Krakout: March featured game
No, not the answer to “What’s the first thing you associate with a builder’s trousers?” Krakout is a Breakout clone with a difference.
We’ve seen this type of game a lot on various systems. Names such as Arkanoid and Batty will be familiar to many old skool gamers but Krakout stands out because it’s different. All those other games play vertical whereas Krakout plays horizontal. One benefit of playing horizontal is a handy little option where you can swap the side your bat resides on, presumably for left-handed players.
Level-wise there’s enough variation to keep you occupied for a good while. I got to level 26 before thinking I should get on with writing this review, I just got that into it.
Enemies, and I use the term loosely, feel more like unfortunate creatures that happen to pop into existence on the playing field, very few seem to be actually out to get you. Most wander around the playing area aimlessly knocking your ball off course and just causing you a little frustration. Disembodied heads to name but one. There are a few that are purposely out to attack you, fly-type creatures that freeze your bat if they hit it, a circular blob that makes it’s way directly for your bat. On level 23 there’s a small blue ball I fondly refer to as “Yer li’l bastard” that eats your ball then spits the heart out at you.
Some of these creatures actively help you. There’s a sparking diamond-like object that, when hit with the ball, clones it giving you two balls to play with (oo-er). A lightning bolt that when hit can go flying through several blocks at once, and a bat clone that seeks out and destroys blocks for you. All that before we even get onto bonus blocks. Occasionally hitting a bonus block will reveal a power-up of sorts. Power-ups come in the shape of extending bats, x2 score, glue so the ball sticks to the bat allowing you to aim, bombs to destroy all the blocks touching hit, double bat (that one is a bit of a double-edged sword), missiles, shields and more.
Respectable graphics, smooth, no clashing (although that was never really an issue for the C64), sprites are clear and plentiful. One thing I’m not fond of, and it’s a complaint I hold up with many C64 games, is the colours always appear washed out. This really stands out for me in this version. The background pattern can be a little distracting at times. I think a single colour background might have worked better.
The intro music is good even if it does sound like it’s going to break into “Andy Williams – Can’t Get Used To Losing You” (“Beyoncé – Hold Up” for you kids) at any moment. One thing that irked me, in-game you have the option of music or sound effects, not both. I opted for sound effects, I need that in a game. The sound effects were fine and suited the game well.
|Gameplay:||(4.0 / 5)|
|Graphics:||(3.5 / 5)|
|Sound:||(3.0 / 5)|
|Final Score:||(3.5 / 5)|
Publisher: Gremlin Graphics
Release Year: 1987
Genre: Breakout clone
System: Commodore C64
“Munky” is a computer engineer with over 20 years experience. He has worked in both public and private sectors, mostly in the education sector, specialising in operating systems and mobile technology. He has carried out work for IBM, RM, Carillion, Capita, Click and Birmingham Metropolitan College as well as running his own I.T. Services business. He is a retro gaming enthusiast, especially when it comes to the Sinclair ZX Spectrum. He is a parent, a grandparent, and a bit of a child at heart.