Good variety of music
Fun, addictive gameplay
Some levels are very tricky
\'Hint\' text is hard to read
Rocks 'n' Diamonds is a fun arcade game in the vein of Boulder Dash and Supaplex. You are a little man in yellow clothes, and you are exploring some deep caverns. Your task is to collect all the diamonds, emeralds, pearls, and crystals in that level. Once you have collected all the gems, then the Exit door opens, allowing you access to the next level, where you must find more gems. Things start out simple enough, but it soon get quite tricky, as more and more obstacles are introduced.
Barriers such as quicksand, walls, rocks, and water often block your way, and you have to navigate around them. As well as blocking your way, walls can sometimes conceal precious gems. Luckily, some types of wall can be blown up, as long as you have some dynamite with you - just be careful not to get caught in the blast! Rocks can be pushed (but not pulled), provided there is a clear path ahead of them. You can also dig tunnels underneath rocks, to make them fall. But remember, rocks will squish anything they land on, including you! So remember to jump out of their way.
But that's not all! Oh no! There is also rolling stones, asteroids, critters, Yam-Yams, robots, angry PacMen, and more to deal with. Each moves in a different way, and each is deadly to the touch. And lets not forget about amoeba and locked doors. Green amoeba grows at an alarming rate, quickly filling the screen. But if there is no more room for it to grow, then it will die, possibly trapping you in a tight space. Locked doors can be unlocked, but you need to find a key of the same colour first. What a way to earn a living!
Rocks 'n' Diamonds is very customizable, allowing you to play the game just as you like. In the Setup menu (which is accessible any time, just by pressing Esc), you can choose to turn the time-limit on or off, you can adjust game speed, and you can turn music or sound (or both) on or off. You can even choose to skip levels if they are too difficult.
Once you begin the game, simply navigate your character with the Arrow keys, and Pause \\ Unpause using the Space bar. An envelope on each level will tell you a bit about that level, and give you some hints. A Control Panel on the rights displays the current level, the number or emeralds you need to find, the number dynamite stick you currently have, any keys you have found, and your score. It also shows various 'tape' options, allowing you to stop, pause, or play the game, as well as recording your game. It also allows you to enable \\ disable music.
As I said earlier, the aim is to collect all the gems, then exit through the door. However, sometimes gems (and other goodies) can be hidden, in rocks, and you have to smash the rocks to reveal them. Gems can also be trapped in wall, which you can blow up with dynamite. But with all these smashing rocks and exploding walls, it's easy to get yourself killed. When that happens (and it will happen often, believe me, hehe), simply press Space Bar to restart the level. Keep in mind that the precious gems you need to find to escape the level, can also be destroyed by the same hazards that can kill you! I believe it should also be possible to restart level if you get yourself trapped, but I found this very fiddly. It's easy to just quit the game (press Esc), and then start again on that level.
MOVEMENT - Arrow keys
PAUSE \\ UNPAUSE - Space Bar
DROPPING DYNAMITE - Right Ctrl
SNAP ITEMS - Left Ctrl & Arrow key
RESTART LEVEL WHEN KILLED - Space Bar
QUIT GAME - Esc
Graphics are bright and cartoony. Strong colours are used throughout, making it fun to play. The panel on the right is very handy, so you can keep track of how many gems you still need to find, as well as what level you are on, and your score. Your character looks very cute in his yellow clothes and yellow hat. There is a 'hint' envelope in each level, but I found text for these hints quite hard to read. The large variety of critters & enemies is very appealing. Although cute to look at, they are deadly to the touch, so keep your distance. Having said that, the Yam Yams are my favourite. Little orange heads with deadly teeth, that say 'Yam yam yam yam yam yam yam', non-stop (hee hee). It's weird watching how quickly the amoeba grew, spreading through the whole screen. I was delighted to find that there is a level dedicated to Sokoban, where you have to push all the light bulbs onto the power switches - not as easy as you might think! There is also a nod to Supaplex, when you play as a little red ball for a few levels.
SOUND AND MUSIC
Each level in Rocks 'n' Diamonds has different background music, giving you a large variety to listen to. Everything from 'cheerful & bubbly', to 'urgent', to 'just plain spooky' is covered here, so there is something for everyone. There are also plenty of sound effects to keep you amused. The painful 'OW', as you are killed, is what you will here the most (lol). But also things like dynamite exploding, amoeba dripping, and the twinkly sound of diamonds falling. But my favourite is the constant 'Yam yam yam yam', which is uttered by, you guessed it, the Yam Yam monsters!
Rocks 'n' Boulders is a VERY addictive game. It's so much fun getting all the gems. Some of them are concealed in walls, or trapped in rocks, and you have to somehow find a way to get them. You will get killed a million times by explosions, bugs, rolling stones, and falling rocks. You will trap yourself more times than you care to remember. Yet you will always come back for more. Basic gameplay is easy to control, as you just use the Arrow keys, however, restarting a level if you get yourself trapped is quite fiddly. It's easier just to quit the game, then start again. All the bugs and critters are so adorable, but they will kill you if they touch you. The 'hint' envelope on each level is a nice touch, but hard to read. Sound effects are effective, and each level has different music to listen to. Be warned though, some levels are insanely hard!
Review by: Frodo
Safe for all ages
Windows, Dos, Mac, or Linux.