The Micro User


Author: Hac Man
Publisher: Audiogenic
Machine: BBC/Electron

Published in The Micro User 5.11

Breakout was one of the first games in the arcades. Even today, nearly a decade on, it still has a dedicated following.

The idea is very simple: Using a bat and ball, you must knock out all the bricks from a multi-coloured wall.

With the advent of home computers, Breakout took on an even greater popularity, overtaken eventually by more sophisticated offerings until Peter Johnson's Arkanoid brought respectability back to the old favourite.


Now Impact offers 80 screens of the same winning formula. It has been converted to the BBC Micro by clonemaster Gary Partis. Inevitably Impact will be compared to the original.

My first impression is a contradiction in terms - a Gary Partis game that doesn't start off too fast for human reflexes. Despite this, Impact leaves no doubt as to the identity of its author. It has the familiar Partis touches - Demo mode, high score table and cheat mode. It also features a screen editor, so that you can change the pre-defined layouts or design your own.

Like Arkanoid, Impact has special effect tokens - hidden inside some of the bricks. These float down the screen when the brick is destroyed and you collect them to add extra features to your game, such as a double-width bat, a facility to catch the ball or free passage to the next screen.


Impact allows you to choose which feature you require and for each token you collect you gain access to more powerful features - these include lasers, smart bombs and rockets.

When you complete the screen after destroying all the bricks, you are given a bonus and a screen editor code. The bonus equates to 1,000 points multiplied by the number of tokens collected but not used. The editor code allows you to modify the screen and to start the game on that level.

Impact has to go some way to match Arkanoid - to my mind it doesn't quite make it. The essential difference in playability is the speed. Impact is far too slow, a fact emphasised by the dawdling ball movement when only a few bricks are left. Even on the higher levels it does not really warm up.

The sound effects are basic and the graphics smaller than we have come to expect from Gary. These faults rather spoil the game, which is a pity because other aspects of Impact, notably the editor, are excellent. Speed it up!

Hac Man

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