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Breakout 2000 by Atari and MP Games. Published by Telegames
Breakout 2000.....a game that's been due out for 'ahem'....too long. The third in the series of 2000 games, B2K doesn't disappoint. T2K and D2K were fairly similar, with their distinctive styles. B2K may not be as good as they are, but it's definitely a 2K game with a new flavor.
You're greeted to a polished title screen and a dull and repetitive tune. From the menu screen, you'll have great control over the way the game will be played. You can choose from Breakout Classic and Breakout 2000. In 2K, you can choose from three difficulty settings and three paddle speeds. You can choose to play solo, or against the computer ( that I might add, has superb artificial intelligence) or human opponent.
As in the other 2K's, you can take a dose of nostalgia by going back and playing the original version of the game. In B2K, they didn't do a good job on the classic mode. There are only two levels.....but, I can't say that I'd want more. I'd rather that they put the effort on the NEW version, and let the diehards of old pick up an older Atari system and jam to the classic.
B2K's object is simple, destroy the bricks on the playfield. It's not as easy as it seems though. Especially with new stuff thrown into the mix.
B2K's gameplay is anything but predictable. The levels designs are very well planned to give you a run for your balls. There are robots that can help or hurt you. Some shoot down much-needed power-ups. Others try to make a mess up your paddle. There are bricks that take multiple hits to destroy, and some that are unbreakable. Ball speed, angle, and rotation are very important. If your gonna get anywhere, you've got to get good at aiming the ball by judging the angles.
In two-player modes, you'll be faced with even more obstacles. If you clear out a section of your bricks, your ball will hit a ramp at the back of the playfield and hit the opponent's bricks. Unfortunately, you may be handling two balls at one time. If you miss your ball, you lose a ball. If you miss the opponents ball, you lose 1,000 points (a hefty chunk). Watch your balls closely.
To keep the game from being repetitive, they were smart, and through in some great new stuff. Complete 5 levels, and you'll be treated to an intermission of either a 3D pong round, or a target round. 3D pong is awesome! I had never thought about a 3D pong, but here it is, and it's intense. You'll face your friend or a computer foe. With every hit, the balls moves faster....and keeping track of two balls moving at blinding speeds isn't easy. The target round is a test of you lightning shooting skills. You're equipped with lightning, and you'll be awarded points for destroying the target bricks in the least amount of shots. Very cool bonuses indeed.
The mechanics of the ball are excellent. Angles and stuff are precise and very realistic. Scaling of the ball is also great....almost flawless. The ball floats above the ground and has an appropriate shadow. It looks very shiny, and spins in different directions. When your hit the ball left and right, it'll spin respectively.
The robots that you'll be faced with are animated very well. They look almost like SGI with the exception of some rough edges. They move around well, and they scale smooth too. They'll throw down some nifty power-ups, or some sucky power-downs. Get the breakthrough ball to sweep the levels clean. Bag a bigger paddle or an extra ball. Paddle boosters like lightning charges and ball attract. Beware, there is an opposite to every power-up.
The graphic package is nice, but it's not going to blow you away. In the game, there are different space-like backdrops which are nice and colorful. There is a molasses-speed starfield in the back as well....very choppy, but your mind will definitely be on other things. The bricks that make up the levels are fairly basic, but look shiny non-the-less.....the 3D look that is created is mighty cool. Your paddle is transparent...and that a nice plus. It also recoils when you hit the ball. The sight of your ball traveling up and down the ramp is outstanding. When the bricks become multi-stacked, that's when you'll realize that this really looks awesome.
The music and FX bundle is also done well. The Sfx are basic stuff. Some seem to be pulled right off of the 2600 or something (not sure on that). Other Sfx have a newer and cooler sound, fortunately. There's not much to complain about....some of the effects are very nice, and others are average.
On the music side, what we have heard in the other 2K's, isn't matched here. It doesn't seem that they fine-tuned the music the way that Imagitec did. Although, the music does a great job of suiting the game. It's always upbeat, and offers a lot of variety in the ways of beats and rhythms. You'll get a new track each five levels. Some of the tunes are remixes of others with new fill ins, and beats....but they are varied enough, that you won't mind at all. I find myself tapping my toes to these tunes....I really enjoy 'em.
The control is dead on.....With speed configurations, you should be able to play the way you want to. There's not much more to say....it's perfect in this category.
If you've seen a screenshot, or watched a Quicktime of this game, and weren't impressed, believe me....it has to be PLAYED to be believed. The action is intense, and that makes for great fun-factor. Multi-player options are also very cool and add much to the replay value. Great game for any library.