A lot has already been said about Diggers, it being the first CD32 release to reach the computer magazines and one of the first to feature in a package for the launch of Commodore's new console.
Many things were said of Diggers by the computer press, not all of them very fair. For be it for me too opinionated on the subject of other feelings on this product, but having read some of the reviews I can't escape a certain feeling of wariness.
It seems to me that many reviewers either didn't have the time to examine its merits properly or were too busy looking for relatively superficial tricks that the CD32 is capable of. Normally I wouldn't broach a subject like this during a review, but in this case I feel it relevant. It makes you wonder what types of marks Diggers would have generated if it hadn't been the scapegoat for people who wanted to see fantastic sprites on the CD32. It also makes you think what type of response it would have been greeted with had it come out on disk prior to compact disc.
Having played Diggers extensively, I wonder exactly what some people are looking for in a title. How many times have all and sundry duped and suckered into falling for great graphics and little or absolutely no gameplay? How many do we have to mention to make the point? Space Ace and Dragon's Lair are two fine examples and there are dozens more of them which lie redundant at the back of a dusty wardrobe - money down the drain.
The point of all this is that Diggers is bloody brilliant and while some magazine shots don't make it look like the proverbial bee's knees, let me tell you that it is.
The other thing that needs addressing is the number of comparisons that have been made between and Diggers. Anyone who comes to this conclusion has probably not even played the game at all and has looked at it and said something along the lines of comparing the relative size of sprites.
Fair enough, bot sets of characters are similar in height, but taht's where the comparison ends. In Lemmings one is presented with a problem and a set of characters which can be assigned a duty, with the goal being to discover the way through various obstacles. Once the level has been worked out there's little or no point in returning to it ever again.
Diggers is so very different to this idea that it leaves Lemmings tunnelling in the dark. For one, in Diggers there are no strict guidelines for achieving success, you can go about your business in a combination of ways.
More important though is the fact that you can continually return to the same level and investigate different areas to achieve your goal. Conversely you can visit the same location and employ a different strategy. This gives the game an everlasting durability and an untold quantity of possibilities. The whole point of this exercise is to say that Diggers is a very high quality product and hasn't deserved some of the comments made about it.
More importantly for you, don't be put off by superficial comment on graphics (which are pretty good anyway) as Diggers is brilliant. It's a masterpiece of programming and going to go down as an absolute classic.
Anyway, I'm off my soapbox - I've vented my frustration and can now tell you something about this new A1200 game.
Stories of the planet Zarg's mineral wealth were spread far and wide throughout the known galaxy - a planet so vastly rich in mineral resources and ores that it had become a miner's haven.
However, due to enormous volcanic activity and subsidence caused by blatant overmining of vast areas, the planet's surface had become increasingly unstable. Huge chasms started to appear and many lives were lost. Subsidence and volcanic activity weren't the only problems encountered by the the Zargon government. Lawlessness and greed had resulted in merry men possess qualities unique to themselves.
For example, the Habbish are a mystical order who are impatient and lose interest in digging, whereas the Grablins love a good dig. Indeed, if they have a beer in one hand and their pick (that was pick) in the other, they're eternally happy.
The basic aim of Diggers is to collect precious jewels form within the planet's surface. So, after you've selected which five miners you are going to operate, you must then select a zone to begin work in. After this is done you can leave the controller's office fully stamped up and ready to head out to the zone of your choice. Really after this it's totally up to you how you handle the operation.
There are literally hundreds of choices you can make which could alter the destiny of your little chaps. You see it sounds easy enough just getting your miners to dig away until they raise enough cash to complete the level.
Unfortunately, there are quite a few things which stands to complicate matters for you. For one, natural geographical features can slow work down on a mining operation. Other hindrances include opposing mining factions kicking up a rumpus with your chaps and a whole host of nasty creatures which lurk on both the planet surface and the depths of subterranean caverns.
The only thing to help your little moles is a very slick control system and a whole host of digging toys to speed your operation up. The control system is driven by your mousey and very helpful he is to. The method employed is really friendly and lends itself naturally to play. In fact, since Diggers has been released on the CD32, the control method has been tweaked slightly and improved for the A1200.
On the equipment front, after a visit to the Zargon bank where you cash your sweaty jewels in for cash, it's well worth a visit to the corner shop. Here a rather ugly Jimmy Hill-
With 30 levels (plus a hidden one) and six different types of terrain to pit your wits against diggers is going to be enough to keep you happy for months and months. In the graphics department, the 256 colour palette has been splashed thoroughly throughout and the sound is an atmospheric ambient experience throughout which really adds to the feel of Diggers.
I can't really say a bad thing about this game - it's got everything: It's a puzzler, it's a strategy, it even has aspects of platforming about it. Overall it's a totally addictive, superbly playable game. It's a gem, a diamond, a nugget, in fact it's every precious stone-
What more can I say, other than miss it at your peril?