Retail Price: £7.95 cassette, £14.95 disk
Author: Mike Lamb
As everyone knows, 40,000 years ago the Arkanoid Space Wars liberated the universe from the tyrannical dimension controller DOH. Now, having regained their strength, the aliens are making a comeback. DOH has metamorphosised into an even more vengeful form and is hiding out in the space ship Zarg. Taking control of the spacecraft Vaus II - a modified version of the original - the player must penetrate the enemy ship and exterminate the alien invader.
The Zarg consists of a series of rooms comprising various multicoloured arrangements of bricks. These structures are broken down by an energy bolt deflected off the surface of the Vaus as it manoeuvres deftly from side to side. Different bricks have varying levels of resistance: some must be struck a number of times before they can be destroyed, while others disappear momentarily only to regenerate; only a few are indestructible.
Each room contains a generator, which releases a constant stream of hostile alien life forms. These spinning, bouncing and revolving creatures variously obstruct and aid the movement of the ball. Their determined descent towards the base of the screen comes to a swift and sticky end on contact with the valiant Vaus, which remains impervious to their touch.
The destruction of specific bricks triggers the release of a variety of different energy capsules. Identified by their lettering, these have the power to transform the molecular structure of the Vaus on impact. The dextral skill of the player determines whether the spacecraft spawns a twin, is shadowed by a ghost, doubles in size, assumes extra weapons (laser power, smart bombs, extra energy bolls), flies against a scrolling backdrop or shrinks to a fraction of its size. Special capsules also inject random factors into the game...
A screen display shows score and current level. Generally, to progress from one level to another the screen must be cleared of destructible bricks. Occasionally, however, capsules are released which bear a warp, allowing the player instant access to the next round.
Graphics: superbly colourful and very varied
Sound: tinny on the 48K, repetitive and monotonous 128K title tune
The Revenge of Doh is a very professional rendering of the ageing Breakout theme. The graphics immediately catch your eye: all the backgrounds are textured and the arrangement of bricks on each screen seems to make use of more colours than the Spectrum actually has to offer. Gameplay is smooth, having none of the problems with random speed changes typical of the original Arkanoid, and collision detection is accurate. The variety of capsules ensures that play is different enough to charm the most reluctant addicts, especially with the element of random bonuses thrown in. One minor drawback is the colouring of the bat: it's always the same as the background and unintentionally camouflaged. In the long run, this is just a small hiccup in an extremely slick and well presented game.
Arkanoid is the second of the Breakout-style games featured in this month's magazine, and is in my opinion by far the best of the two. Graphically the game is great, with a very fast and realistic ball being bounced around some very clear and subtly coloured screen designs. Sadly, though, I do have a very minor gripe, in that on some of the paler screens the bat tends to get lost in the background. This is a little disconcerting, and a lot of concentration is needed to keep one eye on the bat, and the other on the ball. As I said though, this is the only slight blemish on an otherwise enormously enjoyable game; definitely one for all Arkanoid fans.
The Revenge of Doh is just another run of the mill bat 'n' ball game. There are so many similar games on the market that nobody really takes any notice of them any more. The graphics are excellently drawn and would look fantastic on screen if only they were against a black background. But with a highly complex background - which is the same colour as the bat and ball - you soon lose track of what's happening and die. On the first couple of goes the little tunes and jingles are very inviting and add to the atmosphere of the game, but after the tenth go they start to get irritating and you feel like kicking the monitor in! I feel sorry for people who own one of the older Spectrums because they can't even pull the sound socket out! Personally I don't think this game will do very well because of all the similar games that are around, but for all fans of the original Arkanoid it should be worth a whirl.
The Hit Squad
The Break Out game style has got to be one of the most cloned ever. Arkanoid put it on the map, though, and this is the sequel to the Spectrum classic. There is a storyline but it's pointless, and besides, there can't be anyone out there who hasn't played a game like this once in their life. However, nothing can heat this excellent version- it's smart!
The slick presentation and graphics make Doh instantly attractive. What makes the gameplay so specials is the variety of icons you can collect: some provide mega-weapons and others have an affect on your bat, doubling the speed or slowing everything right down.
The first few screens are quite simple to complete, it's when you advance to the later levels you need sedation tablets to prevent your head exploding! Things can get very frustrating indeed!
Arkanoid - The Revenge Of Doh is the best Break Out game ever- it can't be bettered (dangerous thing to say, Nick - Ed). No Spectrum software collection is complete without this game so get it (if you haven't already!).
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