We all remember Moonquake, it was one of those games that had found its way onto every Archimedes in every classroom in Britain, smuggled in on a floppy disk by a procrastinating little scamp, and played to show off amongst his mates when the teacher wasn’t looking.
Well the now 23-year-old title has seen a revival in the form of a conversion to the Android platform by Jit Games.
The game is pretty much a direct port of the RISC OS classic, apart from a few minor alternations to the main menu and the removal of the ‘Moon Quake’ branded screen borders. The graphics and sound have been taken from the original, and the gameplay is much the same as it was two decades ago, with its adaptation for mobile devices not hindering the game’s playability at all – which is quite nice to see when compared to other retro titles ported to mobile platforms.
Originally written by Paul Taylor all the way back in 1992, Moonquake was the first Bomberman clone to hit RISC OS that was not just playable, but actually made you want to keep playing.
Its mixture of puzzles and repetitive sequences saw it grow in popularity since its initial release on a December 1992 Archimedes World cover disc, before giving birth to Marsquake a few years later.
This isn’t the first time Moonquake has been ported from RISC OS to more mainstream platforms, the game saw a conversion over to Nintendo’s Game Boy Advance by David Sharp, the port kept all of the original graphics and sounds in-tact and despite having no multiplayer mode, played quite well from cartridge.
Moonquake saw another resurrection a few years back by Sedoe, who developed the entire game from scratch for Windows PCs, using the RISC OS version only as reference as well as the original sound, this version had all new graphics; except the menu screen background, the in-game bombs and the title image.
Unsurprisingly, the game is situated on the moon, where a meteor impact has damaged the moon base. You’ve been assigned to clear away the debris that has fallen, which turns out to be far harder than originally anticipated. Armed with an infinite collection of bombs to blast away rubbles and other nasties, there are 10 levels to be beat in all.
The nuclear reactors around the base have been left online and if hit one too many times they wipe out everything on the level. As well as navigating your way carefully through the map while keeping the nuclear reactors in mind, you also have to worry about malfunctioning security robots, which wander aimlessly around the levels, killing you on contact.
By destroying the fallen rocks, extra blast fuel can be uncovered and picked up which gives your bombs a greater range and kill threat.
Mystery boxes left under the debris can have various effects, including setting you to auto-bomb-drop, freezing the droids, making you invincible or causing all unexploded bombs to detonate instantly. There is a two-player mode in which the players go head-to-head, trying to trap each other with their bombs.
The Android version is available on the Google Play store and is free of charge to download, which is a nice touch. Compatibility-wise, there’s no official documentation as to what the game will and won’t run on, but it’s run fine on my Sony Xperia Z1 – no lag or unexpected crashes, and no horrible memory leaks which is always a worry with direct ports from other platforms.
You can get the original MoonQuake for RISC OS here, unfortunately it’s not compatible with 32-bit computers such the Raspberry Pi, Iyonix etc. but works fine through an emulator. Also available from the same link is a web-based Java version of the game.