Four thousand years on from the Arkanoid space wars, the dimension controlling force Doh has returned. Threatening the harmony of the universe, it has metamorphosed into an even more vindictive adversary, hiding out in the huge alien vessel, Zarg. Controlling the Vaus II spacecraft - a modified version of the original - it's the player's task to penetrate the ship and annihilate the invader.
The Zarg comprises 64 rooms consisting of varied arrangements of coloured bricks. These are destroyed by deflecting an energy bolt off the Vaus, and a choice of mouse, joystick or keyboard control is offered. However, some bricks are indestructible or require more than one hit, and others simply move when struck. More devious blocks require two strikes to switch them off, but after a couple of seconds they switch back on. In addition, alien life forms, ranging from innocuous spinners to hostile bouncers, descend the screen at random to hinder the craft or the energy bolt released by bricks when destroyed, collection which endows the Vaus with special features to assist progress. These include a disruptor, which splits each bolt on screen into five; a regenerator which breaks the ball into three components which renew when each is lost; and a special capsule which bestows a random powerful weapon on the Vaus.
Each screen is normally cleared by eliminating all the destructible bricks. Occasionally a warp capsule appears allowing instant access to the next level upon collection.
Combine gorgeous visual presentation with powerful weapon enhancements and frustratingly addictive gameplay, and you have Revenge Of Doh. Graphically it's superb: polished and colourful arcade-quality backdrops and beautifully conceived sprites give the game a wholly professional appearance.
In comparison, the sound is simplistic: the major effects consist of the usual basic 'pings' and an occasional, unspectacular jingle. The extra features are what made the Breakout revival so attractive, and this has an appealing range of useful Vaus attributes. The mouse is a necessity for the action-packed gameplay; joystick control, as with all these games, is stiff enough to prove crucial in moments of crisis.
There are a couple of mildly irritating 'features': the ball sometimes indulges in a random bounce or generates excessive amounts of speed, and there are some screens which are a chore to complete.
Ignore these minor annoyances, though: Arkanoid was very good but this is even better, and comes highly recommended.
It would appear that the year has turned full circle: it was twelve months ago that I clawed my way into the Zzap! office, and one of the first games I reviewed was - surprise, surprise - Arkanoid! Now, the Breakout clone's sequel re-emerges to an even better response.
All the mildly annoying aspects of Arkanoid are still in evidence; poor joystick control, occasionally inconsistent rebounds and collision detection, but Revenge Of Doh has so many great new features that these minor quirks are totally forgivable.
The gameplay is far more hectic and the action even more compulsive than before, with lasers, splitting balls and my personal favourite, an 'explosion' of hardballs which decimates the screen in one go!
As with its predecessor, play is enhanced enormously in conjunction with a NEOS or Commodore mouse, Revenge Of Doh is just like Krakout or... Traz or Impact when played with the joystick, but using the mouse, I reckon it's the best Breakout variant available to date.
Don't turn the page! Okay, so this is yet another in a long line of Breakout clones, but Revenge Of Doh manages to squeeze the last few drops out of this tremendously over-used genre.
It's definitely the pick of the crop, and boasts some smart graphics, brilliant bat animation (just watch it expand), great sound and a series of new and very sadistic screens. The extra weapons really add to the action, and being able to have several different features running at the same time enhances the action no end!
Playing with a mouse is the best way to appreciate the game, as you feel you have complete control over the bat. The joystick and keyboard options are still good though, both giving decent feedback to make the bat easy to manipulate.
To be quite honest, I feel quite silly recommending yet another Arkanoid program - but this really is the best. It's incredibly addictive, highly challenging and constantly drags you back for another go. Even if you've already got a couple of Breakout games in your collection, give this one a go and see if you can put it down.
One to four player option, many control options and glossy on-screen display.
Very colourful and highly polished backdrops with neatly animated and imaginative sprites.
A short but appealing remix of the original tunes coupled with functional spot effects.
The attractive presentation, well graded layouts and arcade quality graphics are immediately compelling.
Some screens could prove tedious, but the 64 levels provide plenty of action.
Larger and more attractive than Arkanoid, and the most accomplished and playable Breakout variant so far.