Breakout 2000 Title Screen

Let me start by saying that the original Breakout is one of my favorite games of all time. Its masterful blend of sheer simplicity, tight controls, elegant game design and endless replay value still has me popping in the Atari 2600 cart for an all-night session more often than I'd care to admit. Understandably, then, I approached Breakout 2000 with cautious optimism, hoping that the traditional gameplay would remain intact in its translation to the souped up version of the classic ball-and-paddle game.

Breakout 2000 Screen Pic 1
Like its ancestor, the object of the game in Breakout 2000 is to manipulate a horizontally-mobile paddle across the bottom of the playfield in an attempt to hit the ball against rows of colored bricks near the top of the screen. The ball removes a brick when they collide, and then bounces back toward the paddle. The 2000 mode innovates on this basic theme by slanting the playfield to a viewing perspective similar to Klax. And as you would expect in a modern update, plenty of power-ups are also to be had.

Perhaps the most compelling aspect of Breakout 2000 lies in the players' ability to go head to head against either a second human or a computer-controlled opponent. In this mode, each player can launch his ball over to his foe's playfield, and knock down his bricks for additional points. In addition, if your opponent lets your ball get past him, his score will be reduced by 1000 points.

Breakout 2000 Screen Pic 2
If there was an area to nitpick, it would have to be in the controls, or lack thereof. Maneuvering your paddle with the directional pad is sluggish and a poor alternative to the rotary controllers found in the coin-op and 2600 editions. Since Breakout is basically a game of motor skills and hand-eye coordination, the reflex and precision necessary for accurate paddle control are an essential element of the game -- something that is sorely missing from the sequel. The lack of analog control is even more troublesome in the version of Classic Breakout included on the cartridge.

Controller handicaps aside, Breakout 2000 is a decent deviation from its predecessor, and with the addition of head-to-head competitive mode, gamers can be assured of non-stop simultaneous two player fun -- something that can't even be said about the original. It's definitely worth a look.

Title Breakout 2000
Publisher Telegames
System Atari Jaguar
Graphics 6
Sound 5
Gameplay 7
Overall 7
Reviewer Keita Iida

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