Oh dear, here we go again with yet another Breakout variant. Well, not exactly. This one's a little different.
It has all the usual features of the Breakout games. The bat, the ball and the wall of bricks. Let the ball get behind the bricks and you lose a life. All pretty basic stuff, so what's new?
For a start, there's normally more than one bat on screen. That's been done before, you say. The bats can be on different walls and even floating in mid air. Seen it before, you say. You can have simultaneous two player action. Yawn. But have you seen all of those features on one common game? All this and a screen editor. Wow!
The aim behind TRAZ is to destroy all the blocks on a screen and then escape through one of the exits into an adjacent screen. To destroy the bricks, you have to bounce a ball off your bat into them, or use one of the pods that fly around, giving you special powers when caught.
The 64 screens are arranged in a maze of eight by eight screens. You have to try to find your way out, whcih isnt veryt easyt, when you consider you have to clear the screens before you can even try.
It's the large amount of things going on at once on a screen that makes TRAZ a lot harder than most other Breakout clones., For example, having four bats under your control at once, one on each wall, as well as having lots of roaming monsters and funny little tiles that change the ball's path make some screens almost completely unplayable.
The graphics on the whole are great, even better than the megafab Arkanoid 2 and Batty screens. The backgrounds are shaded and colourful, but there's none of the old problem of not being able to make out the ball. The bricks are colourful and shaded, and of course, clash free.
The screens are well laid out and most are amazingly taxing. Designs like the original Ace 2 advertisement and a flag appear in places and due to most of the screens irregular shapes, there's not much chance of getting a lucky ball trapped in the back, bouncing around, knocking out huge amounts of bricks and knocking up some mental scores.
The screen designer is easy to use. Simply a matter of choosing a type of tile and laying down as many as possible. All your designs can be saved out and loaded back in to be continued later. The only thing I didn't like about the designer was the way you have to design all 64 screens and the map, as opposed to just one screen.
TRAZ isn't anything new to the world of Spectrum games. That said, it is a little bit different, and worth a look if you're a fan of the genre or are just after a bit of a challenge.
Reviewer: Tony Dillon
A fresh twist on the old Breakout theme, a little too confusing to be playable.