Retail Price: £7.95
Author: Mike Lamb
A major interstellar catastrophe has occurred! The giant spaceship Arkanoid has exploded and a small shuttle craft, The Vaus, has scrambled away, only to be sucked into a void inhabited by 'The Dimension Changer'. This horrid creature has transported The Vaus into a strange dimension - a void consisting of 32 block-patterned screens. In order to escape, The Vaus has to move from one screen to another clearing each screen of blocks, finally confronting the Dimension Changer on Level 33 in a battle to the death.
The Vaus sits at the bottom of the screen, and a ball is launched into the playing area. This ball bounces around the screen and ricochets off the sides, destroying the blocks on contact. The player moves The Vaus left and right, attempting to prevent the ball from leaving the screen.
Not all of the blocks explode on first contact. Some take a more severe beating before they disappear, and others drop a spinning capsule which can be collected to gain a feature - such as an expanded bat, a slower ball, the ability to catch and relaunch the ball, a laser to shoot at the bricks, an escape route to the next screen, an extra life and the ability to split the ball into three separate spheres.
Seemingly harmless aliens float about, but despite their appearance they pose an indirect threat to the Vaus - when one of these wandering obstacles is hit by the ball, it explodes and sends the ball flying off in the opposite direction.
Failing to stop the ball from leaving the screen loses a life, although extra lives can be earned at regular point intervals - or by collecting a capsule marked with 'P'.
Control keys: left CAPS SHIFT-V, right B-SPACE, fire A-L
Joystick: Kempston, Interface 2
Use of colour: bright and attractive
Graphics: smooth but unimaginative
Sound: spot FX, not tune
Skill levels: one
Aaaaaaaaaagh this is terrible - I'm addicted to a badly programmed Breakout variant, my street cred is never going to recover! The programmers have a lot to answer for, the collision detection is awful (a major problem for a Breakout game), and the program changes speed at the most illogical moments. To top it all there's a scenario - that's right, a scenario! Could you think of anything more irrelevant to put in a game like this? You have to sit through 30 seconds of tedious waffle at the start of each game. But despite all this the gameplay is still there, and the whole thing is disturbingly compelling. However I'm sure that Arkanoid will lose its appeal fairly quickly.
Whatever next! Will flares be back in fashion this year? it seems a distinct possibility if the fashion industry follows IMAGINE 'S example to the computer industry. Arkanoid contains no addictive qualities at all. It's extremely boring to play and very easy to leave on the shelf. The Thru The Wall game that comes free with a Spectrum is more fun to play than this. Graphics are very simply defined, and poorly animated.
What can I say? It's something like five years since the release of the Spectrum, and someone is still trying to flog a version of the game that was given away with the very first machine! Not only that, but this version isn't what I would expect after five years of development. The additions to the bat are great, but the game really falls down due to the speed variations. Somehow, though, someone has managed to put some addictivity into a game whose programming defies such a compliment. Generally, a slightly above average product that could have converted well from the arcade machine, but has been let down by poor programming.
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