling boulders and dangerous creatures. The core gameplay is addictive, requiring quick thinking and planning. Players control Rockford, the protagonist, as he digs through dirt to create paths, manipulate boulders, and outsmart enemies. The gameplay's simplicity makes it accessible yet challenging, as the game introduces increasingly complex levels and obstacles.

Sound: The sound in "Boulder Dash" for MSX is minimal, consisting mainly of simple beeps and boops. While it doesn't offer much in the way of memorable music, the sound effects complement the action. The rhythmic beeping of the countdown timer adds tension, and the satisfying chime when collecting diamonds is a nice touch.

Challenge: "Boulder Dash" is renowned for its difficulty. As you progress through the game's levels, the challenges become more demanding. You'll need to think strategically to avoid traps and plan your moves carefully to complete each level. The combination of strategy and reflexes keeps players engaged and coming back for more.

Level Design: The game's strength lies in its level design. Each level presents a new puzzle with distinct features, such as different types of enemies and varying numbers and arrangements of boulders and diamonds. This diversity keeps the gameplay fresh and ensures that players are continually tested.

Boulder Dash Box Art
Boulder Dash" for MSX is a timeless classic that remains an engaging and challenging gaming experience. Its blend of action, puzzle-solving, and strategy has earned it a special place in the hearts of retro gamers.

Quick Tips for Boulder Dash on the MSX

  • Plan Ahead: Before making any move, take a moment to assess the level. Look for potential hazards, such as falling boulders, and plan your route accordingly.

  • Be Mindful of Boulders: Boulders are a central element of the game. Avoid standing underneath them when they fall, as they can crush Rockford. You can also use boulders strategically to eliminate enemies or create paths.

  • Collect Diamonds: Your primary goal is to collect all the diamonds in each level. Be systematic in your approach, and try to gather them all before moving on. Diamonds are your ticket to unlocking the exit.

  • Watch the Timer: Each level has a time limit. Keep an eye on the countdown timer at the top of the screen. If it reaches zero, a boulder will drop on Rockford, costing you a life. Plan your moves efficiently to avoid running out of time.

  • Anticipate Enemy Movements: Study the behaviour of different enemy types. Some enemies move predictably, while others may chase you or exhibit erratic patterns. Learning their movements will help you avoid them.

  • Prioritize Safety: Safety first! When in doubt, prioritize Rockford's safety over collecting diamonds. Rushing can lead to dangerous situations, so take your time to plan your moves.

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