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!).
Reviewer: Marcus Berkmann
Revenge of Doh? Doh, a deer, a female deer, Ray, a drop of golden sun...
Me, well that's very much a name I call myself, and when this sequel of sequels turned up in the office, it was the work of a moment for me to bag the reviewing chores and so settle down to a happy afternoon's brick-bashing.
Of course I'm preaching to the converted here, but the bottom line is that if you liked Arkanoid and you went a bundle for Batty, you'll blow a gasket at this latest variation on the Breakout theme. 'Cos blow me down if it isn't the best of the lot.
Okay, so you don't believe me. Well, neither did I to start off with (Eh? Ed) as I was originally handed a 128K version. 'Gor lumme' was my initial reaction, tempered by the realisation that they'd only be able to fit all these graphics, all this game, all this everything into the heftier Speccies. But no - the 48K one is identical, except for the music.
So, to the details. Arkanoid II is a remarkably true conversion of the relatively recent (in fact brand new) Taito coin-op, and it's almost as great an advance on Arkanoid I as that was on Breakout itself. There are still 33 levels, but after the first screen (and before the last screen) you have a choice of two screens for each level, making 64 brainblenders in all. The graphics are much improved, with backgrounds for every screen, extra colours. and shadows for each brick, a la Batty. And best of all, there are loads of jolly new capsules to keep you zipping around the screen like a camel on heat.
So as well as all the old faves - S (go slower), D (ball multiplies - fnar - and by a few more here than in the original), E (extended bat), B (warp through to the next level), C (catch the ball every time you hit it), P (extra life), and L (bat turns into a laser) - you also get R, which reduces the bat (bad news, but if you pick up another one it'll return you to normal size); G, which gives your bat a ghosting effect as it shoots across the screen, and so increasing its size for a split second every time; T, which'll give you twin bats (but be careful the ball doesn't drop between them!): M, which gives you three balls to knock around (fnar, fnar) as long as you can keep at least one in play; and SC, an addition to the Speccy version that wasn't in the coin-op, which scrolls the backgrounds up the screen, leading to watery eyes and a splitting headache if you don't get another capsule fast (like an Anadin or something). Phew! You'll need a brain the size of Colchester to remember that lot.
Moving right along here, we also have some wacky new blocks to deal with. You'll remember the silver blocks, which need two or more hits to be destroyed, and the gold ones, which are completely indestructible. Now we get blocks which move from side to side (indestructible too, I'm afraid), and blocks which re-appear a few seconds after you thought you'd seen the last of them. Fiendish!
I've not mentioned one capsule, though, which will help you sort out these obstructions. Shaped a bit like a fireball, its effect is random, but occasionally very powerful. For instance you may get an auto-fire laser - useful in the rush hour, I'd have thought. Or a sort of mega-multiply effect which gives you 20 or so balls - these will deal with all but the most cleverly hidden blocks. Then there's the equivalent of Batty's powerball, which crashes through and destroys everything, even the indestructible bricks. Or best of all, you can get 20 or so of these powerballs - and that's wicked!
There are also bouncy nasties, which won't blow up when touched by you or the ball, but simply boing around and get in the way, and there's the... but what am I doing telling you this. Go and buy this immediately. (I can say that in the confidence that anyone misguided enough not to have liked Ark I will have left us by now.) Ark II is, I'd say, a touch easier than the original, and much easier than Batty, and I've already got to level 9, thanks to a few timely B capsules. But this is a winner and no mistake. Take my word for it - Arkanoid it will drive you Batty!
RICH PELLEY goes dizzy over the latest batch of Codies games and JON PILLAR has quite a bit of trouble getting a word in edgeways.
The Hit Squad
Reviewer: Rich Pelley
Arkanoid 2 is that game which everyone wants to play when they come round to your house. I even caught my Mum having a sneaky go on it once when I came home from school.
Knocking bricks out of a wall may not sound like a particularly amusing pastime, but the likes of Thru The Wall, Batty, Arkanoid, and this, the best of the clones, have proved that theory wrong. It's an utterly brilliant idea and more addictive than a packet of Jaffa Cakes (and probably just as chocolatey).
