In 1984, First Star released a low profile, unassuming puzzler called Boulderdash
that would become the company's best selling series and sparked numerous clones even decades after its release.The game could perhaps best be described as Pac-Man
with brains. The concept is simple: help guide adventurous Rockford through 16 caves packed with tricky puzzles to solve. Your basic goal on each level is to collect the specified number of diamonds to advance to the next, more difficult, level. Along the way, you will foil fireflies and butterflies, trap bubbling amoeba, and transform worthless boulders into valuable diamonds.. and vice versa. Of course, it is not as easy as it first seems, especially since Rockford can be instantaneously crushed by boulders if he carelessly tunnels right below them, opening up space for them to fall down. The trick is to carefully tunnel your way to all the diamonds without making the rocks fall on you, or quickly evade them once they do. The game is a lot of fun for its time, and hundreds of levels kept many fans glued to the screen for hours on end.
Terra Probe is among the numerous Boulderdash clones -- and one of the better ones. You are no longer Rockford in this modern adaptation-- just a nondescript rolling ball with an attitude. Still, designer Derrick Dixon adds quite a few pleasant additions that Boulderdash fans will enjoy, including tenacious enemy spiky balls that follow you around the screen, "hidden" items, and more. Level design could use some variety and ingenuity, but all in all, it's not a bad clone. Can't compare with Rockford, Mastertronic's official release of the original classic, but well worth your time if you are fan of the series.