Title Bombuzal Game Type Puzzle Company Imageworks Design Ratt (Tony Crowther) and Bish (David Bishop) Amiga Version Tony Crowther and Ross Goodly Players 1 or 2 HD Installable Yes (With WHDLoad Patch) Compatibility A500 (All With Patch) Submission Chris Burns Review Obsession with explosives in confined places is rarely a healthy thing and no further proof is needed than this 1989 puzzler from the hands of Ratt and, uh, Bish! Amiga Power magazine were kind enough to give this full game away with their first issue, which is how I got my hands on it - one of the better bargains I've ever got! You take the role of the round, blue, unnamed protagonist with the bulbous red nose; Amiga Power gave him the name of Guy, which seems as good as any. No explanation is given as to why Guy likes to cause explosions, or why he's trapped in a largely featureless place dotted with bomb-covered islands. Still, got to make the best of it, eh? The objective of the game is to blow up all the bombs on each level within the time limit whilst, of course, NOT getting blown up yourself and remaining on the 'island' - stepping off an 'island' means instant death! You can play the game in 3D or 2D (overhead view) and while 3D mode may be a bit nicer to look at, it's admittedly quite a bit easier to see what you're doing and what needs to be done in 2D. Each 'island' constitutes a level in the game and each is made up of a number of square tiles arranged in various shapes. A tile may be an ordinary tile (duh), or it may be a special tile, which include dissolvers (which disappear after you step off them, blocking your way back), ice tiles (which you cannot stop on because they're too slippy), riveted tiles (which survive explosions) and Pyramid tiles (which absorb explosions, limiting the damage to just the tile with the bomb on it and itself). There are also Teleport tiles (you don't know where they will teleport you, you just have to hope that it'll be on to a safe tile), Spinner tiles (which will spin you round and throw you off in a random direction if you step on them) and Switch tiles. Throwing such a switch will cause something on the island to change, usually a tile or bomb appearing or disappearing. Finally, there are 'slotted' tiles along which you may slide bombs to re-arrange explosion patterns. Of course, not all of these tiles appear on every level! The explosives themselves come in several varieties; mostly you will see ordinary large, medium and small bombs but there are also radar bombs, which come in large and small sizes - detonating one radar bomb will cause all other radar bombs on the level to explode. Occasionally you'll see a Swell bomb, which are constantly inflating and shrinking between large and small bomb size. If you come across one of these, detonating it at the right time is of the essence. All the above bombs can be walked over safely but scattered about the levels there are large and small landmines which cannot. Sometimes you'll just blow up the one bomb, other times you'll need to set up huge chain reactions of explosions; it's not always easy to tell where a chain reaction will stop! There's no chance of setting a bomb off by accident though as you need to keep the fire button pressed down and go through a short countdown. Guy can stand next to an exploding small bomb and not be killed but larger bombs, obviously, have a larger blast area and since Guy stands exactly where he is, covering his eyes (the wuss!) until the explosions have stopped, unable to run, you need to choose the bomb you detonate first carefully. To help you, there are two remote controlled robots on some levels, named Bubble and Squeak. Don't become too attached to them though, as their entire purpose is to let you blow them up! To hinder and annoy you, there are two enemies on some levels, called Dexter (made up of 4 small bubbles) and Sinister (one big bubble) who float around and will kill you if you touch one of them. You can also kill THEM though with bombs and if you're nifty with the footwork, you can step off dissolver tiles just as they are approaching, thus plunging them into the void! Ha! You must keep on the move though, not only because of the level timer but also because failure to do so will cause a Spinner tile to appear under your feet after a few seconds.. Being an early-ish game for the Amiga (and perhaps because it's a C64 conversion) Bombuzal's possibly not as slick as it might have been; the graphics are functional and the in-game sound is limited to a whirring when the bombs are about to detonate, explosion sounds, a 'death sound' and ticking when the clock is running down. However, the intro music is annoyingly catchy! Overall, I like the game, it's a great deal of fun once you've got the hang of all the different tiles and how much damage the various bombs will do. It's quite frantic though in that you can't stop moving and must constantly be figuring out how to negotiate obstacles, so it manages to combine most of the best elements of the puzzle and platform game genres. Definitely recommended.