Bombuzal logo

Image Works
Price: £19.99

This is the one, kids. Bombuzal is the singular, most exciting, highly involved and incredibly realistic guide-the-fat-blob-around-the-exploding-tiles game that I've played this week. Well, maybe that's not so much of an accolade, but that's alright because Bombuzal isn't a very good game.

You are the mad Bomber. You live to explode bombs. Your entire being craves the smell of gunpowder, the flash of the fuse, the shock of the explosion, the taste of blood and all the rest of it. You live of an odd little world made up of lots of little flat plains. Each plain is made up of tiles, some dangerous, some not.

You spend all of your life running around on these tiles. Should you decide to try something completely different (e.g. run off the tiles) then you plummet to your death, some six inches below.

Your mission (if you can call it that) is to detonate all the bombs on each level by running up to them, priming them, and then running away before they explode in your face. As the bombs explode, they take some tiles with them, the number directly proportional to the size of the bomb. A small bomb will only destroy the tile it's on and will trigger any bombs within one tile on any of the tiles' four sides. A large bomb, however, wipes out all the tiles within a three tile radius and detonates any bombs within one tile out of that area. Get your bombs in the right place, and you can set off a chain reaction that can wipe out the whole level with you included. So be careful.

If all that isn't exciting enough for you, there's lots more thrown in, just to get your shoes quivering. Different sorts of tiles, for example. There's your normal OK-to-stand-on tile which can be blown up by an explosion. Slotted tiles do all the same stuff as the normal tiles but have an extra capability. Any bombs on a slotted tile can be picked up and moved to adjacent slotted tiles. On a screen that has slotted tiles, you can be pretty sure that you're going to have to do some shifting.

A riveted tile is OK to walk on and won't be destroyed by an explosion. Cracked tiles disappear as soon as you step off them, so always make sure that you want to walk across it before you do, because once you do, there's no turning back. Iced tiles make you lose control.

On top of that, there are swell bombs. No, not bombs that are nice to American persons, but bombs that change size from small to large, each size doing varying amounts of damage. A-bombs are scattered about on some later levels. Trigger one off, and all the bombs on that level go off.

Power temples can be found also. Should a bomb go off next to one, it sucks in the force of the blast. Teleports transport you all over the shop. A spinner is there to ensure that you don't spend too much time on the starting square. After a short amount of time, it will push you off the square you're on in a random direction. Switches also lie around, which change parts of the level you're on.

Phew! I wipe the sweat from my brow. Imagine, all that in one game. I bet you can't wait to play it, but hang on, there's more! You can play in a 2D overhead view or a 3D isometric perspective view.

The graphics are large and cute, but nothing to write home about. The animation on the other hand, if you can call it animation, is terrible. There only seems to be four frames when he walks (it's more of a glide than a walk). This spoils the overall look of the game, which is pretty bland anyway, consisting of a few diamonds with some bearing different markings to the others and a red circle here and there. Come one, isn't this an Amiga game? As for the explosions: they're nothing short of a joke. Even the Spectrum doesn't do explosions like that. The tiles vanish to be replaced by lots of flashing red pixels. Har de har har.

The control is horrible. For one thing, Messrs Crowther and Bishop have rotated the direction control by 90 degrees in comparison to every other isometric perspective game, which means lots of mistakes. It's very easy to walk off the edge of a platform because you automatically direct your character according to instinct.

Bombuzal is a nice idea, but one which has been spoilt by one or two stupid mistakes.


The only difference between the 64 and the Amiga version are the graphics. Though clean and well defined on the Amiga, they suffer the same old problem from the 64's resolution. Large, blocky graphics and poor animation make it a less-than-average game visually. THe overall presentation is pretty bland, with a boring front end and some fairly basic sound effects.


Mirrorsoft's cute 'n'cuddly bomb-detonating hero is just as fab as he was on the 64...

Bombuzal logo Zzap! Sizzler

Imageworks, £19.99 disk

And you think you've got a hard life! It's not all plain sailing being the cutey star of an abstract puzzle game either, you know. I mean - how would you like being green and round with a pretty big black shiny nose? Sounds pretty bad already and that's only the half of it.

Bombuzal (he hasn't really got a proper name either, but we'll call him that) has to cope with all those things and put his life into the hands of some greasy teenager every time the person who owns his game decides to have a go. Aaah, what a shame!

You see, Bombuzal lives in a world made up of loads of platforms and inhabited by nobody at all except himself. Sounds like the recipe for a pretty quiet life but there's just one thing we haven't mentioned yet - bombs. Aargh! Shock! Horror! Ooh!

Yup, Bombuzal falls over them when he gets up and stumbles back to sleep surrounded by them when he goes to bed. He eats, breathes and drinks bombs - and when he's not surrounded by them he blows them up.

And this blowing up bombs business is a whole lot trickier than it looks. For a start, they come in three different sizes and, even worse, they are all on different sorts of platforms. Oh yeah - and the squares that make up these platforms do all sorts of really weird things: some are made of ice, some dissolve when you step on them, other teleport or shoot you sliding off in a totally unexpected directions and we've only mentioned a few!

The whole thing is made even more complicated by the fact that bombs exploding next to each other can cause massive chain reactions though you can sometimes move them around to avoid this using special tracks in the ground. Explode all the bombs and make sure that the square Bombuzal is standing on doesn't get blown up as well and you're pretty clever. Fail and er... well... you're not really, are you?

Gordon Houghton I may be fat but I know a good game when I see one and Bombuzal is ooh everso fab 'n triff. It's got all the incredibly addictive gameplay of the 64 version (120 levels, really fiendish screen layouts and loadsa variety) plus a whole bunch of top-quality Amiga graphics as well. I mean, when it comes to cutey factor, Bombuzal putting his hands up to his ears to protect them from the sound of the explosions definitely takes the biscuit (Hob Nobs, please). They could have made a tad-ette more of the sound, though, and the scrolling is a teensy weensy bit jerky so the game doesn't quite exploit the machine's potential to the extent that the Gold Medal 64 version did. But what are we complaining about - a game as good as this doesn't often come out for £19.99.
Kati Hamza Yeeha! I did a jig last month to celebrate the arrival of the 64 version of Bombuzal so I reckon I'll try belly-dancing for the Amiga one. Er... on second thoughts maybe I won't. Who cares anyway when the whole thing has got more playability than you could stuff a great steaming. Thanksgiving turkey with? In fact, it'll probably last you till Thanksgiving (that's next November, dummy) because you can bet your grandmother's prize marrow, you won't get through all these screens in a hurry. Unless you can't stand the sight of a really excellent puzzle game (in which case what are you doing reading this - go back to misery-land) raid your piggy-bank and get a load of this.
There's no box this month to tell you about all the different tiles because we had a very nice and shiny one in the Christmas issue. Anyone who wants to know more should look at last month's 64 Bombuzal review.