Review: Super Breakout (Atari 5200)

In this review, we bust some blocks as we play the Atari 5200 game, Super breakout. We find out how well this Action/Puzzle plays.

This game was released in 1982. Previously, we reviewed the Atari 5200 and found the game to be pretty good.

This game has very few differences from the Atari 2600 version. There is still the paddle that you must use to keep the ball in play. There is still the numerous bricks you must destroy.

Each level of brick is worth a certain number of points. The yellow bricks are worth 1 point each. the next color is worth 2 points each. The third row is worth 5 points each. The final set, I believe, is worth 8 points each. The action is so fast at that point, it’s difficult to tell.

While the game seems pretty straightforward, the game will gradually get more difficult. This is thanks to the increase in ball speed. If you are merely hitting yellow bricks, the ball will generally remain at the slower speeds. If you hit the higher scoring bricks, the ball will travel faster. The last two row sets of bricks will immediately force the ball to travel at the fastest speed.

The good news in fast ball speed is that it makes the bricks break up faster. The bad news is that it require better reflexes to keep the ball in play. Keeping your eye on the ball is critical to being able to keep up.

While this game is known for being simple, yet fun, this game is beginning to show its age at this point in time in history. With games like Pitfall, Frogger, and Adventures of Tron already out there at this time, this game starts to get lost in the crowd of games available. In order to stand out, this game needs something more than a basic concept. Unfortunately, this game just doesn’t deliver.

Another downside to this game is that ball/brick detection is a bit buggy. The game can’t really detect the ball hitting a brick from the side. This makes for some strange moments in the game as the ball sometimes passes through other bricks and hit a brick which should be impossible to hit.

Generally speaking, while this game really did make a name for itself early on, this version seems to show a lack of evolution. Because of it, other games are beginning to pass it by even on inferior systems. While the 5200 seems to give the game a chance to make evolution more possible, the game just parks itself in neutral.

Graphically speaking, this game does improve things somewhat. There is now lines to differentiate between each individual brick. When the ball hits a brick, there is a small animation to show the brick disappearing. This does give the game some style however small that may be. As a result, it is half decent, but nothing huge.

The audio is a pretty big letdown. While the Atari 5200 system does give this game plenty of room to improve upon itself, this game seems to be content with a simple jungle and extremely basic sound effects. In fact, it is barely even an improvement over the Atari 2600 version. So, this game falls flat on this front.

Overall, I was hoping for something new and exciting for this next generation system. The game, unfortunately, leaves players with more of the same. The games ball/brick detection is a little buggy. The gameplay is somewhat short as well. The only real improvement came in the form of slightly better graphics. The sound, meanwhile, is a huge letdown. Because of a lack of any real evolution for this game, all I can do is award the game with a much more mediocre score. Nothing amazing.

Furthest point in game: High score: 165

General gameplay: 17/25
Replay value: 6/10
Graphics: 7/10
Audio: 1/5

Overall rating: 62%

Drew Wilson on Twitter: @icecube85 and Google+.

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