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Arkanoid MX

Arkanoid

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Arkanoid is an arcade game developed by Taito in 1986. It is based upon Atari's Breakout games of the 1970s. The title refers to a doomed "mothership" from which the Vaus escapes.

Game Play

The player controls the "Vaus", a space vessel that acts as the game's "paddle" which prevents a ball from falling from the playing field, attempting to bounce it against a number of bricks. The ball striking a brick causes the brick to disappear. When all the bricks are gone, the player goes to the next level, where another pattern of bricks appear. There are a number of variations (bricks that have to be hit multiple times, flying enemy ships, etc.) and power-up capsules to enhance the Vaus (expand your Vaus, multiply the number of balls, equip a laser cannon, break directly to the next level, etc), but the gameplay remains the same.

At round 33, the final stage, the player will take on the game's boss, "DOH". Once a player reaches round 33, he must defeat DOH with his remaining extra lives because there are no continues on the final round.

Legacy

Because of the game's popularity, four versions of the game were developed for the coin-op market: Arkanoid, Tournament Arkanoid and Revenge of Doh (Arkanoid II) both in 1987 and Arkanoid Returns in 1997.

Many of the 8-bit computer ports (ZX Spectrum, Amstrad CPC 464, Commodore 64, BBC Micro, MSX, Atari 8-bit, Apple II) were very popular in Europe in the 1980s. A console port on the NES was also popular, and the game was also ported for 16-bit computers Amiga, Atari ST, Apple IIGS and IBM PC. A port was released for the TRS-80 Color Computer in 1989. A Super NES version called Arkanoid: Doh It Again was released in 1997. Arkanoid Returns and a sequel, Arkanoid Returns 2000, were released in Japan for the PlayStation. 16-bit versions had identical graphics as the arcade game. Commodore 64 conversion of Arkanoid is known as the first game for the system to feature music that used digitized samples (composed by Martin Galway). Computer conversions were published by Imagine. A version for the Nintendo DS handheld, titled Arkanoid DS, was released in Japan, with a North American release coming on August 1, 2008.

The controls used by various conversions differ from machine to machine, and some conversions allow for multiple control methods. The two basic control methods are digital and analog. Digital controls (many joysticks and control pads, and keyboards) are considered less desirable than analog controls (most mice, trackballs, and paddles); while digital controls limit the player to single-speed control, analog controls allow the player to move the Vaus at nearly any desired speed across the screen. The NES version of Arkanoid was originally packaged with what's considered one of the rarest of all NES controllers, the Vaus Controller: a small gray controller featuring one button, a small spinner (with limited turn radius), an adjustment port, and the Taito logo. While the game may be played with the standard digital NES control pad, optimum gameplay is achieved with the Vaus Controller. Latter-day MAME arcade cabinet developers have created customized spinner controls to further simulate the arcade experience, although the Arkanoid controller had quirks which have made it difficult to achieve 100% reproduction. The Japanese DS version features an optional paddle controller that connects in the Game Boy Advance slot, but the paddle controller is not being released in America.

Arkanoid has remained a popular game and is commonly cloned by aspiring game developers in freeware and shareware titles. Many companies have also regularly cloned the game in video arcades. Arkanoid's popularity led to it being featured in Rainbow Islands, which has a whole level (4 stages in all) dedicated to the game, including Doh as the level boss. Also, in some areas of Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island and its Game Boy Advance remake Super Mario Advance 3: Yoshi's Island, there are blocks inspired by Arkanoid which you must break through. However, Arkanoid and its sequels have not appeared on any of the recent Taito Memories or Taito Legends compilations – it has been claimed that this was due to legal action from Atari.

Reception

The Amiga version was reviewed in Computer Gaming World and praised as a perfect version of the arcade game. The review praised the computer versions for playability and features missing from other arcade-style games of the time, such as the ability to continue after all lives are lost.[1]

Plot

The plot of the game is remarkably simple. There are only two messages in the entire game that tell you anything about what you are doing. The first one, at the beginning of the game, says this:

THE ERA AND TIME OF
THIS STORY IS UNKNOWN.

AFTER THE MOTHERSHIP
"ARKANOID" WAS DESTROYED,
A SPACECRAFT "VAUS"
SCRAMBLED AWAY FROM IT.

BUT ONLY TO BE
TRAPPED IN SPACE WARPED
BY SOMEONE........

The other message is at the end of the game, after destroying the "dimension-controlling fort" that looks like a red wire-frame Moai.

DIMENSION-CONTROLLING FORT
"DOH" HAS NOW BEEN
DEMOLISHED, AND TIME
STARTED FLOWING REVERSELY.

"VAUS" MANAGED TO ESCAPE
FROM THE DISTORTED SPACE.

BUT THE REAL VOYAGE OF
"ARKANOID" IN THE GALAXY
HAS ONLY STARTED......

Series

  1. Arkanoid (1986)
  2. Arkanoid: Revenge of Doh (1987)
  3. Arkanoid: Doh it Again (1997, Nintendo Super NES)
  4. Arkanoid Returns (1997)
  5. Arkanoid DS (2007)

References

  1. Wagner, Roy (Feb 1988), “Warped in Space! "Breakout" of a Space Trap with Arkanoid!”, Computer Gaming World: 31