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

30,31
Bym Welthy, Ben Stone, Paul Sumner
Chris Bourne

Into a 3-D screen drops a ball. You control a bat that can be moved along one edge of the screen to prevent the sphere dropping into the black void which lies behind your bat. Should the ball pass you, then one of your four lives is lost.

If you use the bat to deflect the ball onto the barrier of blocks that faces you, most of the blocks can be destroyed, sending the ball rebounding toward your bat. Those blocks that do not submit to the sphere ' s deadly touch can be destroyed by one of the missiles that you carry - you start the game with ten. Points are awarded for every block destroyed.

If the ball passes through a gap in the wall, falling blocks can temporarily halt its return. But the sphere continues to make destructive contact with the rear of the wall till it has opened a passage back to your side of the wall, where once again you must move fast to hit it.

Different blocks have different properties. Some are destroyed from the front; others can only be destroyed from the rear; some offer extra lives or missiles, others change the size of your bat or allow you to exit to the next screen. On higher levels, the destruction of certain bricks activates aliens who can easily remove one of your bat's lives with their lethal touch.

CRITICISM

'Ballbreaker is definitely the best version of Breakout on the market. But is a brilliant rebirth of an age-old concept worth £7.95? I think not. Despite graphics of the highest quality, squash versus computer doesn't stand up against blasting aliens out of the sky: and the sudden appearance of hopping kangaroos and whizzing spikes is a feeble attempt to liven up this game.' BYM ... 60%

'Ballbreaker is based on a brilliant idea - 3-D Breakout. What could be better? Play is difficult, to say the least: the ball is dropped into play, it shoots off toward the edge of the screen and if you're not quick you'll lose your first life. The speed of the ball varies, depending on the number of things moving onscreen and on whether you've collected a speed-up block, and this can be disconcerting. But after a few hours of play Ballbreaker will grab you - honest.' BEN ... 70%

'You can go only so far with a concept before the additions take over the original idea, and this Is the main problem with Ballbreaker. Working out the 3-D and collision-detection takes the computer so long that the game's playablilty suffers unbelievably. It's vital with Breakout-type games that the speed is kept constant and the rebound angle realistic- Ballbreaker fails on both these counts and this bad design is infuriating. I have nothing against the 3-D idea - it's surprisingly attractive - but changes should be improvements.' PAUL ... 62%

COMMENTS
Joysticks: Cursor, Kempston, Sinclair
Graphics: mainly monochromatic with decorative display panel
Sound: good 128 tune and spot FX
Options: definable keys
General Rating: A playable and new twist on an ageing theme.

79%
77%
59%
61%
64%

Screenshot Text

Ballbreaker - 3-D Breakout!

Slow and unplayable, or the best of its genre?