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.
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