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Article #66 (74 is last):
From: aa700@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Michael Current)
Subject: Drag / game / commercial
Reply-To: aa700@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Michael Current)
Posted-By: xx004 (aa700 - Michael Current)
Date: Sun Sep 13 18:46:11 1992

Reprinted from Atari Interface, Vol. 4, July 1992


Ed Hall (AAAUA)

     Drag is a clone of BoulderDash, one of the best games ever written for
Atari 8-bits.  The original was released by First Star Software and becamse
popular enough to generate a sequel, BoulderDash II.
     Later, Electronic Arts repackaged both under the name Super BoulderDash. 
There was also BoulderDash Construction Kit from Epyx, and an English variant
by Mastertronic called Rockford.  And, if you couldn't afford the commercial
products, there were PD versions of both the game and the editor.
     Imitating a classic may seem like a formula for success, but it is
actually a risky proposition.  First of all, there is the danger that the
original may have lost its appeal.  If it hasn't, the way is still not clear, 
for the clone obviously cannot be a carbon-copy.  It must be similar enough to
cash in on the original's appeal, yet different enough to induce people to
shell out for it.  Finally, a clone always invites comparison with the

Comparing Boulders and Frogs
     Drag is a multi-level digging game whose protagonist, Drag the frog,
excavates gems.  Obstacles consist of impenetrable walls, stationary mines and
two kinds of falling objects--boulders and bombs.  But, where BoulderDash was
primarily an arcade game with strategic elements, Drag is almost entirely a
puzzler.  There are 4 reasons for this:
     1. Instead of a time limit, Drag has a "move" limit.  (This, in turn, has
generated a new game element: oxygen canisters, which reset the move counter.)
     2. There are no pursuing insects--in fact, there are no organic enemies of
any kind.
     3. Where BoulderDash utilizes four screens to make up one level, Drag uses
only one.  This gives Drag a more compact look and feel.
     4. The "physics" are slightly different.  In Drag, objects do not fall as
soon as they are excavated; there is a delay of several moves before they drop. 
During that extended "hang time," falls can be triggered with a press of the
joystick button.
     The overall effect of these differences makes Drag a more thoughful game
than its progenitor.  Each screen is like a chess problem, and many are
devilishly constructed, requiring lots of careful study and experimentation. 
You'll have to plan each move carefully, then execute perfectly.
     Finally, a word about graphics.  BoulderDash was a success not only
because of its compulsive gameplay, but also its wonderful graphics.  Even
today, those graphics remain as fresh and attractive as when the game first
     Happily, Drag's graphics do not suffer in comparison; they are simply
gorgeous.  However, Drag himself is not as cute as the impatient, toe-tapping

Now Dig This
     BoulderDash and BoulderDash II each came with 16 "caves" to explore.  Drag
has 50 levels plus an editor--an exceptional value at the asking price of
     I love game editors--designing your own screens can be as much fun as
playing them.  Drag's editor is a self-booting program on the back of the game
disk, where there is planty of room to store your own creations.  It's so
simple to use that a single paragraph of instructions covers all its features.
     For those suffering from terminal frustration, the editor also offers a
handy way to cheat.  This means Drag will never be one of those games whose
higher levels cannot be glimpsed without investing months of play in reaching
them.  I like that.
     Drag is another product from the prolific KE-Soft.  It's a professionally
programmed piece of software that's fun to play, and whose game editor and
large number of pre-rolled screens offer unlimited playability.
     Order your copy from:
     Software Infinity
     642 East Waring Avenue
     State College, PA 16801
     Shipping and handling is an additional $3 (regardless of quantity
ordered).  Software Infinity also has a 24-hour telephone order line (814)
238-7967.  VISA and MasterCard are accepted.

 Michael Current, Cleveland Free-Net 8-bit Atari SIGOp   -->>  go atari  <<--
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