SOFTWARE REVIEW: IMPACT by Richard Karsmakers
Early Spring 1987. A relatively unknown programmer sits behind
his computer. He is working on a fantastic arcade conversion game
for a Manchester company and he has just finished it. Could he
have known that his program would be such a success?
The programmer we're talking about is Peter Johnson, the
Manchester company is Imagine and the game is called "Arkanoid",
just about the most addicting game on the ST.
Peter must have thought about "Arkanoid"'s future prospects when
he mailed the ready program code to Imagine. He must have known
that, some day, someone would conceive a program that would turn
out to be better than his.
He must have uttered a sigh of relief when he saw the first
"Arkanoid" clone: D3M's "Tonic Tile". Initial fright must have
been manifested in him, since graphics as well as sound and
overall attractiveness were much higher than "Arkanoid"'s. But
next came PLAYING it: Awful animations (thus unnecessarily
increasing the game difficulty) made it a bit of a bummer. Lucky
for Peter - if "Tonic Tile" would have had better animation,
people would have forgotten "Arkanoid" immediately.
Many others followed, each trying to outdo "Arkanoid". It turned
out to be a difficult task. "Stonebreaker", "Strip Breakout",
"Illusion" (from the Canadian disk magazine "F.A.S.T.E.R.") and
"Addictaball" are but a few. None of them actually came close to
being addictive; in the case of "Addictaball" (a scrolling
"Arkanoid", crossed with "Space Invaders" so it seemed) this was
probably due to its relative complexity.
Some months ago I visited a friend of mine who has an Amiga as
well as an ST. There, I played "Impact" (Amiga version) for the
first time. I was stunned. Hooked. Perplexed. And addicted.
So I was as happy as can be when "Impact" finally arrived on the
ST - and it's just as good as the Amiga version, I might add.
Peter Johnson must have felt really bad when he saw this new
game; I suppose he started working on his new game ("Whizball")
right away, accepting the fact that he was finally defeated
(after more than half a year).
"Impact" has it all. Terrific sound effects, super-smooth
animation and addictability. I know it's very subjective to say
whether a game is addictive or not, but I'd say: "Impact" is it!
Maybe it's the colors. Maybe it's the speed. Maybe it's the
knowledge that there are 80 levels to clear. Or maybe it's the
fact that the program comes supplied with its own editor (it is
possible to add 48 custom levels).
What's there to say to explain the "Arkanoid" principle? I think
everyone knows quite what I'm talking about, so I need not be
more elaborate. The graphics of "Impact" are good and highly
functional and the sounds are all superbly digitized (although I
still think it shows lack of programming capability when
programmers use digitized sound). By the way, the sounds were all
digitized from the Amiga.
Some things that you'll find in "Impact" that were not present in
- Every stone (color is unimportant) can be made indestructable
- There are 9 different bonuses
- Some stones are invisible
- Some stones reflect laser fire
- There is a variable "speed increase" function possibility on
each individual level
- After completing every 10 levels, you'll get a password so
that you can continue at levels 11, 21, 31, etc.
I know you're just about to beg me to give you all these
passwords. Presuming that I know them (which I do), I wouldn't
tell them anyway because that spoils a lot of the fun of
"Impact". I will give you the first one (to start at level 11):
It's GOLD. The user-defined levels can be played by typing USER.
Some people will now know a way to find out the others, I think.
Concluding: "Impact" is a well-designed game which is very
complete (due to the Construction Kit) and with an addictability
rate of 10- on the scale of "Plutos". A hit!
Company: Audiogenic Software Ltd. (ASL)
Author: John Dale
Value for money: 9
Price: 69.50 Dutch guilders
Many thanks to Homesoft (Haarlem, The Netherlands) for sending
the game to review.
The text of the articles is identical to the originals like they appeared in old ST NEWS issues. Please take into consideration that the author(s) was (were) a lot younger and less responsible back then. So bad jokes, bad English, youthful arrogance, insults, bravura, over-crediting and tastelessness should be taken with at least a grain of salt. Any contact and/or payment information, as well as deadlines/release dates of any kind should be regarded as outdated. Due to the fact that these pages are not actually contained in an Atari executable here, references to scroll texts, featured demo screens and hidden articles may also be irrelevant.