Boulder Dash EX - An interesting and very different Boulderdash game.

Discussion about Rocks'n'Diamonds, Boulder Dash, Supaplex, Emerald Mine and any other BD hybrid.

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Algebroot
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Boulder Dash EX - An interesting and very different Boulderdash game.

Post by Algebroot »

I was kind of hesitant on mentioning it at first because of how different it was, but I found gameplay videos on YouTube of a Gameboy Advance game titled "Boulderdash EX", a Boulderdash game that actually had a license from First Star Software. It had a story mode with cutscenes that was actually about an adventure the protagonist (a boy named "Alex") goes through to save his friend (a girl named "Sonya") from the evil Dark King. The game had six differently themed worlds of 10 levels each, and pieces of story happen when transitioning between worlds. Unfortunately, the final showdown was all done in a cutscene. The game also had a large soundtrack too.

There are a lot of differences between Boulderdash and BDEX in gameplay. It generally adds to the Boulderdash formula in ways very different from Emerald Mine, a few changes leaning towards Supaplex (no time limit and enemies only being harmful upon collision).
1.) There is a separate set of tutorial levels available in the game. Each of the eight tutorial levels is selectable at any time.
2.) There is an energy meter. Instead of instantly dying, the energy meter drains and once it is empty, that's when death occurs. Falling rocks will still immediately end the game though.
3.) Objects that follow gravity have a slight delay before falling. This includes objects rolling off of round edges.
4.) Gems (called "mirror jewels" in this game) are automatically collected when falling on top of the player in addition to draining their health.
5.) Collecting all gems in the level (not just the amount required) awards a "perfect" bonus upon reaching the exit.
6.) Pushing rocks normally instead uses the "snap-push" behavior. Drains a small amount of energy.
7.) In turn, snap-pushing is replaced with "kicking" (press the A button), which causes the rock to basically behave like a more powerful EMC spring, killing all enemies within its path. Kicked rocks also fly over single-tile gaps. Drains the same amount of energy as pushing.
8.) Enemies move slower and can have two additional behaviors: Horizontal and vertical. Enemies with the "horizontal" movement behavior can fall.
9.) Enemies don't explode when killed.
10.) An inventory that is limited to five slots, which can be rotated using the L and R buttons. Any inventory item can be used by pressing the B button. All inventory items can only be used once per slot.
11.) Hope crystals are inventory items that rotate gravity when used. Some hope crystals rotate gravity clockwise while others rotate gravity counterclockwise.
12.) Super picks that are inventory items giving the player the ability to break a single rock.
13.) Time bombs. Works exactly like dynamite, but can only be placed in a specified direction (like RND's "throw" behavior).
14.) Magic gloves, which can pull an item from a long distance until it is next to the player. The longer the distance, the longer the player remains stationary. It can also grab enemies, so players need to be careful!
15.) Mushrooms have varying appearances that indicate each ability when collected (they aren't inventory items). Two types of energy mushrooms that restores either 20% or 50% of the player's energy, and two types of speed mushrooms that temporarily either speeds up or slows down the player. There is also a variant that is any of the four with the ability hidden.

There are possibly more, but this is all I've noted from what I've seen.

There is also a selection for a "classic game", which from what I can tell is the original Boulderdash, complete with the old names, graphics, and gameplay (it even says it's "based on the 1984 PC version"). It also has its own series of tutorials and tutorial levels (four of them), most likely because of how different it plays compared to BDEX.
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RAP
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Re: An interesting and very different Boulderdash game.

Post by RAP »

Heh, I was a bit surprised you didn't link to a YouTube video of this Boulder Dash EX game, as it would've given a lot of context. For those who are curious, here's a YouTube video ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cZri89edgB8 ) from the YouTube channel "LongplayArchive".

There's certainly a lot of things that were unique to this video game that's unlikely to exist in other video games in this sub-genre of rocks and gems in a tilebased game, mainly the energy system that's also acts as a timer, and being able to collect gems by letting it hit you from the top of your head. There were a couple of game elements that appeared in other official Boulder Dash games, one example being the a tool when activiated, letting you rotate the level by a 90 degree in one direction, which also shifts the gravity.

What's really interesting is that the amount of tiles shown to the player is more reduced since it's being played on the Game Boy Advance, a screen size of 11 tiles horizontally, and 10 tiles vertically, (technically 11, but only the up and down border of the screen shows half of their tiles). Most Boulder Dash-likes tend to show what's going on without any cropping of tiles being in halves or less than halves. The way the level is shown, the character you control is always at the center with no deviation from that spot. This also applies to the original version of Boulder Dash that's included in this Game Boy Advance game, but it's 11 tiles horizontal (technically 12, but this time the left and right border tiles show half of their tiles), and 10 tiles vertically.

