Boulder Dash

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Boulder Dash
Developer Dalali Software Ltd
Publisher Mirrorsoft
Musician Unknown
Release 1985
Platform(s) CPC, Acorn Electron, Amiga, Apple II, Atari 400/800, BBC Micro, ColecoVision, C64, DOS-PC, MSX, NES, ZX Spectrum
Genre Arcade (Boulder Dash)
Game Modes 1-2 Player
Controls Keyboard Joystick
Media disk Cassette
Language Language:english

Before there were Boulder Dash clones there was Boulder Dash... the original rock avoiding, diamond collecting maze game that mixed a unique blend of frantic action with careful strategic planning - a moment to learn and a lifetime to master. Boulder Dash and its main character Rockford made the jump to just about every platform known to man!

Inlay Text

The objective of Boulder Dash is to search throughout each CAVE and collect as many Jewels in as short a time as possible. Once the indicated amount of Jewels have been collected, the door to the mysterious escape tunnel is revealed and you go to the next level. Strategy and planning will help you master the "physics" of Boulder Dash. Boulders drop predictably enough, but you and Rockford also have to block growing Amoebas, transform Butterflies, outmanoeuvre Fireflies, and overcome other numerous obstacles.

  • CHANCES: Each player starts with 3 chances. Bonus tries are awarded after every 500 points. The tunnels created by Rockford will "shimmer" when you are awarded a bonus try. A bonus is also earned by completing a Playable intermission.
  • CAVES AND LEVELS: There are 16 CAVES, each comprising of several scrolling screens, numbered A to P. Each CAVE, has 5 Difficulty Levels. To select a different CAVE, move the joystick arm left or right when you are in the menu screen. To select a different Difficulty Level, go to the menu screen and move the joystick arm up or down. The greater the difficulty the less time you have and the more Jewels you have to collect. You may choose CAVE A, E, I or M, on Difficulty Levels 1-3. On Difficulty Levels 4 and 5, you must start with CAVE A. After making a selection, press the joystick trigger to begin the game.
    • A. INTRO. Pick up Jewels and exit before time is up.
    • B. ROOMS. Pick up Jewels, but you must move boulders to get all Jewels.
    • C. MAZE. Pick up Jewels. You must get every Jewel to exit.
    • D. BUTTERFLIES. Drop boulders on Butterflies to create Jewels.
    • E. GUARDS. The Jewels are there for the grabbing, but they are guarded by the deadly Fireflies.
    • F. FIREFLY DENS. Each firefly is guarding a Jewel.
    • G. AMOEBA. Surround the Amoeba with Boulders, so it can't grow anymore. Pick up Jewels that are created when it suffocates.
    • H. ENCHANTED WALL. Activate the Enchanted Wall and create as many Jewels as you can.
    • l. GREED. You have to get a lot of Jewels here. Lucky there are so many.
    • J. TRACKS. Get the Jewels and avoid the Fireflies.
    • K. CROWD. You must move a lot of boulders around in some tight spaces.
    • L. WALLS. You must blast through walls to get at some of the Jewels. Drop a boulder on a Firefly at the right time and place to do this.
    • M. APOCALYPSE. Bring the Butterflies and Amoeba together and watch the Jewels fly.
    • N. ZIGZAG. Magically transform the Butterflies into Jewels, but don't waste any boulders, and watch out for the Fireflies.
    • O. FUNNEL. There is an Enchanted Wall at the bottom of the rock funnel.
    • P. ENCHANTED BOXES. The top of each square room is an Enchanted Wall, but you'll have to blast your way inside.
  • SCORING: The current point value is shown on the top left of the play screen, to the right of the picture of a Jewel. The number of points per Jewel changes. The point value is determined by the CAVE, Difficulty Level and bonus status. The bonus value occurs after the required number of Jewels have been collected. Every 500 points the tunnels sparkle for a moment and you get another Rockford. You also score 1 bonus point for each second of time remaining when you exit the Cave.

