Reviewed by Paul Rixon


Issue 31

Jan/Feb 88

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Cass. 8.95/Disk 12.95

1-2 players
1-2 joysticks/ paddles/ keyboard

Anyone for Breakout? Yes folks, whack-a-brick, bounce-a-ball fever is back upon us, courtesy of Imagine.

Forget all the blurb on the inlay card regarding space ships and suchlike ARKANOID is essentially an enhanced version of the Atari classic. For the uninitiated, the program displays screen after screen of multicoloured bricks which are destroyed when they come into contact with the ball. This bounces around the play area rebounding off of the bricks, the three perimeter walls, and a fourth, much shorter 'wall' better known as a bat. You have to position the bat in the path of the oncoming ball otherwise a life is lost and ultimately eradicate all of the bricks to progress onto subsequent levels.

Doesn't sound like much of a game by today's standards, right? That's why Imagine have thrown in a few extra goodies along the way. Selected bricks, a large proportion in fact, conceal round capsules and if you destroy the appropriate brick, the capsule floats downwards presenting you with the opportunity to catch it and benefit from one of several special effects, depending on the colour of the capsule and the letter it bears. For example, a `P' lets you have a bonus life, an 'E' elongates the bat and an `L' transforms the bat into a twin laser-firing attack ship.

Constantly emerging through one-way doors at the top of the screen are a varied selection of niggling nasties. The animation of these is excellent, but it's not a good idea to admire the graphics for too long if the ball touches alien matter it is deflected in a random direction at increased velocity. Thirty-two levels later you are given the chance to confront the `Dimension Changer', or so I'm told! The playfield is very colourful boasting a highly patterned and very imaginative backdrop, although the bat and ball are slightly disappointing, as are the bricks which are simply solid blocks of colour. There isn't any music (pity about that) but the few existing sounds are of reasonable quality and suitability.

The game's overriding strength lies in its immense addictiveness, and if you consider this property to be more important than its originality factor then you should turn a blind eye to the perhaps over-inflated asking price and waste no time in adding ARKANOID to your arcade collection.