One notable vanity you get while playing the game is those trading cards, just a physical piece of cardboard paper with an image, a description, and stats that don't seem to do anything. They're more like collecting pieces of information that makes a bite-sized encyclopedia of sorts. Would've been nice if it there's detailed information on what it does besides general information. The only thing I'm not entirely sure is how you get them, either by chance of playing the game, or when beating a certain level. I'd say this is definitely the only video game in this sub-genre that does this at all.
Algebroot
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Re: An interesting and very different Boulderdash game.

Post by Algebroot »

I didn't show gameplay videos because I was afraid of them being flooded by fandom comments (which is kind of an idiotic thought in hindsight). I may have misinterpreted things as I never actually played the game. As while I did go by gameplay videos, I didn't pay full attention at what happens (as a matter of fact, I was only watching two playthroughs of the first world once, then skimmed through the rest of only one playthrough).

The "second playthrough" was a playlist that contains videos showing content not seen in other playthroughs (which is to show all its menus and the tutorials for both the normal and classic modes), but the player speeds through some of it and doesn't show some of the features of some objects. Also, there is some swearing in the playlist's video descriptions.
Last edited by Algebroot on Fri Nov 19, 2021 5:50 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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RAP
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Re: An interesting and very different Boulderdash game.

Post by RAP »

Fandom...comments? Like in the genre of Boulder Dash-likes? Or those Wikia/Fandom comments? I'm not sure what you're talking about, since this fandom of the genre seems to be small and quiet over the years, or somewhere else that's more active, that's in a language that's not in English (there's probably one or two of them but for another game). I've been around for a long time, although I haven't really moved much from this forum at all, but I do play Rocks'n'Diamonds from time to time, and other similar games.

For me, I've been making those topics recently to share more of my love of the genre and interest, since I've been busy with other stuff other than this genre, and there's that one topic that I do update from time to time, that Emerald Mine Club levelset completion topic I put a lot of effort into it over the years on and off. Personally, I wouldn't worry a lot about posting stuff like "Boulder Dash EX", as even if there's a game that's an oddity, I feel there's more to discuss from it; by the way, I did actually played it and finished it in the past some time ago, but I'll put my thoughts in another post or two; I can say that what you said, all of it seems to be correct from recalling playing this game.

I guess one thing I can say about the topic you made that should be improved to mainly put the name of the game in the topic, having "Boulder Dash EX" in some way. Would make cross-referencing for it easier when it's mentioned by the title, since I kinda thought it would be a game I never heard of.

Thinking more about this game's existence, I'm just wondering if First Star Software commissioned Kemco to make this game, or if Kemco came to First Star Software to get a license to make the game in the first place. After the 8-bit video games, First Star Software got into various video game companies to make their Boulder Dash games over the years. In fact, I think this is their only viable brand they make constantly money out from it from multiple games. Looking up on the internet though, BBG Entertainment bought out Boulder Dash from First Star Software back in 2017, which likely means the former went down some time after. Also, Boulder Dash in Japan? Kemco is a Japanese video game company, and the game's reach got to the point of reaching Japan? From my mental recollection, I don't think I ever encountered anything Boulder Dash-related in Japan at all, maybe I should do a big web search for it later...
Algebroot
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Re: An interesting and very different Boulderdash game.

Post by Algebroot »

Fandom...comments? Like in the genre of Boulder Dash-likes? Or those Wikia/Fandom comments? I'm not sure what you're talking about, since this fandom of the genre seems to be small and quiet over the years, or somewhere else that's more active, that's in a language that's not in English (there's probably one or two of them but for another game).
I'm talking more about YouTube comments. I guess I have kind of gotten too used to looking at popular franchises and their rabid fanbases.
One notable vanity you get while playing the game is those trading cards, just a physical piece of cardboard paper with an image, a description, and stats that don't seem to do anything.
Looking more closely at enemy behavior, I'm guessing it may have to do with speeds of certain enemies varying between worlds. And I'm guessing "attack power" could be related to the amount of energy enemies take from you.
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Holger
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Re: Boulder Dash EX - An interesting and very different Boulderdash game.

Post by Holger »

I guess one thing I can say about the topic you made that should be improved to mainly put the name of the game in the topic, having "Boulder Dash EX" in some way. Would make cross-referencing for it easier when it's mentioned by the title, since I kinda thought it would be a game I never heard of.
I have added it to the title, so it can be easily found later by using the search function. Hope that was OK!
Algebroot
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Re: Boulder Dash EX - An interesting and very different Boulderdash game.

Post by Algebroot »

I wanted to add the game's title to the topic's title after realizing I forgot add it, but was unable to do so. So I thought it would only stay that way and no one can edit it. :oops: Glad it is now there! :)
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