Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Rock and Roll

I'm not going to be completing Rockford in a hurry. I wonder if Repton was this hard? I certainly don't remember completing all the Repton games, but my bro and I got pretty far in them. The two series handle their difficulty in different ways. In hte Repton games you only have limited lives, but you have a password save for each level, so you can always go back and pick up where you left off. In Rockford you have infinite lives, but no password save. That means you have to try and beat the game in one sitting, which obviously isn't going to work for me. Also, the controls aren't quite as responsive - partly because of the way the scrolling works with flick-screens compared to Repton's smooth scrolling. There was a famous move in Repton (...I say 'famous'...) called the Repton Shuffle, where a skilled player could divert the path of a falling boulder and push it on to a nearby block of earth. It was essential for the later stages of the games. That move would be impossible for Rockford, he just doesn't have the nimble feet for it. There is one other thing where I think my memory is failing me. In Rockford, diamonds also fall, and can kill you. I kept getting killed by falling diamonds. I was going to say that they didn't fall in Repton and that's why I wasn't expecting them to here, but now I'm not so sure. Otherwise, the games are pretty similar. One of the biggest changes is that in Rockford, when enemies die they create a kind of diamond bomb! All of the squares around the enemy become diamonds. This is great for harvesting diamonds, but can obviously cause some big problems in tight spaces where diamonds can replace sections of wall and release monsters. The other thing is that there's a much stricter time limit in Rockford. You really need those infinite lives so you can plan your route through the level, sprinting to collect the required number of diamonds and make it to the exit. I frequently found myself finishing levels with the timer in the single figures. Repton, by contrast, was much more about exploring the huge levels and finding all of the loot. There was a timer in Repton, but usually it was pretty generous, and they tended to only make it a problem on certain levels where it was clear they wanted you to race for it. This version of Rockford also does something that I didn't know other games in this genre did - it has a series of levels with different graphics - so one set of levels is in the Wild West, one set is in space, one's in the jungle, and so on. My favourite was the crazy doctor-themed level where you play a surgeon collecting hearts and avoiding falling eyeballs and taps dripping blood. Very odd! Repton had a couple of series of these - Around the World in 40 Screens, and The Life of Repton - but, as I say, I didn't know other games used the same trick. Anyway, that's enough waffling on Rockford...suffice it to say that I still much prefer Repton as my Boulder Dash clone of choice, but this was an interesting diversion. Onwards!

Next up on the randometer is...Treasure Trap! I've not heard of this before. It's described as being similar to Head Over Heels on the speccy, so we'll see...

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