NOTE: During gameplay, the scoring bar located on top or bottom of the screen will tell you the current status of play for the particular cave and level of difficulty selections as follows:

  • PLAYABLE INTERMISSIONS: There are 4 short interactive puzzles which you are entitled to play after completing CAVES D, H, L and P. There is no penalty for not playing, or losing, the intermissions. If you complete a Playable Intermission successfully, you receive a bonus Rockford.


  • ROCKFORD. This little fellow is the star of the game! Rockford has the power to dig through the earth and collect the jewels found along the way. He can push single boulders horizontally if there is nothing to block their path. Rockford can stand directly under a boulder without being crushed, but if a boulder or Jewel falls on him, you will lose one Rockford. As gameplay begins, you are allotted three Rockfords, that is, three chances to rack up points before being destroyed, or moving on to another cave, or level of difficulty. If you lose all three Rockfords before advancing to the next cave, you will have to start again.
  • BOULDERS. The rocks will fall whenever gravity dictates. They will fall straight down if unsupported, or they will topple off underlying objects if there is nothing to block their way. "Experimentation is the best way to learn the "physics" of Boulder Dash.
  • JEWELS. You must collect me required number of gleaming diamonds in order to exit one CAVE and advance to the next. There are many ways to create Jewels. For example: transforming Butterflies, suffocating Amoebas, or dropping boulders through an Enchanted Wall will create additional jewels. When the proper number of Jewels have been collected, a flash will let you know that the escape door is revealed and open.
  • FIREFLIES. Beware the deadly Fireflies; they will explode on contact with Rockford. (Helpful hint...their behaviour is predictable as they only move along the edges of the exposed areas). Try turning the tables by dropping boulders on them, which causes them to blow up. (This comes in handy when you want to demolish a wall in order to get some Jewels).
  • BUTTERFLIES. The colourful Butterflies behave much like Fireflies. However, they fly in the opposite direction of the Fireflies, and they turn into Jewels when they explode.
  • AMOEBA. The Amoeba is a green blob that bubbles and grows through earth and air. Fireflies and Butterflies will explode on contact with the Amoeba. When Rockford surrounds the Amoeba with rocks, it runs out of growing space, suffocates and turns into Jewels. However, if the Amoeba grows too large (about 200 squares big) it will die and turn into boulders.
  • ENCHANTED WALL. The Enchanted Wall looks like any other wall; however, when hit by a falling boulder it begins to vibrate for a limited time. During this period, any boulders that drop through it are magically turned to Jewels, but only if there is empty space below the wall. It will also turn Jewels into boulders if they drop through it. Once the enchantment phase is complete, it cannot be reactivated in the same round.
  • TITANIUM WALL. The exterior wall is an indestructible boundary to play action. Rockford can only exit to the next CAVE through the escape door.
  • ESCAPE DOOR. Initially the Escape Door looks like a portion of the Titanium Wall. After Rockford has collected the required amount of Jewels, it is activated and begins to flash. At this point the mysterious escape door is revealed and you may exit, providing time doesn't run out.
  • TIME Each CAVE is timed. When time is running out a warning sound will occur.

Title Screen
In-Game Screen




AA: Issue 01 (Oct '85) Page 18 93%
ACU: Issue 12 (Nov '85) Page 60 5 out of 5
Amtix: Issue 01 (Nov '85) Page 22-23 89%

Cheat Mode

Hints & Tips

  • ROCKFORD. Rockford can affect an object that is next to him without moving into it. Keep the joystick button depressed and move the joystick in the direction of the object or earth you wish to affect. Rockford will not move, but the object will react.
  • BOULDERS. You will often find yourself digging or moving downwards only to find that a boulder has been toppled by your movement and is about to land on you. The only way to avoid losing your man in these situations is to move quickly to the right or left, out of the boulder's way. Rockford runs as fast as a boulder falls, so it will never catch up with you, unless you hesitate or stop. EXIT. When Rockford has collected the required amount of Jewels for the CAVE he is in, the Exit is revealed. At this time you should decide whether to go for bonus Jewels (at a higher value) or to exit for the time bonus points (1 for each second remaining). Make sure you know the location of the escape door and that you can get to it before time runs out.

Prequels / Sequels

Compilations & Re-releases



Downloads & Materials