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Bolo Docs

Synergistic Software Presents


Copyright 1992
by Evlyn Software


Somehow, the aliens had known.

They were waiting with their primitive robot tanks when your spacecraft
landed. Out of an entire unit of highly trained men, you alone survived the
ambush that reduced one of your side's finest military spacecraft to a pile
of rubble. Even just one Mark XXIX BOLO could have defeated those puny,
stupid robots! The aliens, of course, knew this as well as you did, so they
hit you before your ship had even settled to the ground.

Now, from your hiding place just inside their proving ground, you watch
your government's worst fears come true. The alien's experimental
replicator factories are already operational. Somewhere within the huge
building, sophisticated machinery copies a matrix, reshaping the atomic
structure of raw materials into a finished tank. A single BOLO could
destroy hundreds of the simple-minded machines, but it takes months to
build a BOLO, and these replicators can produce one of their weaker
versions in minutes! And, according to the briefing officer, the aliens
intend to send these monstrous factories on unmanned drone ships to all of
your inhabited worlds! Using the bedrock of the planet itself for raw
material, even one such drone could overrun a continent in weeks.

One of the enemy devices spots you, turns your direction and opens its
antipersonnel ports. You dodge behind a half crumbled wall and run, hoping
that it will be too stupid to find you again. These wall look far too weak
to pen a groundcar, much less these behemoths. Looking closer, you notice
the slight sheen of a force field. Good thing you didn't lean against it!
You run on, staying well away from the deceptively frail barriers.

Wait... that hulk up ahead looks vaguely familiar. A BOLO? Intelligence
section had reports that the aliens had captured a few of the Terran
self-aware tanks. The design of the machine ahead of you looks Terran, not
alien, but it's different from the Mark XXVIII's and XXIX's you're used to.
As you approach, you see the designation "BKI 156 BOLO Mark XXV" on the
side. One of the ancient Stupendous class? It must be 200 years old! Still,
the enemy machines aren't even that good. Maybe there's a chance to
complete your mission yet.

Faint panel lights greet you as you enter the observer's command area
through the service hatch. At least the secondary power cells have some
life left in them. A quick scan reveals the enormous butchery the aliens
performed on this BOLO trying to learn its secrets. Most of the
psychotronics have been removed, the personality center destroyed, the
introspection complex and experience sections useless. Even the battle
reflex circuitry is a mass of wreckage.

Sending out a call on the short range Brigade channel, you receive faint,
automatic responses. Somewhere within this maze there are four other BOLOs.

The manual controls check out operational. Most of the weapons systems are
junk, but for some reason the aliens did not remove the main Hellbore.
Their mistake, and it may be their last. If you can destroy the
replicators, your fleet may have enough time to prepare before the aliens
can build more. You leave the proving ground and hide, hoping to hijack a
transport back to your own lines. To hide would be safer, yet you place
your hands on the controls and move the BOLO forward... for the honor of
the Regiment.


The objective of Bolo is to maneuver your Bolo tank through the treacherous
maze and destroy the enemy's six tank bases. Each base is continuously
manufacturing a variety of opponent tanks. The tank types vary from the
primitive drone version encountered early in the game to the faster torpedo
tanks and the deadly hunter/killer tanks. The intelligent assassin tanks
will pursue you at high speed by the most efficient route.

To begin, place the Bolo diskette into disk drive #1 and tun on your
computer. The disk will boot automatically, and you will see a brief
demonstration of the Bolo game. To end the demonstration hit any key, and
the option screen will appear.

The option screen allows you to choose both the level of play and the maze
density you want. There are nine increasingly difficult levels of play and
five maze densities. Press the number of the one you want to try. Since a
new battle maze is generated by the computer every time you play, you will
have to wait anywhere from a few seconds to three minutes for the maze

When the maze screen appears, the tank control panel will be shown on the
right. The panel shows your score, the number of tanks left (you start with
five), the fuel gauge (a red stripe), a base locator, and a radar scope
showing the position of your tank in the maze. The base locator indicates
the direction of the nearest tank bases by the green squares in its


The key board controls are arranged in two identical sets for right- and
left-handed players, centered on the 'L' and 'S' keys respectively. The
keys used by a left-handed player are shown in parentheses next to the
right-handed player's keys.

Hit O (W) to increase forward speed by 1, or decrease backward speed by 1.
Hit . (X) to increase backward speed by 1, or decrease forward speed by 1.
Hit K (A) to turn 45 degrees counter-clockwise.
Hit ; (D) to turn 45 degrees clockwise.
Hit 1 (:) to turn the player tank turret 45 degrees counter-clockwise.
Hit 2 (-) to turn the player tank turret 45 degrees clockwise.
Hit L (S) to stop moving.

Hit space bar to fire the turret gun.

Hit the ESCAPE key to freeze the game. Hit the ESCAPE key again to restart
the game.

Hit CTRL S to toggle the sound between the speaker and the cassette port.
If you do not have a speaker connected to your cassette output, this will
effectively shut off all sound

Combination Controls (For advanced players)

Hit I (Q) to increase forward speed while turning counter-clockwise.
Hit P (E) to increase forward speed while turning clockwise.
Hit , (Z) to increase backward speed while turning counter-clockwise.
Hit / (C) to increase backward speed while turning clockwise.


Points are won by destroying the enemy tanks and tank bases. To destroy a
tank base you must hit the circle in the middle of the base, causing it to
blow up. Hitting the circle is difficult since you must first blast through
the self-healing walls.

Once you have cleared a maze level of all six tank bases, you are awarded
one extra tank. Then the game will generate a new maze with six new tank
bases to find and destroy. Hitting a tank on level one scores 1 point. When
you hit a tank on level two you score 2 points, and so on, up to level

Destroying a tank base on level one scores 100 points. When you destroy a
tank base on level two you score 200 points, and so on, up to level nine.


When learning to play Bolo, master the simple keyboard commands first, then
learn the combination commands. Do not worry about turret action until you
have mastered movement.

When firing at a wall or tank base, beware of shrapnel ricocheting back at

[Extra Notes]

These instructions are possibly not complete.

Note that some keys are not in the "correct" positions when running on an
Apple // emulator (ie. the IBM keyboard layout is different), so that if
you play using the right-hand keys, then it is very difficult to hit the
':' key. I recommend using your left hand on the '1', '2' and space bar,
and your right hand on the other keys centred around the 'L'.