Moonquake Advance

GBA Following a devastating moonquake, you have been called in on a well paid contract to clear the 10 levels of the lunarbase of rubble using your explosives. Your task is made more complicated by the malfunctioning security robots that are roaming the base and the delicate nuclear reactors that are keeping them running.

Moonquake is a bomberman-like game for Nintendo's GameBoy Advance. The object of the game is to use bombs to clear each of the levels of rubble in order to restore the lunar base to full operation.


The original version of Moonquake was written by Paul Taylor for Acorn RISC OS computers. It was widely distributed on the cover disk of the December 1992 edition of Archimedes World magazine. The game had a superb battle-to-the-death 2 player mode which was brilliant fun and made it a hit with school children in classrooms around the UK (which at the time were widely kitted out with Acorn computers).

Screenshot of Paul Taylor's RISC OS version of Moonquake

Review of Moonquake on Acorn Gaming (incidentally by me)


I was looking into developing some software for the GameBoy Advance and knowing the limitations of my graphics skills I decided to take the short cut and convert a game. Moonquake was a fairly good choice as it was simple enough that I could tackle it but still a fast-moving enough game that it would be a challenge.

I consider the conversion a great success, the gameplay is near enough identical and the graphics and sound effects are all ripped from the original. Most of the code is written from scratch in C to mimic the original but several of the algorithms most crucial to the gameplay (robot AI, level generation, etc.) were converted exactly from the RISC OS version's ARM assembly to ensure the same behaviour.

Screenshots of Moonquake Advance on the GBA

Perhaps the only disappointment is that the excellent two player mode has not made it across to the GBA version. The lack of time to expend on the project and the complexities of managing the link up code and the multiboot functionality meant that it just wasn't possible.

Credit must be given to Richard Heasman for his very easy-to-use sound sample routines from his conversion of Defender to the GBA. I was able to reuse his functions without modification in the creation of Moonquake Advance.

How to play

The game has been tested on a GBA SP using an XG Flash rewritable cartridge and should work with any rewritable cartridge. If you don't have access to the real hardware you can play the game on an emulator such as VisualBoy Advance.

Moonquake Advance running on the GBA.

There are also GBA emulators, such as vbag, available now for Symbian mobile phones.

Photo of Moonquake Advance on the Nokia N73 using vbag

If your browser is Java-enabled you should be able to play it on this very page.


GBA Moonquake Binary 112 Kb Zip File
GBA Moonquake source code 460 Kb Zip File
Paul Taylor's RISC OS Moonquake 85 Kb Zip Archive

Play online

If your browser is Java-enabled you should see Moonquake appear just below this text, running in the GameBoy Advance emulator BoycottAdvance Online.

Click on the applet area to make the keys work but beware, the emulator is not completely accurate - the menu items in the game do not highlight and the emulator tends to be a bit slower than the real hardware.


R is Button A
T is Button B
E is Button LS
Y is Button RS
TAB is Button SELECT
Cursor keys are LEFT/RIGHT/UP/DOWN
+ Increase FrameSkip (Faster Speed)
- Decrease FrameSkip (Smoother animation)
P Pause Emulation
Z Reset Emulation