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by Robert Jung
Nice to see someone supporting the Jaguar, at least.
- BREAKOUT 2000
- 1-2 Players
- Atari Corp./Telegames, for the Atari Jaguar $59.95
- While Atari Corp. is now -- for all intents and purposes -- dead with
regards to Jaguar game development and support, all is not lost. Leading
an underground effort to publish near-finished titles, Telegames has released
BREAKOUT 2000 for the console. As with other games in the Jaguar's "2000"
series, this game is a '90s update to the original bounce-a-ball-and-break-
the-walls game. Played from a three-quarters overhead view, the game features
power-up icons, invading enemies, three-dimensional layouts, and two-player
simultaneous play. Settings allow the game's difficulty to be tweaked,
and for the retro-gamers in the audience, the original BREAKOUT is also
GAMEPLAY --- 7
- Confession time here: I *loved* the original BREAKOUT. I don't mean
merely that I enjoyed it, I'm talking major-league addiction, the kind
where you'd rather play the game than eat, sleep or (in my case) do schoolwork
for. I finally shook the habit, but the fondness for BREAKOUT's simplicity
and speed never fades completely. Understandably, then, when I first heard
about BREAKOUT 2000, I had very high hopes in recreating the thrills of
those early days of video gaming.
- But if BREAKOUT was a feast, then BREAKOUT 2000 is merely an appetizer
during the meal. It's not that it's a bad game; rather, it's a slower-paced
version of the original. The various gimmicks don't add any major depths
to the title, and some of the power-up capsules feel like gratuitous "mirror
images" used to pad out the game. The action can get fairly hectic
at times, but overall the cartridge's tone is fairly mellow, lulling the
player into an easy rhythm. But while a relaxing game is good for some
folks, players who are seeking slam-bang excitement won't find much of
- The most interesting aspect of BREAKOUT 2000 is its head-to-head competitive
mode, against either a second human or a computer-controlled drone. Here,
in addition to breaking down his own wall, each player can also send his
shot over to the opponent's court, and knock down his bricks for extra
points. But while this proves fairly entertaining, it's still a bit dull
in some spots, especially when an aggressive player sends his ball ricocheting
around his opponent's side, only to twiddle his thumbs while waiting for
a ball to return so he can hit it again. It's fun for a while, but not
enough to launch the game into "classic" status.
- Addressing other aspects of the game: The controls are passable, if
a tad disappointing -- the joypad is a merely-adequate replacement for
the original game's rotary dials, as it's a little hard to hit the ball
precisely; the three-quarters view and constant paddle speed makes judging
angles and returning shots somewhat difficult. Finally, the "Classic
BREAKOUT" mode is a workable substitute, but devoted fans of the original
will be better off dusting off the Atari 2600 hiding in their closets.
GRAPHICS ---7.5 / SOUND --- 7
- The graphics and sound on BREAKOUT 2000 are nice, if a tad uninspiring,
and leave room for minor improvements. Visuals consist of brightly-colored
bricks and objects, constrasting with a variety of darker "sci-fi"
chambers. The few animated elements, such as flying spaceships and probe-dropping
robots, are merely passible, with some slightly choppy animation.
- The sounds are about the same. In-game music consists of a variety
of soft rock/psuedo-techno backbeats. Though there isn't anything especially
attentive here, they fit the game well, accompanying the action without
intruding upon it. Sound effects are dull, however; aside from an occassional
white-noise explosion or hiss, the majority of the game sounds are the
primitive beeps and boops that play each time the ball hits a brick. As
a whole, it's slightly disappointing.
- For players who want seat-of-the-pants excitement and nonstop action,
BREAKOUT 2000 is not for them. Rather, this title is best suited for those
who are looking for a game to relax with, an oasis of calm amid the seas
of fighting, racing, and shooting titles. While graphics and sound are
nothing to get excited over, they aren't bad, and the two-player mode will
prove entertaining for a while, at least.
- 10 - 8 Great! This game can't get much better.
- 7 - 5 Good. Average game, could be improved.
- 4 - 2 Poor. For devotees only.
- 1 Ick. Shoot it.
Hi ho, hi ho, it's to the airport I go...
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