Simply all that happens is that a ball bounces around the screen knocking bricks out of a wall at the top, and you have to bounce the ball on a bat until all the bricks have been knocked out and you get onto a new screen. You probably knew that already of course, but what you may not be too clued up on are the multitude of extra features available.
Firstly, the bricks. Some just disintegrate on hitting them, as you'd expect, some need more than one hit before they'll go, some don't disappear at all, some move about and some come back after a time as well. Quite an impressive list of different sorts of bricks there, I thought. And capsules also fall down when certain bricks are hit - if caught then they'll do various interesting things to you (such as make your bat bigger, make your bat smaller, turn your bat into a laser so you can shoot the bricks etc etc etc).
As I've already mentioned. Arkanoid 2 really is rather addictive - you keep on playing it if only to see all the screens, of which there are approximately loads (my Mum can only get onto the second one though). You get onto a different screen depending on which side you exit once you've completed each level, so however many levels you thought 'loads' was before, double it. If I was asked to sum up Arkanoid 2 in a word, I'd probably use "brilliant." if on the other hand I was allowed to use more than one word. I'd probably still say "brilliant", but in a slightly more roundabout way.
Author: Lamb, Fowles
Reviewer: Tony Dillon
This is the bit I hate doing. The bit where I'm meant to explain the background of the game to the readers who have just been born, while trying to make it interesting enough not to lose the attention of the other 99% of you who know exactly what's going on.
Still there? Now, Arkanoid was a Breakout clone. Breakout was one of the earliest arcade machines, and entailed bouncing a ball into a wall of bricks.
You had control of a bat at the bottom of the screen which deflected the ball into the wall. Arkanoid took that idea one stage further and gave it a spacey type of plot. As well as the bat, ball and wall, Arkanoid brought in the capsules, each with different properties (extend bat, disrupt ball into 3 balls (oo-er), transport you to next level, etc). Needless to say, Arkanoid was very, very popular.
So, how does Arkanoid 2 measure up, then? Well, for a start your Vaus pod (that's bat to you matey) has been destroyed or something, and you have a new bat, aptly named Vaus 2, which looks exactly the same as the first one. The idea behind the game is the game, though.
The original Arkanoid was graphically very sparse. It had no backgrounds and the bricks were just coloured squares.
Arkanoid's programmers have taken this point into account and have completely redone the graphics section of the game and, wow, it is a real improvement. The bricks have been redesigned so you can tell the difference between 1 hit (coloured squares) and multiple hit (like a top view of a house) bricks. The backgrounds are lovely and patterned, but can be really confusing. For example, in level 1, it is practically impossible to see the ball when playing in colour, yet in black and white there is no trouble.
There are 66 levels in A2, and I promise you, all are fiendishly difficult. Indestructible bricks bar your way everywhere and those little aliens still get in the way of your last brick. Very interesting, very frustrating, but still a lot of fun. Still, you will need the pods to help you through, though I must warn you that they have been changed a lot - just have a look at the table of pods on this page.
How many people in the original Arkanoid, got to, say, level 24 and said "This is too hard for me. I wish I didn't have to do this screen." Well A2 is way up your street, because at the end of each screen, not one, but 2 exits will open, and you can choose which way you want to go. Very handy that.
All said, a great game. Fun, very easy to get into and frustratingly addictive. Even the legendary Graham "I don't find anything addictive" Taylor was heard to say "Just one more go." Like I say, it's a great game and very, very conceptual (only joking).
Balls bounce back from Imagine.
Bouncing balls can still make addictive computer fun, as Arkanoid 2 - The Revenge of Doh proves. The Breakout super-clone has now cloned itself to produce a game which wont astonish you with its originality, but will certainly keep you at the keyboard for lengthy periods.
The game, just in case you didn't know, involves bouncing a ball off your bat to break through walls of bricks at the top of the screen. These bricks are arranged in various fiendish ways (33 different ones) making them pretty tricky to destroy. Individual bricks may require several hits to destroy, while others are indestructible.
To help you, various tokens will flutter down towards you as you hit certain bricks; you might get laser fire, an expanding 'ghost' bat, or multiple balls. A welcome addition to the powers in Arkanoid are the red balls which burn through everything on screen, and the regenerating balls which come back even if you let them go off the bottom.
