Retail Price: £4.99
Author: Rob Toone
The latest in a long line of Breakout rewrites comes in the form of Krakout from GREMLIN GRAPHICS.
An arrangement of blocks fills a three sided screen, with a controllable bat at the open end. A ball is launched into the playing area and ricochets around the screen, destroying the blocks on contact. When the ball approaches the open side, the player keeps it in play by moving the bat up or down into its path. The player starts with a supply of three bats.
Not all blocks explode on first contact - some absorb two or three hits before they disappear, while others spin to reveal a letter. Hitting lettered squares a second time gives the player an advantage, or 'supercharges' the bat.
Animated characters float about the screen, affecting the bat and ball on impact.
An options screen allows aspects of the game to be changed before play, these include: placing the bat on the left or right of the screen, varying the speed of both bat and ball and switching the effects on and off.
Control keys: P up, L down, SPACE fire
Joystick: Kempston, Cursor, Interface II
Use of colour: bright and distinctive
Graphics: well defined, if occasionally flickery
This is dead boring, unplayable, and has no lasting appeal. The graphics are all right, the sound isn't too bad (although there could be an in-game tune) and the options on bat and ball speed are a nice touch - but they don't help the overall feel.
Krakout's graphics are nice and fat, and they move smoothly, but the overall effect is really tedious. The blame oughtn't fall on the programmers; they seem to have done their job well enough, but the unfortunate thing is that the original concept is neither exciting or addictive. It is playable, but only once or twice.
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Original Rating: 46%
This Breakout variant has dated very little - it's still as awful as when we first reviewed it in May 1987.
The player controls a bat to hit the ball which bounces around the play area, destroying coloured bricks. However, instead of the bat being at the base of the screen (as in most Breakout-type games), it's at the right-hand-side and is moved vertically to stop the ball leaving the screen. Some of the blocks need several hits to be destroyed, while others reveal a special letter, which if hit, activates a special feature. These include a double bat, an expanded bat and glue to make the ball stick to the bat.
Despite some useful options to change the speeds of the bat and ball, Krakout is severely lacking in addictive qualities - the layout of the screens is unimaginative and boredom soon sets in. At only two quid less than its original price (£4.99) it isn't recommended.
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