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CRL Group PLC
1987
Arcade: Action
£8.95
English
ZX Spectrum 48K/128K
None

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33
Graham Taylor
Chris Bourne

Being one of those people who quite liked CRLs last bat and ball game Room Ten (lone in a sea of apathy) I guess I'm biased, but in terms of actual forget-about-trendiness-programming technique-or-anything-else fun I think Ballbreaker may be one of the most entertaining games for months.

There is a plot, but it is of zero importance - describing Ball Breaker is simple: Breakout in 3D.

Imagine Breakout as played in an Ultimate 3D room layout. Mostly it's straightforward bashing of bricks. There are a few extra treats like maniac lizards that head straight for your bat (fortunately though, you are equipped with the odd missile or two with which to dispatch them.)

The ball (or ovoid as CR1 insists on calling it) bounces across the screen, knocking out bricks and generally behaving in authentic Breakout fashion - you can even get it trapped behind the wall of bricks and total them dozens at a time. On the 128K version this is accompanied by some very splendid sound effects.

Screen 1 poses no special problems except that in 3D it's particularly easy to miss the ball when it's first dropped into the arena.

By Screen 2 there are a few extra problems to deal with. Sitting on a couple of the bricks are a pair of lizards. When, as you must, you shoot their perch out from under them they get irate and run towards you.

You'd better have a pretty good idea where your missile launch button is, think twice and you're lizard meat. At the same time there's this bouncing ball you're supposed to be hitting at some bricks remember?

The graphics are tolerable - there isn't a lot you can do to make a brick look interesting. Though some of the bricks are bonuses and others are replaced by animated platforms the technique is still the same - watch the ball and get the bat behind it, use the angles carefully to maximise the destruction.

The awesome secret of the success of this game is only that it's fun. There is something in Breakout that always made it addictive, way beyond its simplicity would suggest, and with Ball Breaker CRL has given it enough of a new twist to ensure another burst of longevity.

Label: CRL
Author: Richard Taylor
Price: £7.95
Memory: 48K/128K
Joystick: various
Reviewer: Graham Taylor

A new twist on an old idea - Breakout in 3D. Looks so so but is utterly addictive. Nice one!

9/10

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PROGRAMMERS

RICHARD TAYLOR is 18 and has been programming for CRL since he was 13. He has produced a wide variety of programs from utilities to games.

SOFTOGRAPHY: Fifth (CRL, 1983), Zaraks (CL, 1983), Terrahawks (CRL, 1984).