US Gold Ltd
1986
Arcade: Shoot-em-up
£8.99
English
ZX Spectrum 48K
Alkatraz Protection System

175
Chris Bourne

Breakthru is US GOLD's latest arcade conversion involving a mad dash through five different landscapes in a supermobile in order to safeguard world peace.

URGENT ALERT! Your country's super fighter, code named PK 430, has been stolen by the 'other side ' for their own dastardly purposes. Naturally your government wants it back, so you have been chosen from many hopefuls to go and get it. The reason you've been selected is because you're the best, so you'd better get on and prove it.

To help you in your mission you've been equipped with "the world's most sophisticated armed vehicle" . Not only can it travel at great speeds, but can also make huge leaps into the air, which is very handy for avoiding any of the many perils in your path.

The objective of the game is to drive 400 miles behind enemy lines to a secret airstrip, and once there retrieve the super fighter. The opposition aren't going to give it up that easily however and they're out in force to stop you. You must negotiate your way through them and blast anything dangerous along the way.

There are five different levels, and each one must be completed before the player can progress to the next. Each of the levels hosts a different array of baddies who must either be blasted or avoided in order to survive. Level one takes place on a mountain road. You have to manoeuvre your vehicle around deadly mine- fields, and groups of soldiers who will try to destroy you with their mortar fire. Added hazards in this section are landfalls, here's where your car's leaping abilities come into their own.

After the Mountains there's the bridge which connects the mountain ranges to the prairie. Unfortunately this bridge has suffered considerably during the combat and large sections have been blown apart. Once again these must be jumped over to avoid destruction. Missiles and armoured fighting vehicles are out in force on the bridge and will rip your craft apart unless you destroy them first.

A desolate prairie is the setting for the third level. Once again the level of defences which you encounter are more difficult and there are also stretches of water which must be crossed somehow! Once through the prairie it's onto the City.

If you manage to complete all these four levels, then it's on to the final stage where your super fighter is being held. Predictably enough this takes place on an airfield, and the opposition are really out to stop you going any further. As well as all their previous tricks, there is also the odd flame thrower to contend with - just in case you get too cocky.

The screen scrolls from left to right. The car can be manoeuvred upwards and downwards, and it can be speeded up if necessary. You have five lives in the game and one of these is lost every time your craft hits (or gets hit by) any of the opposition. Conversely, points are scored for any of the other side who are blasted by you.

CRITICISM

'Oh dear! What have US Gold done here? Breakthru is an awful game with some awful bugs. I haven't seen the arcade version but this seems to be a very simple Moon Alert type game, with a scrolling landscape and a quite a few obstacles to either avoid or blow up. The keyboard play is very unresponsive and lacks any playable feel. The graphics, however, are very well drawn and feature lots of colour and detailed objects. The sound is poor as there are only a very few spot effects. I can't see many people enjoying this.'

'Yucky-poo! I didn't really expect anything from Breakthru as original machine was a bit limp, but as always US GOLD gave me less than I expected. The graphics are overall quite messy: the characters are badly drawn and the screen scrolls in characters. The sound is also well below average, there are no tunes and the effects are minimal. On the whole I can't recommend this game at all as there is nothing in it that appeals to me in the slightest.'

'I'm not too keen on this one, it isn't playable or addictive and the keyboard configuration isn't at all stilted to my tastes, which is unfortunate when considered that most US GOLD games that don't need redefinable keys have them, and vice versa. Graphically, Breakthru is fair, but the colourful scenery is let down by the very poor scrolling and terrible sprites. Though 1 haven't seen or played the arcade version, I'm convinced that it has to be a lot better than this.'

COMMENTS
Control keys: Z=left, X-right, R-up, D-down, 5-fire, SPACE-jump
Joystick: Kempston, Protek, Interface II
Keyboard play: quite tricky, but no easier than using a joystick
Use of colour quite colourful
Graphics: rather naff sprites
Sound: jolly little tune before the game starts
Skill levels: five
Screens: scrolling play area
General Rating: A poor arcade game.

48%
51%
40%
48%
38%
38%
43%

Screenshot Text

The super car clears a rock fall but watch out for the snipers on the other side.

Another baddie bites the bullet as super car hurtles on his way.