Review by The Manx

Reviewed: 03/30/04

Convoluted circumstances bring decent game

If for some reason you're a regular reader of my reviews, you probably know I start off most reviews with some weird bit of trivia about the game I'm reviewing. And such is the case here. This game began life as an NES game in Japan called Booby Kids, then later was ported to the Turbografx as a game involving an anime character named Doraemon. Then for some reason it was released again with the original Booby Kids characters. If you play the Doraemon version it's the exact same thing, right down to the interchangable level passwords.

You, Opi, and your friends (Doraemon's buddies in colorful spacesuits) decide to travel through time, but are captured by the evil Kubulai, second in command to the cloaked baddie Zenzombie. It's up to you to travel through time to rescue your friends.

This involves find treasures chests to reveal the key to the next level in each place you visit, though. And there's bunches of enemies after you. There's two types of aliens in each level, but if you play in the hard mode historical baddies (cavemen, ninjas, gangsters and robots depending on where in time you are) will also get in your way. As kind of implied by the game's title, you deal with them by digging holes and filling them in before the monsters can get out. But as soon as you take care of one monster another appears in its place, so move fast. Every fifteen levels you clear, you rescue one of your four friends, but two are guarded by the hulking Kubulai and Zenzombie, so good luck against them.

Sometimes enemies leave behind power ups when you kill them, which are only effective for about 30 seconds apiece, but can make all the difference, like the ice crystal that freezes all the enemies in the level into ice cubes you can kick into walls to take out the monster inside, or a helmet that makes you invincible. You can even walk on water while it still works! There's also weapons already lying around like the yo-yo, freeze ray and bubble gun. Plus there's shovels to let you dig more holes at a time or roller skates to run faster, and which don't go away until you die.

The graphics are nice and cute. Even WWII soldiers and t-rexes are comical rather than scary. The level designs look nice, but since there's only five or six different time periods they all start to look alike after a while. The music is okay but nothing really memorable (except the feudal Japan music. I can never get tired of that). I had fun with it, but the replay value is not so great.

Cratermaze was a decent game for the few I played for the Turbografx before its demise. Good for a few hours of gameplay or for people really into games like Pac-Man.

Rating: 7

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