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 ATARI REBORN

This section of my Atari Page deals with re-released titles from Hasbro Interactive. Some of you might not have been aware that the old original Atari Corporation just before they closed their operations forever merged with a hard disk company, JTS Enterprises. The hard drive company sold the rights to the old Atari games back in 1998 to Hasbro. Hasbro has been releasing classic titles under the Atari name using the name of Hasbro Interactive as the parent company. Hasbro Interactive  have released a few of the Atari titles in both a classic mode and an adventure mode for most of the re-released titles. Recently, Hasbro itself sold the rights to the Hasbro Interactive section of their business to Infogrames ( A French company) so it is currently not clear if Infogrames will do anything with the Atari titles that they have obtained as a result of purchasing Hasbro Interactive. I hope that they do release some more Atari games since I think Hasbro had the rights to about 78 of the old Atari games so there is certainly enough titles that are beginning to be remade. I, for one, would like to see an updated version of Xevious but I am not going to hold my breath waiting for Infogrames to re-release the old Atari titles. I plan to review some of the games released by Hasbro here and give you my opinion of the new releases.
 

  Select a review from the following list of games

Breakout

Missile Command - Coming soon

Qbert - Coming soon

Pong - Coming soon

Centipede - Coming soon

If you would like to contact me regarding some of the reviews for these games, I can be reached via email at

Alien Email ace942@bellsouth.net

Breakout

The Playstation version of this game was reviewed. This is a remake of the original Atari Breakout game. Unlike some of the other releases by Hasbro, there is no classic mode to the game. This game was produced by Supersonic Software and it is strictly played in an adventure mode of sorts. There is no history about the original game and I wish that they had included some history about the game but Hasbro did not. For instance, Steve Jobs (the current CEO of Apple Computer) used to work for Atari for a short time and worked on the Breakout title. These sort of tidbits add something to a package like this but Hasbro seems to be concentrating more on releasing games and not providing a history of these classic titles. I guess they feel that it might put off some potential purchasers of the title but I think it would help sell classic game re-releases if some of the original history was included.

This game is a cutesy type game which might put off the hard core gamer. This game was obviously written for the younger gamer. When the game first starts, you see the famous Atari Fuji symbol and then the virtual camera pulls back to show that the symbol is on a large speaker which is playing music. You see yourself, Bouncer, relaxing with your girlfriend Daisy on a large Atari beach towel while your friends are playing volleyball on the beach. One of your friends accidentally sends the ball into the water and Bouncer volunteers to retrieve it. When Bouncer returns, his friends are gone and Batnix (the bad guy) has your friend Daisy. Bouncer gets over-powered by Batnix and gets thrown into a cell.

Bouncer has to use his breakout skills to get out of his cell. You have a tutorial that shows you how to use the buttons to play this game. In some ways, it is similar to Tomb Raider in that you get to practice the skills that will be necessary to play the game. Luckily there isn't too much to learn with regards to playing the game. As you break out of your cell, you get to see an animated cut scene where you get taken to the next challenge. Bouncer's friends are trapped in different settings, like a medieval castle, Egypt, a farm, etc and each locale is interesting itself. Bouncer must first release his friends before proceeding to the next challenge. Usually Bouncer must defeat the boss that at the end of each level to release his friends. Each friend that Bouncer releases can be used in a later round. I stick to Bouncer so I am not sure what the advantages are to using one of his friends.

One thing that I really like about this game is the interactive level setting. Basically, as you pass the challenges, the game makes itself a little harder for the next challenge. However, if you are not doing so well on that particular challenge, the game reduces the challenge until you are finally able to proceed to the next challenge. I wish all games ever created did this. I have played too many games in the past where you start to do well and then somewhere in the middle, the game gets ridiculously hard and it stops being fun. By challenging the skill level depending on the progress that I am making, it keeps the game going without having too many frustrating points where I can make no progress. You have the option of saving your game at the end of each section, so long as you have space on a memory card attached to the Playstation.

While the game itself is a lot of fun, there are a few things that could have been done better. I don't particularly like the wolf chasing scene. Basically, Bouncer is a stretch of road where he is running away from a wolf who is chasing him. The wolf is closing in on Bouncer as time progresses. Bouncer can pick up rocks as he runs, and use them to hurl at the wolf to slow the wolf down. Eventually, you reach the end of the road and clear the challenge. Once would have been ok but the second time, not only do you have to worry about the wolf chasing you but there is an obstacle course thrown in for good measure where Bouncer can only get through a small opening to keep going through the course. Otherwise, if Bouncer makes contact with part of the obstacle wall, a bomb goes off and it stuns Bouncer for a few seconds. Usually by the time that the stun effect has worn off, the wolf catches up to Bouncer. This makes this section extremely hard and really has nothing to do with the Breakout style mechanics that are prevalent in the rest of the game.

Another problem with the game is the ending. Towards the end of the game, you see yourself chasing Batnix while the credits for the game are scrolling. This might give you the impression that the game is over but IT IS NOT! Instead you get lead to a final room where Batnix is holding Daisy. You must defeat Batnix by defeating an "ancient" game. Can you guess what that "ancient" game is? Yep, you guessed it! The original Atari Breakout game! You get to see the original game in its original format and have to break all the bricks in order to disable the shield between yourself and Daisy.

Overall, Breakout by Hasbro is a wonderful remake of the classic Atari Breakout game and a lot of fun. The interactive difficulty setting means that you will be able to play the game without having to worry that it will get too difficult at some point and you give up. Kids will enjoy the various settings and the fun element which is obviously in the game. I really recommend this game to everyone as it is such an enjoyable game.