Extractors logo CD32 Amiga Computing Gold Award

Hey, I remember you, weren't you the first game to appear on the new fangled CD32 machine? Well, no I'm not actually, but watch as Jonathan Maddock, with shovel in hand, digs his way through Millennium's sequel.


When Diggers arrived on the small screen in late 1993 I took to it like a duck to water, but what about everybody else? Gamers expectations had been raised due to the fact that this was the first product to appear on the CD32.

No amount of good reviews or advertising could've competed with that amount of hype. When Diggers finally arrived people expected some kind of graphics and music spectacular and unfortunately, although Diggers looks good it isn't that good!

Bizarrely, a lot of people made comparisons between Diggers and the legendary game of Lemmings, all of which were terribly unjust. Diggers may have looked like Psygnosis' suicide-a-thon due to the size of the characters, but in terms of gameplay it was a completely different matter altogether. Millennium's dig-'em-up was certainly more cerebral, plus you had the advantage of being able to do whatever you wanted to due to the open structure of the game.

Originality alone should've been the key to Diggers' success, and although it was packaged free with the CD32 it didn't do amazingly well in the sales department. This is a real shame because everyone at System liked it, especially the soundtrack - a wonderful chilled-out ambient masterpiece, making it a very relaxing game to play.

Millennium have returned to the CD32 once more. They've got a copy of Extractors clutched in their sweaty mitts and hopefully this time around, more gamers can experience the sequel to one of the most under-rated games ever created.


Extractors is set 150 years on from the original game. At this time, a race of creatures perfectly evolved for the job of digging appeared from some distant planet. The Zargonian Mineral Trading Authority saw this rich opportunity arise and immediately employed them to extract jewels and fuel from the planet.

The newly employed aliens worked so well that soon the mines became exhausted as it began to cost the ZMTA more money than they had bargained for. There were, luckily, a few more places where the land was rich in jewels and fuel - the Floating Lands.

These huge masses are inhabited by the Flinarj, a peaceful race who built machines to allow their land to float in the sky to avoid being constantly attacked by the Quarriors. ZMTA tried to take the lands by force, but they're protected by an enormous shield.

The shield is powered by 24 generators, all of which have to be destroyed to enable the ZMTA access to the lands. You must travel from floating world to world, finding and destroying the shield generators while, at the same time, successfully mining enough fuel and cash in order to get to the next land.



One of Diggers best features was its blissful ambient soundtrack. It was the best piece of music I'd heard all year and I'd quite happily let the game play on its own just to listen to it.

Musically, Extractors isn't quite as dazzling as its original counterpart. There isn't a specific tune that plays while you do, but there are a number of sound effects that add a certain suspense to the game.

There's a fair amount of speech within the game. For instance, whenever you enter the trading centre a character will tell you exactly what's out of stock. The animated introduction also includes some digitised narration which makes the game seem almost like a fairy-tale.

To sum up the sound, in some aspects it's far better than the original game, but in others it's far worse. The inclusion of more high-quality digitised speech is a definite plus point, but the loss of the chill-out soundtrack is a big thumbs down.

The new minimalist themes within the game are OK, but they're nowhere near as good as the original soundtrack and due to this little factor Extractors has lost some of its atmosphere.

A System remedy is at hand though. Switch on your CD player, slap on The Orb's Adventures Beyond The Ultraworld or Future Sound of London's Lifeforms and hey prestor, instant ambient atmosphere.




Extractors, as it did last time around, uses 256 colours throughout the whole game. Even static title screens are very impressive - even more so than the ones in the original Diggers adventure. Just have a glance at the page to admire just how good they are!

Other graphical feature include six totally different terrain types, each with its own set of animations, colour cycling effects and parallaxed backgrounds. These varied levels are all easy on the eye and they're so distinctive that it feels as though you're playing an entirely new game every time you progress onto the next level.

Millennium were the first company to use digitised sequences of film within their games. You must remember the animation used in the CD version of Robocod. Extractors has its own animated sequences that pop up between and during levels.

These rendered sequences were all created using 3D-Studio and look very nice indeed. CD32-owners who own the Full Motion Video cartridge will get the best out of these animation, but having said that, they do look quite good without the need for the add-on.

The game certainly looks a lot sharper and more colourful than its original counterpart. Overall I can do nothing but compliment the graphic artists for the superb work they've done on Extractors.




I loved Diggers, but due to the type of game it was (is?) you had to use that part of your body called your brain. I know it wasn't a mindlessly violent shoot-'em-up or a sickeningly cute platformer, and I know it takes anything from 20 minutes to an hour to complete a level, but this was no reason to banish Diggers from our gaming world, never to be seen or heard of again.

Diggers had its faults though. The levels were a bit too open-ended and left you wandering about, sometimes clueless, for ages. Extractors is different - you've not got several specific tasks to achieve and thanks to this, the game as a whole becomes far more focused and enjoyable to play. New features such as the training level, new characters and the healthy return of an interactive book all go towards making Extractors a highly polished product.

