Review by Psycho Penguin

"It's like a futuristic version of tennis!"

Over the years, I have managed to play a lot of video games. I have also found there to be certain patterns when it comes to the video game industry. One of these patterns is disappointment. A lot of games have disappointed me over the years, with the ''highlights'' of this syndrome being Legend of Dragoon and Zelda: Link's Awakening. Both of those games severely disappointed me to the point of no avail, because I expected a lot better from them then what I ended up getting.

However, on the other end of the spectrum, there are games that I did not really expect a lot out of, but ended up enjoying anyways. Games that seemed simplistic at the core, but turned out to be addictive, fun, and overall great. Games like Tetris, Columns, and Pac Man are the perfect example of these. Of course, they are both classic arcade games, so I figure I better mention another classic arcade game that is well known by a lot of people.

Arkanoid is a very classic Arcade game that is still fun to play, even to this day. It is one of the more unique games ever made, as it had a very simple premise to it that turned out to be very enjoyable. The bacis game play of the game is rather simple. You have this paddle on the bottom side of the screen, and the object of this paddle is to whack a little ball and hit these differently colored blocks that are on the top of the screen. You can collect capsules which give you certain power ups, and you can also have to avoid enemies which use powers such as electric charging and bubbles to move your ball all over the place.

Yes, it was a rather simple game to play, yet still a lot of fun. However, I did not play the original Arkanoid at the arcade until a few months ago. Yes, I did not get to play an all time classic until fairly recently, and I probably would have never done so had I not purchased a game at a Funcoland one day a few years back. That game? None other than Arkanoid: Doh it Again, for the Super Nintendo.

For those of you that have played Arkanoid or any of the other versions of it, this game is a lot like it. The game is also a lot like the classic game known as Breakout, only with the added additions of power pellets and enemies to avoid. The game is a lot of fun to play, and has an extreme amount of depth (100 stages!). Couple the depth of the game with the overall fun factor, and you have a great game that has a tiny little flaw.

That flaw? It just happens to be a little word known as innovation. This is one of the most uninnovative video games I have ever played, which you may have expected from this game, because at the core of this game, it's just another version of Arkanoid. Taito really did not add that much new to the game (from what I have played of the other versions of the game, I think it is a safe bet to say that this is a fairly uninnovative game), which did happen to disappoint me, because I was looking for a lot of innovation, and was disappointed that the game was not very innovative at all.

Otherwise, I am not going to lie to you and say this is a terrible game, because it is not. It is one of the more simple games I have ever played, but sometimes the most fun games tend to have a very simple game play structure. The two things that I should mention about the game play that I have not really touched on are the power ups and pellet collections.

The power ups in this game are fairly unique, and you actually get power ups by collecting pellets. To collect pellets, you have to remove a brick from the upper portion of the screen, and if you are lucky a power pellet will fall out of the brick you just destroyed. Each of the power ups have a different color, and each of these different colors represent a different power up. Pink pellets give you an extra life, for example. I should warn you that you can only have one special power at once (usually) so it would be wise of you to not collect every power up you can find. Strategy is a very important part of this section, that is for sure.

Finally, I will tell you real quick about the bosses and give you a quick rundown on them. The bosses in the game appear every 11 stages, so there are 9 total bosses in the game. Each one of them has the same basic pattern, but you still have to work hard to defeat them. I really liked how Taito included the boss theme in this game, as I felt the bosses in the game were well varied and very challenging.

I will now discuss the great graphics in the game. For those of you that have played the original Arkanoid (whether it be the Arcade or NES version), you will know how the basic setup of the game goes. On the top of the screen, you have different colored bricks, and on the bottom you have your paddle, and every once in a while the enemies pop out, and the enemies don't look that great but they look decent enough. That's all, right?

Well, not really, because I should mention the great backgrounds featured in the game. The backgrounds in the game vary significantly from stage to stage, as some of them are your basic colored screens, but others take the place of a certain theme, like space, for instance (with the comets, shooting stars, spaceships, etc.) I really did like the graphics in this game, as they were much better than I expected and definitely 16 bit Super Nintendo quality

Music in the game is limited due to the actual game play, but it is still rather effective nevertheless. Let me first talk about where the music is played. You do not get the whole music deal throughout the game, as the music only plays during the menu screens and in between the actual stages of the game. I really do like the music that plays in between the stages, I felt it was really good. There is a boss theme in the game that actually plays while you are facing him, and it is a great theme that is dark and mysterious and really sets the tone of the stage perfectly.

Sound effects in the game are pretty basic and rather annoying, as they are all you hear during the actual game play and stages. All you really hear is the paddle bouncing the ball, the ball bouncing off the bricks, the bricks annoying sounds when the ball is hitting them, the enemies moving around, and you dying. Those are pretty much all the sound effects, and they do tend to get annoying after a while. They are still pretty good, however.

You will want to replay this game for a while, even though it is not the most complex game ever. As I mentioned earlier, some of the most classic and fun video games of all time have had pretty basic and simple game play, and this game is certainly not the exception to the rule. The game is very addictive and you will want to play it for a while like I did, because it is a very fun game. The fact that there are 100 stages (password protected, however, so you do not have to complete the game at one time) increases the great replay value even more.

This is not that challenging of a game, but it does get the job done, as I did have some problems with some of the stages of the game, particuarly the ones in the middle portion of the game, as the patterns of the bricks made for some rather odd game play situations. For instance, the whole ''here are two golden bricks, and in between one is a white brick'' got frustrating, but after a while you do get used to it. Bosses are challenging but can be beaten.

Overall, this is one of the more classic video games I have ever played, and it is definitely more than another simple Super Nintendo update to a classic Arcade/NES game. It is a lot of fun to play, has great graphics, killer music, and sound effects that tended to get annoying but were still okay to listen to anyways. About the only major problem I could actually find with the game was the fact that it was rather uninnovative, which is always a disappointment to me because I like innovative games. Still, this is a great game that is well worth a purchase, even if it is basically Arkanoid with a face paint.

Good Points
-Great and colorful graphics.
-The music that plays in between stages is awesome.
-The boss theme in the game is awesome.
-Simple and addictive game play.

Bad Points
-There is a little bit of slowdown present.
-Hardly any innovation to speak of.
-100 stages, this will take a while to beat.
-May be too simple for some to handle.

Ratings Rundown
Storyline - Not Available
Graphics - 7.3/10
Music and Sound Effects - 8.4/10
Gameplay and Control - 9.2/10
Replay Value - A little above average
Challenge - A little above average
Overall - 9.1/10
Last Line: This game is well worth a purchase, don't just expect anything radically new.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 08/20/00, Updated 07/16/01

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