Ball Raider

Publisher: King Size
Machine: Amiga 500

Published in Zzap #36

Ball Raider

It's the year 2488 and the ultimate test for any wouldbe member of the Guild of Warriors is "Ball Raider". Joining this elite group requires that the player clears 25 levels of brick formations by co-ordination of bat and ball, in true Breakout fashion.

As is the norm with games of this genre, beaten bricks often yield special powers which affect gameplay, such as Slow Ball, Fast Ball, Stop Ball (which allows the player to hold the ball on the bat and then release it elsewhere), Free Ball (effectively an extra life), and Magic Field (to leave the current screen without having to destroy the last brick).


The backdrops are certainly appealing, but unfortunately the gameplay just doesn't match. The bat is quite responsive, but the ball always bounces off at the same angle, often making the last few bricks very difficult to hit.

Ball Raider

In this case it's patience rather than skill that's the key to success. One thing that really does cheese me off - and it's not just with this game - is the use of a single short sampled tune, which is looped time and time again to form a soundtrack.

Why can't programmers take advantage of the Amiga's amazing sound chip and produce a proper tune - like we hear on C64! I'd recommend Breakout fans to wait for Arkanoid.


If Ball Raider's gameplay matched its superb fantasy pixel-painting backdrops it would be a fabulous game, but as it is, it's the most simplistic of the new breed of Arkanoid clones that I've seen.

Ball Raider

The blocks are arranged in the same unimaginative pattern for each screen, and the ball reflection is limited to 45 degrees.

Sound is used minially, with weedy digitised effects and a rather irritating piece of music creating an inappropriate ambiance.

The 'special effects' add very little to the fun, bringing the game very close to the level of the original Breakout, which, although mildly playable and addictive, has since been surpassed by the imagination and variation shown in games such as Batty and Traz.

Ball Raider

I've grown to expect a lot more, especially from a machine with almost limitless scope.


The graphic presentation of Ball Raider is superb, from the atmospheric title screens to the beautiful game backdrops. Unfortunately, this innovative structure is marred by the extremely repetitive and tedious gameplay.

The bat in unspectacular and the destructible blocks simplistic, arranged in patterns so uninspired it soon becomes a chore to clear them.

Ball Raider

The ball ricochet off the bat is appallingly unsophisticated, resulting in poor control over the direction of movement. Skill is eliminated in favour of luck and patience.

Apart from the extremely pretty background graphics, there's little inter-screen variety, and even these can become annoying when they distract from the ball movement.

The well-produced disco-beat soundtrack is appealling at first, with its subtly throbbing drum beat and sharp, synthesised swishes and echoes.

Ball Raider

After a while, however, this too becomes annoying: it doesn't *really* suit the gameplay. Ball Raider does little to further the cause of the Breakout format.


Presentation 33%
Little more than an animated high score table. Inability to use the mouse.

Graphics 82%
Fabulous fantasy backdrops, sadly all too often hidden by bland game graphics.

Ball Raider

Sound 40%
Insipid light disco soundtrack and digitised "clunk" effects.

Hookability 40%
Less than average for this type of game, because of bland playing style.

Lastability 38%
Only lasting appeal is to see the next of the 25 smart backgrounds.

Overall 39%
Terrific backdrops don't make up for uninspiring gameplay.