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Super Breakout / Battlezone

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Reviewed by Diane Cote Regular visitors to the Playground know how I feel about these classic carts for the Game Boy - hint: I love 'em. So it was with a great deal of expectation that I entered into my latest portable interactive escape to the past; Battlezone and Super Breakout. Battlezone, a game that is on my all time favorites list, was the game I especially wanted to see on the Game Boy. Super Breakout has never really been too interesting to me, so I thought the token addition of the game was nice but I really wanted to get to my tank battles. What a major disappointment then to come to the realization that Super Breakout is the more enjoyable of the two games on this cartridge. Battlezone has been butchered. Breakout has been beautifully recreated. It isn't fair, I tell ya!

Battlezone

Probably one of the simplest concepts in all of game design but also one of the most technically impressive games of its day, are two ways to describe Battlezone. It was released in 1980 and it was such an immersive experience, the US military commissioned Battlezone's designers to customize one for its own military tank training. The arcade machine featured Vector based 3-D graphics that were viewed through a special periscope built into a very cool cabinet. The controls were two trigger loaded joysticks that allowed the player complete freedom of movement. It was an exquisite arcade experience. An authentic feeling tank simulation for a quarter. Ahh, the good old days. On the Game Boy much of that "experience" is lost. The dinky screen, the tiny speaker and the cross haired D-pad just can't bring in a convincing tank battle, no matter how hard the developers tried. The problem is, it doesn't look like the developers tried too hard at all. Battlezone's graphics are extremely jittery. The game may have been difficult to program onto the Game Boy, what with its Vector based graphics and all, but when I can play a better version of Battlezone on my portable Mac (Microsoft Arcade) than I can on my second favorite portable game system (Nomad's my first), there's a problem. Battlezone is a two color game. It screams for a good translation to the Game Boy. Unfortunately, this one is not it. On the Super Game Boy, Battlezone fares a little better but we're still trapped in the land of flicker. And the specially made border, which features exactly the same look as the action on the screen, is just distracting. The problems don't end with the game's looks. The Game Boy version of Battlezone is way easier than any other version I've played. The gameplay has digressed to simple move around until you spot your enemy and fire. There's no hunt and chase feel to the game whatsoever. When you add in the amount of missed shots you'll have because your targets are shaking all over the screen, there's just no way to look beyond the fact that this portable port sucks.

Super Breakout

Super Breakout fares much better than Battlezone and I bet you can tell me why. This is probably the simplest game in the world to develop. It's the video game equivalent to Barney singing, "Let's Tie Our Shoes". Your paddle hits a little blocky ball into a bunch of colored (on the Super Game Boy) blocky blocks until they've all been cleared. Variances of the game play include a perpetually descending wall of blocks; two other balls trapped inside cavities, that you can free and use in the game; and a game that starts with you trying to control two different blocky balls at once. Much block clearing and bouncing ensues. How could they mess this one up? Not The Cart Of Choice If you're budget is tight (who's isn't) and you can't afford to get all of the classic carts floating around out there, I would definitely stay away from Battlezone/Super Breakout. Even though both games deserved to be ported to the Game Boy, it's obvious that a little less care went into the development of this cartridge then some of the other classic games I've played on Game Boy recently. These are good days for Nintendo's portable. There are plenty of good Game Boy diversions floating around right now. Don't feel you have to subject yourself to this cart, no matter how big a fan of Battlezone you may be. Hardcore fans of Super Breakout on the other hand, need look no further.

I'm giving Battlezone 3 out of 10 I'm giving Super Breakout 7.5 out of 10 Super Breakout/Battlezone cartridge 5 out of 10

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