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Emerald Mine: The Best Amiga Game Ever
How can you claim something is the best ever? That is the question I had to ask myself before I made this lens on what is undoubtedly the best Amiga game ever. It is hard to say something is the best ever, how does something stand head and shoulders above the rest?
When it comes to making a truly remarkable game I think software companies have lost the plot. A great game is not about commercialism, or trying to ride on the laurels of a great film or even great graphics. The truly great games have the correct ingredients of gameplay and adequate graphics for the style of game it is. Tetris is a great game but the graphics are awful because that's the style of graphics it needs, just like the original Doom is a great game and the graphics (though dated now) were cool. It is the same with Emerald Mine the gameplay is exceptional and the graphics are just right for the kind of game it is.
Emerald Mine is a Boulder Dash clone but it was updated with extra puzzle elements, larger screens and better gameplay. The first Emerald Mine game was a budget release, with the second Emerald Mine being released with a level editor and that is when the game exploded into the realms of greatness.
After the level editor was released games crews that had earlier made extra levels for the Commodore 64 game Boulder Dash started work on extra level sets. Soon after Emerald Mine clubs were formed in Europe and Australia. There are now well over 600 level sets in existence and at 81 levels per level set that is over 50,000 levels.
Emerald Mine is the reason that many Amiga owners still own the computer. It just isn't the same playing it with an emulator.
Emerald Mine - The Review
For some people Emerald Mine is a clone of the Commodore 64 epic Boulder Dash. In my opinion though it is more like the next generation of Boulder Dash. To make a proper comparison would be to say:-
"Emerald Mine is to Boulder Dash
The Commodore Amiga is to the Commodore 64"
That would be the proper analogy as the games are that much different. Emerald Mine is of course based on Boulder Dash, but Kingsoft (the programmers of Emerald Mine) gave the game a complete overhaul with better graphics, better sound and added game elements.
Kingsoft retained all the elements of Boulder Dash, enlarged the level size by approximately 6 times and doubled the amount of game elements and also improved on the game mechanics.
The basic gameplay of Boulder Dash remains the same though. Run around the levels and collect the diamonds while evading or killing the various monsters. There is also added puzzle elements and last but not least a time limit.
Kingsoft made a brilliant move when they released Emerald Mine 2, that being they included a level creator. When certain gaming groups got hold of the level creator they started making more levels for the game, improving on the editor and they also made extra improvements to the game and the graphics.
Also around this time EMC's (Emerald Mine Clubs) starting appearing and the level making frenzy started. The original Emerald Mine had 81 levels (numbered in game from 0-80) and these clubs and gaming groups released their games some with new loading screens and graphics as complete stand alone Emerald Mine games.
The biggest of these gaming groups was No-One Inc and they were responsible for creating at least 3 series of the Emerald Mine Games which included Eat Mine 1-3 and No One Mine 1-20 each having the aforementioned 81 levels. No One Inc also distributed and edited quite a lot of the other series. Other big Emerald Mine creators were De Bond and Skippy.
I would like to thank all the Emerald Mine level creators out there for making Emerald Mine the greatest Amiga game ever. Thank You All!
The Top Six Reasons Emerald Mine is the Best Amiga game ever
- It's a great puzzle game
- It was fully editable
- There are now over 50,000 levels to play
- It is now free to play
- It had the biggest following of any Amiga game
- It is still alive and kicking in the game "Rocks 'n' Diamonds"
Rocks 'N' Diamonds
by Arcsoft Entertainment
Rocks 'n' Diamonds is the updated version of Emerald Mine for Unix, Mac OS X, Windows and DOS. It also contains Sokoban, Boulder Dash and Supaplex.
For Emerald Mine the graphics have been smoothed and look crisper with soft scrolling (50 frames per second). Apart from a few missing features of the original Emerald Mine it is the definitive version of Emerald Mine. Which means that you can now discard your Amiga emulators and play this version instead. On the Rocks 'n' Diamonds website you can download the Emerald Mine level sets that they have accumulated over the years so you will have 50,000 levels to play and best of all the game and downloads are all FREE!
There are a few things that I don't like about this version but all the added niceties make up for this. The things I don't like:
- No more heavy boulders (original Emerald Mine players will know what I mean)
- There is no overall score or amount of games played/won
- Because of the updated graphics systems the graphics from custom levels packs are very jerky, fortunately though you can turn off the custom graphics and play using original graphics which are uber smooth
To download your own copy of Rocks 'n' Diamonds just follow this link!
Boulder Dash Rocks
Boulder Dash has now been updated for both the iPod and the Nintendo DS. So if you want an Emerald Mine style game on the iPod or Nintendo DS then this is the one to get. This game was also planned for the PSP (which you will notice in the video) but unfortunately the PSP version was canned.
Watch the trailer then buy the game (if you can find it of course).
Original Amiga Gameplay Video
Leave all your thoughts on the Emerald Mine games right here.