There are literally thousands of hours of play contained within the game, so it's not going to be something you'll tire of easily. It is fairly hard to get into at first and not everything seems straightforward but play it for a week (not constantly, you're not that sad!) and you'll grow to like it.

Extractors will appear on the CD32 only, as it's impractical to try and make it work on the lower-end machines. Luckily, A1200 and A4000 owners with a compatible CD-ROM drive will also be able to experience the wonderful worlds just like their CD32-owning chums.

When Diggers arrived on the games scene it literally blew me away due to the time of the release and the newness of the CD32, and although technically Extractors is a far better game, it still won't be a piece of software that'll appeal to everyone.

Extractors is graced with some of the best graphics I've ever seen for this type of game and it's packed to the brim with more addictive gameplay than you can possibly cope with.

Fans of Diggers will no doubt be interested in Extractors, but I hope that Millennium gain a few more fans through this release and people don't ignore it this time around.

Extractors logo CD32

First there was Diggers then came Extractors, but before both of them there was Steve McGill and the CD32. Here's what happened next...

Extractors is the follow-up to Diggers - the first game to appear exclusively on the CD32. An amalgamation of several game genres and ideas, it drew upon the resourcefulness, patience and tactical planning of the gamer.

The player had to choose from four types of Diggers, each with their own peculiar strengths and weaknesses, with the aim of mining as many jewels and precious stones as possible from underneath the planet Zarg. The main drawback of Diggers were the awkward control system, the quirky artificial intelligence and the ability to lose against the computer opponent without any warning.

On the plus side, the game taxed the ingenuity, leaving an open-ended approach to completion. Many found that, despite this flexibility, Diggers was a slog rather than enjoyable.

This time, the structure of the game hinges on a specific goal. There are 30 planets to be visited and mined, the aim being that you blow up the planet's reactor and mine enough fuel to get your spacecraft to the next planet.

There are plenty of elements to tax you, but it feels like hard work rather than fun.

Due to the nature of the mining, the structure of the networks already in place, the traversing and exploration and the increasing difficulty levels, there are plenty of elements to get your teeth into. But it feels too much like work rather than fun. Take the three race types and the artificial intelligence tagged on to them. Much like Diggers, they can get bored with mining and wander off. If they do, they can fall down mine shafts, drown or get killed.

It begs the question, why, if the creatures are intelligent enough to get bored, are they too stupid to stop themselves getting killed?

Despite the fact that Extractors is a well-planned game, and that it's open ended enough for some truly ingenious solutions, it just doesn't grab you.
Oh, and as an afterthought, Extractors could have been much more fun if there was a serial link. Extractors 2 perhaps?


Part of the ingenuity of Extractors lies in finding the proper way to traverse the various obstacles and puzzles that lie in your path. To help you in this quest, various pieces of equipment are needed. Take a look, cos here are all the godies that you can make use of.

Extractors Extractors Extractors Extractors Extractors Extractors Extractors Extractors Extractors Extractors

Extractors logo CD32

With the fall of the Soviet Union, there are a lot of factories in Tazhakstan making these now...

Over the years, my tolerance for this sort of thing has been much reduced. After an hour of screaming profanities at the screen and trying to work out exactly what the ("Flip" - Ed) was going on in the game, I thumbed my way through a well-used copy of issue 30 to confirm my worst fears - I'd given Diggers (the game to which this one's a sequel) an astonishing 80%.

The odd thing was that although I'd mentioned all the things that annoyed me about Diggers, I hadn't marked it down for them. Why? Well, I was new to this and it was the first CD32 specific game, so maybe in my naive youth I thought a good mark might aid sales. But thankfully, the next issue, Tim Norris gave the A1200 version a more realistic mark of 72%, letting me off the hook somewhat. Phew, eh?

Tim's main criticism was that although Diggers was noble, well programmed and a truly novel idea, playing it was as much fun as an eight hour shift on the checkout at Sainsburys, which is as good a point as any to start talking about Extractors.

Diggers was set on sprawling levels where you ahd to develop a mine system and extract as many jewels and minerals as possible, reaching a set level before your computer controlled opponents did. You could break into their mine workings, sabotage them or even kill the baddies with explosives, or you could just buy lifts, rail tracks and diffing machines and diligently search for the goodies. It was a good idea, but after a few hours, a whole load of problems emerged, of which all but a few have been sorted out for Extractors.

The levels on Diggers were huge, and the players were supposed to search them to find the richest veins of jewels. This never happened of course, so most people only saw a fraction of the game.

Extractors is set on 30 floating rock worlds (24 big ones, 5 timed bonus asteroids and a final, end of game one) that are pretty compact. You can't dig through gravel sections and so are restricted to the soil bits of each asteroid, which are invariably packed with jewels and goodies.