The basic idea is exactly the same as the first version of the game - but that's not going to put you off if you like this kind of thing. It's all put together pretty well and remains infuriatingly addictive.
Reviewer: Pete Connor
Spec, £7.95cs, Out Now
Ams, £8.95cs, £14.95dk, Out Now
C64/128, £8.95cs, £12.95dk, Imminent
Atari ST, £19.95dk, Imminent
Amiga, £19.95dk, Imminent
MACHINES: Spectrum/Commodore 64
PRICE: £8.95/£12.95 (CBM 64)/£7.95 (Spectrum)
VERSION TESTED: Spectrum
What with all this talk of hostile space forces, hastily-scrambled space fighters and fearful energy weapons, you'd think that imagine was ashamed to present yet another Breakoutvariant. Well, it's nothing to be ashamed of, boys; we all know that original ideas are hard to find, and after all, Arkanoid was mucho playable despite its ancient derivation.
Revenge of Doh is exactly what you'd expect from a follow-up; it's tougher, has more gimmicks, and is bigger. But basically it's more of the same old formula; move your bat from left to right along the bottom of the screen, bouncing the ball into rows of bricks until you have cleared each psychedelic screen.
This time the weapon capsules which drop from the shattered bricks come two or three at a time, rather than singly. They also feature a wider range of enhancements to your bat. Apart from expanded size, lasers, glue, and slow ball, there are some nifty new ones; a nasty bat reducer, a doubler which gives you two bats at a time, and a ball multiplier which seems to fill the screen with wildly bouncing spheres. My favourite new weapon is the "ghost bat", a sort of shadow following you along the screen. More useful are the armour-piercing balls which shoot through anything, and the fireball which creates an enormous explosion.
However, to make life more difficult there are new types of bricks to cope with too. The moving ones, which are particularly annoying, are a bit hard to see against some of the backgrounds - but then, so is the ball. Less irritating are the blocks which reappear a few seconds after you zap them_ Another gimmick is that while there are 66 screens to play, you can choose to some extent which you encounter.
Once each screen is cleared, you can exit either to the right or the left, so if you fail to cope with any screens you can avoid them on subsequent plays. Inevitably, though, you'll end up fighting the alien on the last level, where there are no capsules to help you.
OK, so Revenge of Doh isn't a new high in originality, but it's good fun and offers some entertaining extras. it has to be said, though, that unless you've mastered Arkanoid, you may find Revenge of Doh a bit strenuous; it's deliberately designed to make you tear your hair out, and will certainly take many hours of concentration to complete.
Spectrum 48/128 Cassette: £7.97
Commodore 64/128 Cassette: £8.95
Amstrad CPC Cassette: £8.95
DOH BAT STRIKES
Breakout style games, with their quirky insistence on disguising the simple bat and ball theme by providing intricately woven scenarios, turned into a veritable second-flood of titles after the success of Imagine's Arkanoid. Now the company is cashing in again on its own success with an Arkanoid II. Revenge Of Doh is a conversion from Talto's coin-op sequel.
At the end of Arkanoid the evil dimension controller, Doh, was finally beaten into submission and banished from the universe. All was peaceful but as the conquering space craft cruised homeward little did the occupants know that 40,000 years later history would repeat itself. During that time Doh nursed his wounds and learned evil arts, evolving into a much more powerful and vindictive form, ready at last to unleash his revenge on the universe.
A vast alien spaceship, Zarg, has entered the universe. Failing to answer any communications signals it is scanned using radar xenographic equipment, revealing the presence of Doh. Deploying the space craft Vaus II you must destroy Zarg's protective barriers and so prevent Doh from exterminating the universe - so more interesting than a mere bat and ball...
The player controls the left/right and fire movements of Vaus II and must deflect the bouncing energy bolt into the barrier. The barrier consists of different coloured bricks. The colour of the brick determines how easily it is eliminated. Some require a number of hits while others are completely indestructible. This would all be too easy, of course, so varied alien lifeforms descend randomly towards you to hinder progress. Energy capsules are hidden beneath some bricks which are released when the bricks are destroyed. Capsules can be collected by manoeuvring Vaus II into them before they drop off the edge of the screen. The energy effect they have on Vaus II is denoted by a letter within the capsule. These include extra lives and limited-fire laser guns; however, not all the effects are desirable.
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