Developer: Taito (1986)
Discover Software International (Amiga 1987)
Genre: Break out game for 1/2 Players
This week I decided to take a closer look at one of my favourite arcade games Arkanoid. Although I’ve noticed something of a recurring theme with this whole writing gig, the more I research into something, the more I write, and the more I write the more interested I become in the subject. This post really did start off as a few hours playing Arkanoid and Revenge of Do’h. However I began to learn new things about the games origins, ports and developers throughout its long history, and of its many incarnations, which, luckily for you, I don’t drivel on about here.
Arkanoid was originally developed by Akira Fujita and copyrighted by Taito Corporation, a Japanese developer of video game software and arcade hardware. It was established by a businessman named Michael Kogan in 1953. Taito imports Japanese and American coin-op video games all around the world. In 2005 Taito was acquired by Square Enix but still trades under the Taito name. Taito Corporation currently has divisions in Seoul, South Korea and Milan, Italy, and a subsidiary in Beijing, China. In the past, the company had operated divisions in North America and Brazil.
Taito are famous for coin-op classics such as; Space Invaders and Moon Lander, and some great games I’ve also played on other systems such as Bubble Bobble, Chase HQ, and New Zealand Story. For more info visit Taito’s Website or here for more Taito history!
The conversion of Arkanoid played for this blog was developed by Discovery Software. Arkanoid was originally copyrighted in 1986 by Taito and released on the Amiga the following year by Discovery Software. Having played both these great games I think it would be unfair to try and squeeze them both into one blog. The second Arkanoid game, Revenge of Doh, was copyrighted in 1987 by Taito and released by Imagine (Peter Johnson) in 1988 on the Amiga. I’ll be looking at this one another time!
Arkanoid is quite simply a fantastic and ever so addictive game, and a good reason why its many incarnations survive to this day. The game itself doesn’t really need a story behind it, but Arkanoid does, and it even makes sense… sort of.
“The time and Era of this story is unknown. After the mother ship “Arkanoid” was destroyed, a spacecraft “Vaus” scrambled away from it. But only to be trapped in space warped by someone…”
The “someone” is the games villain Doh, and playing across 33 levels you finally reach this final confrontation with the guy who destroyed your ship in the first place.
Game play involves a number of coloured bricks spaced out across the playing area, the player must then bounce a ball into the bricks destroying them, once all the bricks are destroyed you move onto the next level. You control the platform at the bottom of the screen and the controls are as simple as moving the mouse from side to side. You must catch the ball with the platform and it will automatically bounce back into play, unless the power up ‘catch’ is activated, where by pressing fire will release the ball back into play. The power up capsules make the game play more varied and interesting, the power ups include:
S = Slow – Slows down ball
C = Catch – Catches the energy ball
E = Expand – Expands your platform ‘Vaus’
D = Disruption – Splits the ball into three
L = Laser – Enables platform to fire laser beams to destroy bricks
B = Break – Allows player to break into the next level
P = Paddle – Gives the player an extra ‘shadow’ platform
Power Capsules are worth 1000 points and are worth going for to achieve that high score. There are a certain amount of enemies as well that interfere with standard play such as flying shapes which can also be destroyed by bouncing the ball into them.
The game play is fast and smooth, the more times you bounce the ball back the faster the game gets making some of the levels very challenging. Luckily in this Amiga version you can actually choose from anyone of the first 20 levels to start on, handy as playing through I couldn’t get past stage 5 during my first few tries. The graphics are very colourful and simple, normal coloured bricks take one hit to be destroyed, silver bricks two, and gold bricks are indestructible, making some levels harder than others to beat. The object is to battle your way to the end and get ready for the final confrontation with your nemesis, which in all fairness is a pretty fun and rewarding fight after all that hard work getting there!
Arkanoid is a great game and this Amiga version sticks very closely to the arcade classic (apart from the ability to select any of the first 20 levels). In my opinion it’s the best looking conversion and certainly the smoothest with regards to game play, shadows, and graphics and with some nice backgrounds to make this a very aesthetically appealing game. Certainly one you’ll get frustrated with but at the same time you’ll want to beat it and keep coming back for more.
Arkanoid has been ported from the arcade onto many other machines including the Amiga, Amstrad CPC, Apple II, Atari 8-bit, Atari ST, Commodore 64, DOS, MSX, Mac, NES, SNES, TRS-80 CoCo, ZX Spectrum. As well as all the other versions you can play these days through Live Arcade, Wiiware and the iphone. I’m actually quite partial to Block Breaker 2, when Arkanoid isn’t available you understand.