reviews\ Nov 15, 2000 at 7:00 pm

Breakout - PC - Review

Breaking out has never been this much fun before! For those of us who remember the original Breakout, trust me when I say that this version of Breakout by Hasbro blows the other one away. Breakout will take you through castle walls, pyramids and even barnyards all in beautiful Technicolor 3D! Once you start the game, you know you are in for hours and hours of challenge and fun.

You are first introduced to our green lined hero named Bouncer and friends. While minding their own business, Bouncer hears a cry for help! Someone is drowning and it is Bouncer to the rescue. Bouncer dives in and saves the day, but when he returns to the island, horror of horrors, his friends have disappeared and his archenemy Batnix is holding his best girl hostage. The next scene shows Batnix dragging Daisy to prison and the game of rescue is on!

You begin the game with a sample-training course, taught by Coach Steele. He will give you tips and you'll practice your moves, which you will need to complete the rescue. He is vocal in his help and you can practice for as long as you want until you feel confident enough to tackle the real challenge. He will rank you on your performance and at the end of the training, he will either recommend you go on with the mission or stay for awhile and practice a little longer. Batnix has left behind a partially complete map showing where Bouncer's friends are being held prisoner. Each play is divided into chapters and you must completely finish one before going on to the next. To help you with your mission, you can view Game Stats. This gives you ratings on how well you are doing and also lets you in on how well your enemy Batnix views you. In addition, Chapter Stats, which will show you your average ranking for the chapter completed.

The first thing you encounter is a hallway. At the end of the hallway is your first wall to be broken down. Bouncing a ball against it and destroying brick by brick can conquer the wall. Once you have broken down this first wall, you come into a room of crates. How do you conquer this challenge? First you have to get the crates out of the way by smashing them and then knocking a hole in the fence behind. Here you are introduced for the first time to some helpmates. These are in the form of cubes, which roll toward you. Be sure and catch as many as you can as each one helps you power-up, giving you extra strength and lives.

Coach Steele will pop up after you finish each level and give you your current rating on how you performed -- almost a pep talk. If you find yourself stumped on any level, never fear as you can return to Coach Steel's training tips at any time. After you have completed all levels, you can now return to the prison map where you will find new chapters to conquer, bringing you closer to your friends and Daisy. To complete the game, you must rescue your friends, save Daisy and foil Batnix. Although you have finished the game and saved the day, Coach Steel will appear one final time to grade your performance and believe me, he is a critical judge to say the least.

Installation: Easy - Includes installing one CD. You must have the CD in the drive to play.

Gameplay: 8.0 - Each level has its own twists and turns making the gameplay challenging and unique each time. Fast moving and you really do feel an accomplishment when leaving each chapter.

Graphics: 9.0 - Graphics are bold in color, and the 3D gives the mazes and game itself more of a feeling of being involved instead of just playing the game.

Sound: 9.0 - The game is very interactive and I like the storytelling portion. The narrative lends a great deal to the game.

Difficulty: 8.5 - Difficult is challenging enough, but not so challenging that you have to focus so much you lose the fun portion.

Concept: 9.0 - The concept is one of good versus evil and you have to plan your strategy to win. The training part of the game really helps with not only winning, but also giving you a team feeling. Although it was derived from a previous version, this version is completely different in what the goal is and it is unique in itself.

Multiplayer - This game can be played alone or with up to four players at a time

Overall: 9.0


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