Breakout (Windows)

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100 point score based on reviews from various critics.
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Written by  :  Katakis | カタキス (39490)
Written on  :  Oct 17, 2003
Platform  :  Windows
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Updated version has similar gameplay, but with a bit of variation

The Good

If you remember Atari's Breakout from 1978, you'll guess that this little gem from Hasbro Interactive will be an updated version with a few changes. The aim of the original was to hit colored blocks with a ball, the gameplay of Hasbro's version is the same. However, where the original didn't have a plot, this one does.

While Bouncer and his friends (he and the characters all look like paddles) are playing volleyball at the beach, someone accidentally throws the ball in the water. While Bouncer gets the ball out of the water, Batnix, Bouncer's enemy, decides to come along and take away Daisy, Bouncer's feisty girlfriend. He is then placed in prison where Coach Steel, Bouncer's trainer, helps to get him out by making him hit objects not colored blocks, but just crates. Bouncer needs to pass four tests that involve hitting the crates original style, at different angles, and slicing the ball. Once he passes all the tests, he then has to make his escape.

Once he actually gets out of the prison area, he will have to fight through four more exotic locations that include egypt, castle, an animal farm, and a factory. Then he will make his way into outer space and defeat Batnix at his own moonbase. Just hitting objects is not what Bouncer always has to do to get him past obstacles. He will also get away from wolves, kick some ducks off the raft, defeat a dragon, and throw some missiles at his enemy. He also has to save characters that are being held hostage. Once they are free, Bouncer can take a rest and let one of the other characters take over the action. When he finally has his final confrontation, he will face his final challenge, which is, wait for it, playing the original version of Breakout.

There are eleven ranks in the game, including Beginner, Junior, Novice, all the way down to Superstar. If Bouncer gets through an area without losing all three lives, his rank will increase. If he loses all of them at once, his rank will decrease. Bouncer's progress is saved as he gets through each area, so there's no need for him to repeat the same area. All he has to do is to continue where he left off. Also, he can replay areas that he gets though in order to improve his skill.

Unlike the original Breakout, power-ups appear out of nowhere that, when Bouncer hits them, they give him goodies including extra lives. Out of the game, you have the option of playing Breakout through modems or through the internet. The music in Breakout is excellent, due to the fact that it consists of over 20 CD-Audio tracks. The graphics have a bit of a cartoonish feel to them.

The Bad

While playing the game, I had the tendancy to press either Windows key or the ALT-ENTER combination, causing Windows to take me to the desktop. When I press ALT-TAB to switch back to the game, all I got was a blank screen, so instead of using the keyboard, I used the mouse instead.

Sometimes, I found that the "Continue Game" option is disabled when a saved game is loaded, forcing me to do backups when I got through one area.

The Bottom Line

An updated version of Breakout, and a damn good one I might add. If you ever played the original in MAME, you'll like the varied gameplay in Hasbro's one. The game makes me want to play it again. ****