Rock Raiders was a theme introduced in 1999 and discontinued in 2000. It is based on space travellers/miners trapped on an alien planet. It consists of eight main sets, four promotional sets and three Minifigure-based sets, and also a video game based on the theme for both Windows and the PlayStation.
The eponymous Rock Raiders were a team of miners that searched for energy crystals in the underground. They had several specialized mining and transport vehicles at their disposal, and were based at various locations around Planet U, where they processed rocks to extract the powerful Energy Crystals with their refinery stations. During their excavations, they would occasionally encounter Rock Monsters (included in two different sets), Slimy Slugs, and numerous other monsters, who would often attack the Rock Raiders or their bases, usually for Energy Crystals (although some, like Spiders and Scorpions, were merely aggressive towards the Raiders).
The setting had several elements that were reprized, and also somewhat further developed, in the Power Miners theme ten years later, such as the occurrence of Rock Monsters and collection of crystals. Here, the Rock Monsters had just minor appearances and were not named characters, merely bearing the name "Rock Monster".
Rock Raiders introduced also several new pieces, such as the chrome drill, blade saw, hollow boulders and an electric light-producing cannon piece that served as a laser cutter.
The sets of the first wave, which were also the only ones of the theme that appeared in the catalogs, all included Rock Raiders comics. The models and minifigures of the respective set the comic was included in played a major role in the story.
The Rock Raiders were travelling on their spaceship, the LMS Explorer, mapping the whole Galaxy. They had just finished their journey and were headed home, when they drifted into an asteroid field. The ship was badly damaged and, to make matters worse, a wormhole caught the ship in its gravitational pull. The fuel supply was drained in the failed attempt to escape, and the LMS Explorer was flung into a distant Galaxy. They found themselves around Planet U, a planet rich in mysterious Power Crystals. They sent down Rock Raiders to mine it, and found vast amounts of Energy Crystals to power and repair the LMS Explorer, but they also encountered many alien creatures. The team would endure numerous hardships to obtain the Crystals, but they eventually triumphed, and successfully gathered enough Crystals to return home.
The three books further expand on this story, as well as the missions from the games.
Rock Monsters are subterranean beings made entirely of rock with glowing red eyes. They feast on the energy crystals used to power Rock Raiders vehicles and are not aggressive unless their crystals are stolen. They are the most common enemy. The best way to kill them is with a Laser Beam.
They appeared in LEGO Island 2 on Adventurer's Island, where they would throw rocks at you in the biplane game. Several more were later seen orbiting OGEL Island.
Rock Monsters are theorized by Docs to be remnants of an ancient civilization. When the Rock Raiders first saw them, they assumed that they were statues built by that civilization. However, after seeing their activity, Docs came to believe that they may have devolved from an advanced civilization.
Ice Monsters are subterranean lifeforms composed of solid ice and have glowing blue eyes. They too feast on crystals and can be found in icy areas beneath Planet U. In the Rock Raiders game, they are more aggressive than Rock Monsters but not as strong. The best way to kill them is with a Laser Beam. Ice Monsters make few appearances in the NTSC PS1 game. Ice Monsters do not appear in any of the sets - the closest thing is an unpainted Rock Monster prototype. The Rock Raiders have encountered fights between Ice Monsters and Lava Monsters, however; sometimes Rock, Ice, and Lava monsters work together.
Lava Monsters are subterranean creatures formed from molten lava and sport glowing yellow eyes. They can be found in the underground molten lava caverns on Planet U. In the Rock Raiders game, they cannot be killed instantly, and the best way to dispatch them is with a Freezer Beam. Lava Monsters do not appear in the NTSC version of the PS1 game.
Slimy Slugs are very large slugs, often smaller than Rock Monsters (although some rather large Slugs have been found). They are large and are green with faint spots. Slimy Slugs eat crystals. Slimy Slugs can also be found on Ogel Island in LEGO Island 2, and push the player back when the player runs into them. In the Rock Raiders PC game, Slimy Slugs cannot be destroyed, and will drain energy crystals from existing buildings. The best weapon to use on them is a Pusher Beam.
Bats appear in the Windows video game. They scare Rock Raiders, and cause them to drop whatever they may happen to be carrying.
Spiders appear in the Windows video game. They randomly emerge when Rock Raiders are drilling. They cause the Rock Raiders in the area to slip and drop whatever they are carrying but are otherwise harmless.
Spiders appear in the Rock Raiders PS1 video game. Unlike the small variety, these are aggressive, and will attack Rock Raiders. They can also spin Large Webs that only the Loader Dozer or the Pusher Beam can clear. There are prototypes of them lying unused in the PC Game's files.
Purple Scorpions are huge, about the size of Small Diggers. They will attack nearby Rock Raiders. They only appeared in the PS1 game. Three shots from a Pusher Beam will eradicate them.
Green Scorpions are very similar to Purple Scorpions, but they prefer to not attack directly; rather, they stand at a distance shooting plasma globules from their claws at the Rock Raiders. They only appeared in the PS1 game. Three shots from a Pusher Beam will do away with them.
These massive 6-legged creatures lumber through the underground passages of Planet U. Although they do not attack, they can do a lot of damage, albeit unintentionally. There are 2 types: a cracked-looking light-brown type that moves slowly and spends most of their time slumbering, and a smaller metallic-looking red type that can scuttle faster than most vehicles can move. They only appeared in the PlayStation game and the book High Adventure Deep Underground. The only way to remove slumbering Rock Whales is to use a Pusher Beam to move them into water, causing them to merge into the ground and form a bridge. The moving variety are too fast to use a Pusher Beam on.
- Rock Raiders - An Interactive Puzzle Book
- Plot coming soon
- Race for Survival
- Axle is trapped underground in a cave-in and the rest of the team set out to rescue him.
- High Adventure Deep Underground
- Plot coming soon
The Ultimate LEGO Book contained concept art for LEGO Rock Raiders on pages 30–31, showing how the theme developed over time. The original plans were vastly different
A piece of concept art showed:
- Different outfit designs for the Rock Raiders, with goggles and scarves.
- Mysterious aliens travelling with the Rock Raiders.
- Rock Monsters were larger, and some had tails and acted more like animals.
- The Chrome Crusher appears with two drills (similar to its upgraded form in the Rock Raiders PC Game) and no laser.
- The Loader Dozer has a drill and a gun.
- A scrapped flying rocket-like vehicle which somewhat resembles the Tunnel Scout.
- A scrapped vehicle with robotic arms, a drill and laser turrets.
- A Mobile Rock Raiders HQ, with Crystal and Ore Refineries and giant arms.
- A Hover Scout with cargo capacity.
Other pictures in the book included:
- Different Granite Grinder, much sleeker look.
- Ice-themes Loader Dozer.
- Ice Monsters in a set.
- Flying transport truck.
Had the theme been more successful, these elements might have been reconsidered.
- Rock Raiders at Wikipedia
- Rock Raiders United
- The Rock Raiders United Knowledgebase, a database of LEGO Rock Raiders
- Former URL of LEGO Rock Raiders homepage (defunct, redirects to the LEGO Club; posted here for reference for those interested in using the Wayback Machine to observe it)