The game is largely based on the Indiana Jones movie Raiders of the Lost Ark. Set in 1945, British agent Rick Dangerous travels to the Amazon jungle to search for the lost Goolu tribe. His plane crashes in the jungle, and Rick must escape from the enraged Goolu. When the game starts Rick finds himself in a cave running from a rolling boulder, a famous scene from the Indiana Jones movie.
Rick can jump and climb, and carry a limited amount of bombs and ammunition for his gun. The gun is mostly used to shoot enemies, although most traps that can kill Rick can also kill his enemies if used correctly. The bombs are generally used for puzzle solving, such as blowing out certain blocks.
The Spectrum version is the only one entirely made in single-pixel graphics, but this is compromised by the way the Spectrum itself handles its graphics mode; only two colors (for foreground and background) are allowed per 8x8 square, so Rick can tend to blend into the background. This notorious color-clash can work for and against the gameplay. Movable walls are shown in markedly different colors to the surrounding scenery, and are far more visible than on the C64 and Amstrad versions; however, sometimes the background color is used, and this also has a nasty habit of masking other hazards such as spikes. Sprites on the other hand move fast and pretty smooth, which makes the game very playable.
The game made use of the 128k (and +2/+3 models) Spectrum's better sound quality, offering the epic introductory tune (missing on the CPC version) whilst there are several in-game SFX along with some short tunes playing at the beginning of each stage (also found on C64, Amiga and Atari ST!). The rating here is given for the 128k version. The 48k version offers limited SFX only.