ARKANOID / Taito / Arcade


Arkanoid is basically Atari's Breakout revisited, but with colorful graphics, deep bassy sound effects and music, and random power upgrades that allow the paddle to do things like elongate and fire laser guns. As it happens, these additions make the game 10x more fun to play.

There's even a little story about how your paddle is actually a spaceship's escape pod that fled a ship explosion and got sucked into some kind of mystery vortex. To escape, for some reason, you have to plow through increasingly complex walls of colored blocks using a little ball that you ricochet off your ship. For even more mysterious reasons, if the ball bounces past you, your pod explodes instantly. Every now and then an alien dood will also come wandering out to see WTF all this racket is. There's more of a danger of a sharp ricochet after hitting them than them coming after your paddle, but they do do that sometimes. Later on they also shoot things at you.

The game does seem a touch harder than Breakout and other clones. You'd think it much easier with stuff like laser cannons on your ship, but obtaining said power-ups as they fall tends to conflict with having to rescue the ball before it falls into the void. Also, the power-ups can get so distracting that you lose track of the ball for just a second too long and can't get in position to save it. Really, the best power-up to stick with is either the elongated paddle or the slowdown, but there's another twist in that you might be forced to lose a favored power-up by being forced to pick up another one while putting the ball back into play.

The arcade cabinet came equipped with a rotating knob that is really better than a stick, pad or keys, but Arkanoid is still playable and pretty fun at home once you get adjusted to the demanding difficulty level. Maybe you can rig up an old Atari 2600 paddle using a USB connector or something, I'm sure someone out there has done it.

Videos :

* Gameplay Video