reviews\ Jan 20, 2002 at 7:00 pm

Ricochet Xtreme - PN - Review

Something old is new again.

Remember that old arcade game Breakout? Well, here is a new twist, updated, looking sharp and with all the addictive game play that made that old classic a solid hit.

Reflexive Entertainment Inc. has reconstructed the old game, flourished on new graphical elements and relaunched it for the PC. The end result is an addictive game that will furnish challenge and eye candy for the arcade lover.

This game portends to have a storyline – as if one was necessary. But for the sake of the game, here it is: Interstellar minefields need clearing, so scientists created the RS42, a ship to do the job. It launches an ion sphere, which pilots can use to clear the debris. As the back-story states, this game is the precursor to pilots actually partaking of the adventure.

Though the notion is a nice one, forget all that, and simply sit back and enjoy arcade gaming at one of its best reincarnations.

This is the actual layout of the game: your ship runs along the bottom of the monitor and serves as a bumper for the sphere it launches. The object is to destroy all the ‘removable’ objects on the screen. You will use the sides and top of the monitor screen to angle your ion sphere to get the best shots at the objects.

For the uninitiated, this game is a combination of a one-sided game of Pong and pinball games.

Is it entertaining? Yes. Is it compelling? Yes.

This game is replete with eye candy, which serves as a backdrop to the game. There are four scenarios – an outer space setting, with asteroids floating past, an underwater setting, a stylized backdrop featuring a grayish brickyard, and a computer board background. Each format features its own set of bricks, and its own challenges.

The ion sphere you launch can also take on new aspects. It can become quite smaller; become a fireball, or the dominating rail ball – which will walk through anything encountered. To be sure, there are hazards, which can launch themselves at the host ship. You can also collect extra balls to extend your game play.

Controls are very simple, though there are several options as a controller. You can use a game pad (not recommended), the keyboard, or a mouse (recommended). You controls are mostly vertical, though the mouse buttons will enable you to access (right button) the options menu, or to collect the ball with the electric ball catch, or fire missiles, should you collect that power-up.

Certain bricks contain a variety of power-up devices, which can add your quest. Some contain bombs, which will launch at your ship.

The sound is secondary to the game itself. Though there is a variety of music for each level, the actual sound effects are only average.

The eye candy for this game is quite nice. The various balls can leave trails and shadows as they course through the various layouts. The various levels are presented with a three-dimensional look that works quite well.

There are four difficulty levels with 170 settings per level. You do record a score, just like an arcade game.

This is a game that will appeal to just about everyone. It does contain arcade action, but has solid challenges and terrific graphical elements. It is quite easy to get wrapped up in this game.

Reflexive has chosen to sell this product exclusively online, so if you are interested in this title, don’t look for it on your store shelves.

This program is rated for everyone.

Install: Easy
This game goes on the hard drive quite quickly, and once installed, you will not need a CD to run the program.

Game play: 8
The levels flow past, and though there is a stylized interface, which lays the bricks, a left mouse click will simply pop up the new layout without delay.

Graphics: 7.9
For a transformed game, this game features wonderful graphics. There are four basic backdrops, which really have little to do with the game play other that to serve as a distraction. There are nice trails, and some wonderful special effects, including explosions.

Sound: 7
Firecrackers, simulated gunfire or echoing explosions are only average. The music can get monotonous, but is well done. Overall, the sound elements are average.

Difficulty: 7.5
There are four difficulty levels, from easy to insane – each guaranteed to challenge players. The controls are kept simple to enable just about anyone to play.

Concept: 7.8
Taking an arcade classic and updating it proves a very worthwhile effort.

Multiplayer: N/A
This is an arcade game, where players can vie for the highest score. The game can also be paused or suspended, so you don’t have to spend all day (unless you want to) keeping a high score going.

Overall: 7.9
With rich graphics, simplistic game play, and challenging levels, this game is a wonderful update to an old classic. Be forewarned, it is very easy to get lost in this game, and to spend far too much time playing it.


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