Boulder Dash XL is an Xbox Live Arcade title. The original game was available on many different consoles including the NES, Atari, and Arcade Cabinet. The objective of XL is exactly the same as the original: run through a maze of boulders, dirt (or snow, or foliage), and diamonds. The object of the game is collect enough diamonds to proceed to the next level. In execution, you select your character, Rockford or Crystal, and you run them through each level of any of the game modes. The dirt patches just vanish once you occupy their square, while the boulders will come crashing down if there is nothing directly under it or if the adjacent lower square is empty. The game features a significant challenge in the later levels, considering that you have the constant threat of avalanche or rock slide, on top of having a time limit for every level.
The game touts a description depicting 80's video games being glamorous and amazingly fun. This, however, isn't necessarily the case. Gaming in the 80's was a very different monster than it is today. In the 80's games were very limited as far as graphics were concerned, so developers had to make their games very simplistic. Also, game cartridges didn't have nearly the same amount of space that a DVD or Blu-Ray have, thus games couldn't be too long, so they were very difficult instead. 80's games will take you several hours to complete as a general rule (that is to say, if they end), though only because they feature immense challenges that will have you retrying the same levels for hours just to get through it... that is if you don't give up first. The basic principle to this is that most gaming was done in the arcades, seeing that owning a console was a very costly venture in the 80's. Games were also made difficult so that people would continue to put quarters in the machine just to get the highest score on the list. This isn't really the case with today's games, for the most part.
That being said, by no means did I not think that Boulder Dash XL was fun. I had a great time with it. It's just lacking in any sort of depth, depth that I've grown accustomed to in recent years (even from Xbox Arcade titles). The game makes for an excellent time waster. It features more modes and maps than the original ever could. You have the option of playing the Arcade Mode, Puzzle Mode, Zen Mode, Score Attack and Retro Mode. Most modes speak for themselves: Arcade mode is the traditional style of game play where you go through each level and they progressively get more challenging. Puzzle mode will test your skill by giving you only one diamond to collect and several obstacles in your way. Zen mode allows you to go through the levels you've completed in Arcade Mode but without a time limit. Score attack was what it sounds like: get the highest score possible in the shortest time possible, and Retro Mode brings the original game back into your hands, with high-def pseudo 8-bit graphics.
The game made for an excellent time waster. It's one of those titles you'd expect to spend hours upon hours playing within your internet browser. The levels go by quick and are really addictive while doing so. You will fail at maps often and you will want to retry them over and over again. This is especially a great title if you grew up in the 80's and have played the original. Even if you never did play the original game you will still find enjoyment in this version, especially if you're looking for something to spend hours of time on.
Overall I had a really ejoyable time with this game. Though it won't do anything to wow you, it was a good time. The levels are quick and addictive, the sound was well place and the graphics were a vast improvement over the days of 8-bit (though what isn't at this point?). If you were a fan of the original, the remake has so much more to offer with over 150 different puzzles to play (including some of the original 8-bit levels). If you've never heard of Boulder Dash then you're probably under the age of 25, though that doesn't mean you won't like this game. It's a good time waster, though nothing substantial, and at 800 Microsoft Points, it's $10 well spent.