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Arkanoid is an interesting late 1980s game that combines the gameplay of earlier video game classics Space Invaders and Pong. You control a small bat at the bottom of the screen, and the aim of the game is to bounce your ball at the tiles above, thus destroying them, without allowing your ball to fall into the empty space below your bat. You can also collect power-ups with your ball, giving you extra advantages such as a larger bat, a laser cannon, multiple balls, and a 'sticky-ball' that repeatedly adheres to your bat allowing you to manoeuvre into a desired position before firing your ball off again. You encounter moving enemies too, in the form of little spaceships and weird face masks, which appear behind the topmost row of blocks from time to time and provide extra points when destroyed. Unsuprisingly for a game that borrows so heavily from two pure arcade classics, Arkanoid is incredibly simple and very addictive, and its bright and colourful graphics and the satisfying bleeps and crashes that act as sound effects make the experience even more rewarding. The game has 33 levels and becomes increasingly difficult, though the difficulty curve is enough to offer a solid challenge without becoming so hard as to be frustrating. Given that Arkanoid relies on engaging, simple gameplay rather than flashy graphics, movie licences or novelty concepts, it remains as much fun today as ever and is great for a quick nostalgic play now and then.
Arkanoid was the king of the bat and ball games on the Amiga easily out-classing other 'classics' such as Breakout with its array of extra options, power ups and funky alien nuisances. For those who do not know, sometime around the birth of computer games, the genre of the 'bat and ball' style of game was invented. This involved the simple 'batting' of a 'ball' against 'bricks' in order to knock them out of the way and break through to the other side, or eliminate all of them in order to progress. The idea was simple, the controls easy and the games should have been incredibly dull - they weren't. games like Arkanoid and its granddaddy Breakout were extremely addictive despite their simplicity and many hours were wasted trying to progress further than the last time by testing your reflexes to an undesirable limit. More RSI was caused amongst 70s and early 80s teenage boys through games like this than through ******** (insert own joke here). What made Arkanoid a cut above the rest was its superb array of extra features such as a power-up to increase the number of balls from one to three(try juggling all these at once) and the ultra-effective cannon attachment which could be accessed by sheer luck of the draw when hitting a special brick in the wall. Couple this with the aliens which would float around the top of the screen behind the protective wall of bricks until you broke through and they were released to cause havoc by getting in the way of you ball and causing all sort of undesirebale riccochets and you had a superbly addictive game. Ok, so its not exactly pant-wettingly exciting these days but back then it was extremely inventive. The graphics were incredibly simple and the sound basic 'ball on brick' beeping but back then gameplay was what mattered with graphics being a secondary consideration. Arkanoid had the latter in bucketloads which is what makes it one of the all time class ic games despite its simplicity. Whilst the original Arkanoid game may not be available anymore(as far as I know) there are plenty of clones in the vein of both itself and breakout which can be found on the shareware market or even freeware so that you can savour some of the idea of what its about. Check out some of the usual haunts for such games and find out exactly what I mean about addictiveness.