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Arkanoid 2 - Revenge of Doh.

Arkanoid II Title

Ahhh, Imagine - the company that brought us easily 4,000 "different" isometric 3D arcade adventures on the ZX Spectrum - bringing us another quality arcade conversion. It's a splendid conversion of the arcade machine - unfortunately, it's difficult to guess what particular combination of controlled substances Taito fed its engineers which led to this coin-op being built in the first place. There are NO TWO WAYS ABOUT IT, Arkanoid II is just another Little Brick Out game, albeit with a few nifty powerups. Destroying certain (random?) tiles makes powerup gems float down; catch one of them and your ball might split into six (handy!), three (not quite as hectic, but still handy), your bat might shrink, or grow, or start to be followed by a ghost. The best powerup of all is the laser, which lets you shoot out dozens of bricks very quickly indeed.

It has to be said that the story line of this game is utter nonsense, and would better have been left off the conversion. A small piece of the story is reproduced below...

Arkanoid 2 Intro

... and those five lines of text are more than you need to read. Ignore the storyline, which is full of experimental spaceships and evil dimension-controlling forces, and get down to the serious work of knocking colored bricks out of a wall.

Arkanoid II Level 1 Screenshot
This screenshot has not been retouched - what you see is what you get. Knock out the bricks, destroy all the bricks to proceed to the next level. Some bricks can't be destroyed, some require several hits before they disappear, others start moving back and forth in a distracting manner once hit, and still others only disappear for a short time, then reappear. All levels have some strange animated 3D geometric things - they can't really be called monsters - which wander about the screen and cause annoyance when your ball bounces off them.

Verdict: Arkanoid II is definitely the antithesis of new game ideas! However, the graphics, though simple, are well-executed, and the sound effects and title music are competent, so it has to get a reasonably good score. The gameplay really deserves a slightly higher score, but this game is so non-90s that I feel compelled to give it a rating closer to modern ideas. The gameplay is nostalgic in the extreme - it was nostalgic even when played on the real ST in 1988. If, like me, you remember with misty eyes the extraordinary CPU-driven video output subsystem of the Sinclair ZX80/81, and you feel a lump in your throat when you see "*** CBM BASIC V2 *** 3583 BYTES FREE READY." in 22-column text, you will appreciate Arkanoid II for the memories it evokes.

Ratings (five stars = maximum)

Graphics

Sound/Music

Gameplay

Overall

****

***

**

***


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