Here's a surprise! Yet another Breakout - this time coded by John Mackay, who previously brought us the disappointing Green Beret. If you've already seen and played the two hot games, Arkanoid or Impact, then you will know what to expect - using a bat and a deflected ball, you must clear screens of numerous bricks, some of which grant you bonuses.
The major difference is that the game is played side to side and not up and down as with the others. This probably makes it a little harder to play, but there is a lot happening on the screen to keep you alert - not content with some devilish brick patterns, Krakout! includes some great little monsters to mess up the play and some amusing little visual tricks.
For instance, bricks containing bonuses flip around like cards when initially hit - it is only the second hit that releases the bonus. Like the earlier games, these extras are fairly standard and include bat expansion, glue, slow down, extra life, etc. Most useful is a shield which drops behind you and keeping ball in the playing area for half a minute or so.
The graphics on both normal and high speed play are excellent with some very nice touches - sparkling bricks and that great shield. Care has to be taken to ignore the cute monsters moving about the screen - don't be seduced by their charm!
Whether you'll want to get this third version of one game is a hard question - technically this is excellent and is enjoyable to play. The basic game play is so simple and yet so maddeningly compulsive that I believe that there is room for all three versions. If I had to choose between them, then I believe I would pick Arkanoid for its dazzling graphics and speed, Krakout! for its charm and Impact for its screen designer.
A great programming job by John Mackay. I look forward to seeing his new games in the pipeline - Repo Ball and an unnamed scrolling shoot-'em-up "in the Nemesis tradition".