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Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Tecnoball


Brick Buster?

Tecnoball Z was published in 1991 by TLK Game and is a Breakout conversion developed by Pierre Denis. Weirdly, I'd never heard of this game until a good friend happened to mention it a few weeks ago (thanks Paul). Sadly, I have no idea whether it was ever officially released over here in the UK. Does anyone know?

Okay, we all love a quick blast of Breakout/Arkanoid now and then; olde classics which have stood the test of time and have many fans. I would say Arkanoid is the most well-known unless you're an ST guy, then it's Bolo. But, I'm always open to any alternative, especially when it's an Atari ST game I have never played before!!


Here, I held onto the ball whilst blasting the bricks with a weird laser weapon. Sweet!!


It's 1976 all over again?

The first thing that struck me was the use of overscan for a larger display but the brick-busting gameplay remains much the same. Each screen has a different collection of blocks that must be cleared using your bat and ball and, with each hit, points are earned with a chance of spawning cash, power-ups and sometimes enemies.

The mouse controls are great; precise and accurate just as you would hope. However, it isn't long until you realise that the physics are 'different' when the ball doesn't react as expected. Manipulating strikes using the different parts of the bat doesn't work the same and might force the ball to bounce in a different direction! That means it's tough trying to finish a level when only a few blocks remain! But, there's a power-up in the shop to help with that...

Yep, a shop pops-up after each level and offers goodies like extra lives, a bigger bat, weaponry and more. Heck, it's even possible to install extra bats on the remaining three sides of your screen! I like surprises like this plus, that silly gameplay reminded me of the chaos I suffered in Wacko Software's Video Games I. Innovation like this keeps the player interested which is how I managed to clear several levels and defeated a couple of bosses!


Check out my power-up pads on all 4-sides of the play area. It's mental!

Over-what?

Graphically, I like Tecnoball as it's quite futuristic in style and different from the original our Dads used to play! Overscan has been used to great effect and provides a better experience, more arcade-like perhaps? The use of colour is good and everything feels smooth but I thought the blocks themselves lacked a bit of pizzazz?

I won't mention that familar guy in the status panel who freaks me out. Darn it, I just did...

Sampled sound effects are pretty good for the 'dinks' but there is no in-game chipmusic so it's almost as quiet as the original. Even worse, there's no theme tune for the title screen which I found very disappointing.


This is the first boss screen and oddly, it features no blocks!


The CryptO'pinion?

This is a fun take on the original but the physics are quite peculiar. Some might hate it but, whatever your opinion, this could still create a silly "bug"? At one stage, the ball hit an enemy near the top of the screen that ricochets it sideways. So it began bouncing from left-to-right, in a perfectly straight line, which continued for about 30 seconds!! Luckily, it hit a wandering enemy which changed its trajectory!! Not very good, I'm sure you'll agree?

Having said that, this is still a good game and I enjoyed ploughing through the levels. The addition of a shop works well and that provides a great variety of extra features that help to improve the game massively. Give it and try and see how it compares to your favourite version of Breakout? Let me know in the comments below.

Download the floppy from Stonish on Cobra #27 menu disc.


Gotta love the artwork and even this Game Over screen is in overscan.

3 comments:

  1. Great a new arkanoid alike 😁👍

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    Replies
    1. I think you'll love it. It's a bit quirky in places but it's still a fun game and something "new" too!

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  2. I played it tonight. This game is good indeed. The graphics look very metallic. The sounds strengthen this cyber aspect too. But it must be better on a real hardware. On hatari with a tos 1.06 I noticed some bugs : the bat froze during one second or two which may be annoying and the ball had a weird behaviour sometimes following a straight path. Then it was difficult to go out from this infinite loop. Otherwise tecnoball is pleasant.

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