ONLY the Japanese could take what is essentially a game of Breakout and add a plot. Apparently you were cruising along in the spaceship Arkanoid when the ship was destroyed.
You scrambled to safety but were captured in space by someone. Of course it isn't that simple. The time and era of the story are unknown.
Someone ought to point out to the authors that time and era are the same thing. They should also point out that it is impossible from the mother ship after it has been destroyed because firstly you would be destroyed with it and secondly it is paradoxical to leave something which doesn't exist anymore.
OK, I pretend to hear you say, but what about the game?
Arkanoid thinks it is an arcade machine. It isn't very far wrong. The conversion is by Discovery Software, infamous for the Marauder bit copier.
If it wasn't for the Discovery logo showing off with copper lists it could be passed off as a Taito product. The arcade identity extends to an insert coin (what, in the disc drive?), message and a number of credits. In ye olde arcade tradition one or two (alternate) players can be accommodated
The coin guzzler obviously had a load of spare memory left when the program was complete. This is used to display the spaceship Arkanoid. True to form, the game includes the scene, but when you have played the game a few times it starts to grate.
In a slight deviation from the arcade original you can select any of the first 20 levels from which to start. That's great since level three can be a real pig.
The graphics are superb. The backgrounds and the shadows look identical to those on the Taito machine, the sounds are identical. But when all is said and done, Arkanoid is a Breakout clone and Atari (boo, hiss), have taken Taito to court over this.
You bounce a ball off a bat, which in a desperate attempt to hold the pilot together is the Vaus spaceship you escaped in. The ball hits bricks which disappear. Destroy all the bricks to finish the sheet.
In an attempt to persuade the coin-
Ordinary bricks can contain bonus cylinders which roll down the screen and offer extra facilities for the player. These include a twin barrelled laser, a sleeping tablet which slows the ball down, a catch pod which will let you hold the ball to aim it at a brick, and an expander which gives you a fat bat.
Then there is a disruptor which gives you three balls with which to juggle and do a lot more damage, a bonus which sucks you through a hole on to the next screen and an extra life.
You can have as many extra lives as you like, but only the first five will be displayed. A minor problem is that the laser looks as though it fires two shots, but if one hits a block they both stop.
Having battled, bounced and shot your way through 32 sheets you are confronted by Doh, a large head which spits sheets of metal at you.
You retaliate by bouncing the ball back. Each time the ball hits the head weakens. But if you get hit by the metal or miss the ball the head returns to full strength.
Eventually the head flashes, turns blue and fades to black. You have won.
The game returns to the picture of the stationary spaceship and prints out the message "Dimension controlling fort DOH has now been destroyed and time started flowing reversely. Vaus managed to escape from distorted space but the real voyage of Arkanoid in the galaxy has only started..."
When all is said and done this is still Breakout, but that does not detract from it being a very playable game.