Saturday, August 21, 2010
Quick Review: Batty (C64, 1987)
Breakout games were extremely popular for a brief period during the late 80's (roughly 1987 to 1989), yet they all originate from much earlier, namely Breakout, which was released way back in 1976, and in turn was influenced by the grandfather of all computer games, Pong. All the classic C64 Breakout games come from this period in the late 80's (Arkanoid, Krakout, TRAZ, Batty), while we've rarely heard from Breakout-land ever since (although it seems to have staged a comeback in the indie PC-gaming scene lately). The concept is extremely simple: you control a bat at the bottom of the screen, with which you must fend off a ball, which bounces around, destroying blocks.
For my money, Batty is the second best Breakout-type game on the C64 (after Krakout). While it has the fatal flaw of most Breakout games, namely that the ball gets too fast too soon (resulting in a frantic but also impossible gaming experience), apart from that it's a classy game. The graphics are colourful and vibrant (including cute enemies which shoot at you and momentarily stun you), the sound is appropriate, the controls responsive, and the ball movement has believable physics. But there's also a bonus, a simultaneous two-player option. To be honest, that's Batty's real trump-card. Without that, it would be just another Breakout game, OK, but not exceptional. With it, it's a good game.