The Biz (as those of us lucky enough to be embroiled in this staggeringly exciting industry know it) can be a funny old beast at times.
One part of the toothsome fright-monster that is The Software industry can be merrily working at one totally new concept that is exactly the same as another totally new concept being worked on by someone else. You've got to agree, it's a mad, mad zany whacky world.
This startlingly innovative revelation comes to light as Krackout from Gremlin appears on the shelves a couple of weeks after Ocean's Arkanoid. Indeed, there were a fair few disgruntled industry Figures when certain people realised quite how similar the products were.
However, that is all history and I'm sure Gremlin would rather Krackout was reviewed in its own right as an individual piece of software...
Krackout, like Arkanoid (oh dear, I'm not doing very well so far) goes back a long long way to the days when the Spectrum wasn't around and there was nothing on the TV sets of a nation except Blue Peter and bad TV rock shows. Then there was Pong. Pong was a kind of TV game-console thing which enabled two players to bounce a white square around the screen between two bats.
Things got a bit more sophis and a wall was introduced instead of a second player. Now it was just you and the machine. And that's essentially how the game stayed for a good many years. There were extending bats and descending walls. There were other things too but the game remained largely the same.
Krackout resurrects the old formula of bat, ball and wall and turns it into a very enjoyable though not particularly mentally taxing game. The storyline is complete rubbish and should be ignored totally (ooh, the phone will be ringing...)
On starting, you find yourself on the right-hand side of the screen, with the wall to the left. It's Breakout (or Arkanoid) turned 90 degrees to the left. Once you get going (by hitting Fire) the ball shoots off toward the colourful bricks. On hitting a brick, the ball will destroy it and then change its course. You'll have to prevent it sailing past you out of the screen by getting in the way. Depending on the angle at which you hit the ball, it will whizz off in an appropriate (and estimatable) direction.
Certain blocks will do special things when the ball hits them. Some turn into different shaped blocks with letters on them. By directing the ball so as it will hit one of these blocks, you can take advantage of the benefits each one offers. Some give you a longer bat, some make your bat sticky, others will explode, destroying surrounding blocks, some give you extra lives.
And there you go. Make your way through the screens, and admire the pleasing layout of bricks.
The graphics in Krackout are very nice. The aliens that drift around getting in the way and putting you off are certainly cute, and the blocks are colourful and about as attractive as blocks can be.
It's certainly more attractive to look at than Arkanoid, although I'm not sure if I'm a fan of the orientation of the wall and the bat.
If you bought Arkanoid, don't even think about this one.
If you've held off. For whatever reason, Krackout is probably better.
Reviewer: Jim Douglas
Nice version of a ridiculously old game. Definitely in second after Arkanoid but if you can handle the odd angle, it's better.