Review by Bruce Consolazio

Intell. Prod.


Graphics: 10

Sound: 9

Gameplay: 10

Overall: 10

Steamroller is a 1984 game programmed by David Rolfe of Activision. It wasn't released due to the Crash of 1984, but due to the popularity of retro-gaming in the past several years, was finally released to the public by Intellivision Productions in 2000.

The object of the game is to drive your blue steamroller around more than two dozen(!) complex, "3-D" mazes of roads, popping blue, red, and purple Beachballs, crushing Potholes, and avoiding Beachbombs and the red Steamroller. If you don't crush a Pothole quickly enough it grows into a Manhole; any Beachball falling into one of these becomes a deadly Beachbomb, complete with burning fuse! Like any good maze game from the early to mid `80's, you have powerups: blue, red, and black Gas Cans which make you indestructable AND which allow you to crush Manholes, Beachbombs, and the red Steamroller (respectively). There are also black numbers which boost your score, and a blue Key which gives you an extra Steamroller.

The graphics are quite good, with multi-colored Steamrollers, Beachbombs, prizes, and nicely-detailed playfields. Movement is incredibly smooth, with the Steamrollers actually TURNING around the rounded corners while Beachballs and Beachbombs move very nicely. The fuses on the Beachbombs actually shrink as they burn down! The sound is nice enough, reminding one of a well-done 2600 game: the Steamrollers will remind you of the tanks from the Atari 2600 Combat, while another sound will remind you of Kaboom!. Listen for the sound telling you when a bonus item appears. The sound of one player bumping another in the two-player version is perfect, and overall the sound is as bright as the graphics.

The gameplay is as good as you could want. This game zips along beautifully, slowly but surely getting tougher as you go. The two player version has both players on the screen at the same time, trying to score as many points as possible while making life as difficult as possible for each other: try to grab your opponent's key and deprive him of a bonus life, or try to keep him on-screen at the end of a round and allow him to be smashed by the descending black area.  

Like one of those great old arcade games, this game has little extras which make it even better! At the beginning of each round the Steamrollers roll out of their driveways and garages. When the last Beachball has been popped or changed into a Beachbomb you hear a warning sound and the maze starts to change to black from the top down and two exits appear on the bottom; you must reach one of them before the black part touches you- but in those few seconds you can crush the red Steamroller (in the one player games) for bonus points! The explosions, poppings, and crushings are nicely done, as is the tallying-up of bonus points (if any) at the end of the round.

Like a strange old arcade game called Make Trax (also known as Crush Roller), the mazes are 3-D. There are bridges and tunnels which allow you to go over and under parts of the maze, making the game more complex. Again, the effect of something going through a tunnel is very professionally done, even better than in Illusions and Mr. Do!'s Castle. One of the best things about the game is the excellent use of the ColecoVision's abilities. There are no amazing advances or enhancements here; Steamroller is simply an inventive game which makes superb use of the console. This game has just the right amounts of graphics, gameplay, sound, and difficulty.

This is easily one of the best of the "new" Coleco games. If you're going to say $35.90 is a bit much, don't: it would've cost that much in the early `80's, which would be about $54.00 in today's money, so it's a bargain. You can see screenshots of it and order it at


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Last updated: Wednesday, December 10, 2003 02:32 PM