Marsquake

As one of Earth’s leading demolition and salvage experts, you have been contacted by a research station based beneath the surface of Mars. It seems they’ve had some trouble with rockfalls, and are quite eager to have you come and rescue them from their predicament.
Four sections of their base have been crippled by the rockfalls. It is up to you to clear the blockages so repairs to critical systems can begin.
There are 32 levels within the Martian base that require your attention. You must clear all rockfalls from each of these, along with any mobile entities that may be roaming around. These could pose a threat to the repair crews. The levels are seperated by energy barriers which will be released when the level is clear. Leave through the exit guarded by the energy barrier to progress to the next level.
To clear the rockfalls, you are equipped with an explosive generating backpack supplied with energy cells for one low power bomb per power recharge. Drop the bomb near a rockfall then make sure you get out of range of the explosion. Be quick – you only have a few seconds before it goes off!
Destroying the blockages may reveal extra utility cells for the backpack. These will give you larger explosions, extra bombs per power recharge, or other special abilities.
Or…
Have fun blowing up your mates, with up to four players on one or two (serial linked) machines!

Marsquake was the sequel to my bomberman style game, Moonquake.

A few years after Moonquake was published on the Archimedes World cover disk, I decided it was time for an update. This was spring 1996. The code for Moonquake worked, but was a complete mess – there was no way I could make anything starting with that. So I started from scratch, polling newsgroup comp.sys.acorn.games for ideas for the Moonquake sequel, Marsquake. I got a lot of useful feedback from the newsgroup, including interest from Steve Mumford at Acorn User magazine. Over the course of the development of Marsquake, several progress reports were published in the Acorn User games section.

Initially, I thought that Marsquake would take about six months work, but as extra features were added, and work commitments slowed progress on Marsquake, it wasn’t until the summer of 1997 that the game was completed. Marsquake was released on the September 1997 cover disk.

Work didn’t stop there. Apart from several bug fixes, I wanted to make some changes to the game before releasing it over the internet, once AU’s three month ownership of the game was over. I was intending to tidy up the in-built editor active in my development version only, but was surprised to find a rather nice desktop editor already available on the internet. I decided to continue with an editor of my own, but decided it was time to learn to program the wimp!

One crash course in wimp programming later, I created an editor that runs on the desktop and creates episode files of up to sixteen levels, complete with their own graphics set.

Further enhancements to the game include computer controlled players in multiplayer games and a serial link option to allow you to play multiplayer games over two machines – eases keyboard congestion!

Initially released online as shareware, the game is now free to download here.

The source code is available for download here.

One thought on “Marsquake

  1. dave says:

    Thank you thankyou thankyou.

    I used to play this while at highschool with my mates during lunch times. Great game.

    Now to find an acorn to play it on.

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