Moonquake II: Marsquake is an excellent Bomberman clone written
by Paul Taylor. This sequel to
Moonquake (as the title suggests) has
been completely rewritten and now features everything the original had and a
whole lot more. Originally distributed on an Acorn User coverdisc in
September 1997 the game is now freely distributable, with the three month distribution
restriction having now expired.
Playing with pipes
As in the original, the general idea is to use an infinite supply of bombs to clear the passages of
a Marsbase whilst avoiding various hazards, and to make use of any special abilities you
might find lying under piles of rubble. These specialities include the ability to throw
bombs over obstacles (and even from one side of the screen to the other),
push bombs along the floor, flour bombs, to rebound bombs off walls, mega-bombs
(maximum explosive range) as well as the classic extra bombs and extended
explosions power-ups. Mystery objects can also be picked up which can do various
things to you including giving your backpack a rather nasty - and potentially explosive - fuel leak. When you get a fuel
leak everywhere you walk the flammable fuel from your pack leaks behind
you. Woe betide you should a flame accidentally touch it! A nice touch
is that rather than bonuses being destroyed when by explosions they instead
are blown out of the way and can be picked up later.
The landscape of the levels changes as you progress - the background and indestructible
blocks change from level to level, but more importantly you find new features
scattered around the level, such as conveyor belts and pipes. When you drop a bomb
on a conveyor belt it whizzes off in the direction of the conveyor belt
ready to hit anything that gets in its way. Another superb feature is the pipelines
that are present on some levels - if you put a bomb near the opening then when
it explodes the flames travel through the pipe, appearing simultaneously
at all other exits to the pipework.
You didn't want to do that...
The game is okay in one player mode, although it can become a bit boring, and the initial levels are very tedious, but just like its predecessor its real interest lies in
multiplayer head-to-head battles that you can now play with up to four players at once (the original only allowed two players)! The
game then becomes truly wonderful. Frantic screams soon ensue when a group of you
run, throw, dodge and lay bombs, desperately trying to stay out of the others'
way, and the tension often builds to a point where you scream blue murder when
you pick up a fuel leak. Not a game to calm down or relax with, then, but truly
a joy to play.
Since the Acorn user v1.00 of Marsquake was released Paul has continued
development of the game, and a shareware version, Marsquake Boom:Deluxe
v1.10 has now been released. It features a WIMP level editor, computer
controlled players in multiplayer games and a serial link option so you
can play over two separate computers.
Having played Bomberman 94 on the PC Engine (under emulation)
I'd have to say that the one-player mode is pretty poor in comparison.
The graphics are nowhere near as good, and the gameplay isn't there to
stand up for it. I'd like to see improved graphics and scenery (even if
it doesn't have any gameplay function) and more features such as secret doors
around the level, creatures to ride on, varying speeds of movement and
such like - things that can be seen in other games of this type. That said, the
multiplayer mode is excellent, and you won't find a more playable multiplayer
|David Sharp, 20/5/98|
Marsquake v1.10 (626Kb Spark file)
...this page last updated: 23/8/98...
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