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

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.