The competition aspect of Diggers just didn't work. In theory it seemed fine, but frequently you played for three hours only to be told that your opponents had won, which was howlingly annoying. Extractors sets you better defined goals. On each rock, you've got to find and destroy a power generator and then get enough fuel to fly to the next rock. Excavated jewels give you money to buy things, and after knocking out 24 generators, the defence shield on the final level will be deactivated, allowing you to plunder the last asteroid.

To thwart your plans are roaming monsters and mercenaries, but the main obstacle is finding your way from your ship to each generator, in a Lost Vikings/Fury of the Furries kind of way. Tunnels have to be made, flaoting platforms bought to transport team members over and across obstacles and baddies have to be taken out with missiles and explosives, but the game revolves around teleport poles.

Each creature in your team can teleport between these poles, so by saving up for them and placing them carefully, only the first member has to cross the tricky bits to plant a new pole, and the others can just warp in, which is a great idea.

The control system of Diggers was an ill-conceived, badly implemented and limply tested nightmare, and unfortunately, this is where Extractors starts its slippery descent to mediocrity.

Extractors gives you up to five team members to control, which in itself is a tricky proposition. You can at least make them jump now, so they can usually avoid plummeting down vertical shafts, and also make them stop by pressing a single button rather than trying to rush through numerous menus, so many improvements are evident.

The preposterous notion that it'd be fun

The idea with your team, presumably, is to have some digging, some collecting jewels and the one you're controlling at that moment doing something tricky and involving. After all, it worked for a team of three in the Lost Vikings, so why not five?

I'll tell you. It's because the man responsible for this has retained the preposterous notion that it'd be fun if each character has a mind of its own. He thinks it's amusing if you spend ages getting one extractor to a tricky spot only to have it get bored and teleport back to base.

He thinks it's improving the game when a bored digger leaves a tunnel, blunders into a scorpion and is killed. He thinks it's a hoot when you've got three seconds of fuel left on a floating platform that you're using to get an extractor up to another level, but another one wanders into a pool and drowns before your very eyes because you haven't got time to save it. He's wrong on all counts. It's all terrible.

Unfortunately, even if you took out this clearly stupid free-will stuff, it still wouldn't save the game, because as Tim mentioned two years ago and I've found out to my cost over the past three days, playing Extractors is a completely fun-free experience.

Even on my third go, the first level took over an hour of digging, buying and plating teleport poles before I reached the generated and blew it up. And when you've got the survivors back to the ship, then what? Another level, and another. Then another 20 odd. Sob.

The time-restricted asteroid levels try to impart a sense of urgency and fun into the proceedings, but with minimal success. The endless pretty pictures of fantasy worlds, books of knowledge and video clips of trading officers seem to suggest that the programmers have spent so long in their fantasy world that they've forgotten their original intent - to produce an entertaining game.

After this evening, one thing is certain - I shall never, every play this game again.


Dynamite for killing and demolition.

A force shield to block passages.

Bandaids for the good of your health.

Fuel in case you can't dig out enough.

A monster magnet to detain bad men.

A seizmic (sic) map showing all jewels.

Missiles. Plonk the launcher near baddies.

Floating platforms act as steerable lifts.

Telepole. The most essential bit of kit.

Digger. Up and down version also available.

Extractors logo CD32

Price: £29.99 Publisher: Millennium 081 988 8888

Five men at your beck and call, rushing here, there and everywhere at your command - sounds like heaven to me. And I also get to choose which assortment of chaps I want on my team. No, I'm not talking about a Blind Date for polygamists, it's Extractors from Millennium.

In the game you've the option to choose your five man team from three different races. Habbish - who are very intelligent but tend to get bored and sit down for no reason. Boids - who have good stamina, heal quickly, but are not so good at digging and finally Raldein - who are fast diggers but tire easily. A combination of all types is best.

The plot is simple: You've got to lead your band of merry men across 30 levels destroying all the shield generators that are guarding the planet in order to reclaim it.

There are plenty of nasty creatures and henchmen trying to thwart your mission and your spaceship isn't the best, so you've got spend your time mining for fuel to make sure it can get you do the next level. You're not totally on your own, though. Pick up enough precious stones and you can trade them in the shop for lots of goodies such as high-tech mining equipment, a first aid kit, weapons and maps to name a few.

In-game control is easy enough. There's an icon bar at the bottom of the screen which you can use to get your diggers to dig, pick up, drop, teleport back to the spaceship and so on.

Extractors is an ideal game if you have a lot of patience and enjoy long term strategy. I unfortunately am extremely impatient and spent most of my time getting annoyed with the little blighters who kept wandering off, drowning, getting bored, and getting on my nerves generally. However, that's just me.

It is well put together with nice graphics but unfortunately I found the gameplay a bit too boring to keep me hooked for a long time.