Super Breakout

Graphics: 3
Sound: 3
Control: 5
Depth: 3
Overall: 4

Super Breakout

By: Atari, Inc.
Released: 1981

Like the earlier Breakout, Super Breakout is a simple concept that gets quite challenging—keep the ball in play while knocking all the bricks away. As the game progresses the ball increases in speed, and when you hit the top, your paddle becomes half as big.

Super Breakout improves on the original in several areas. The graphics, while simple, are more refined. The control is tighter as well, and offers a smoother difficulty curve. The sound has improved the most, and may be one of the earliest examples of situational music in a game.

When the ball hits a brick, you'll hear a series of notes based on the number of points the brick is worth. As the game gets more frenzied and multiples of bricks get hit, the "music" really gets going. As an added bonus, you can continue to hit the "game reset" switch before starting play to select the type of sound you want the bricks to make.

The game variations in the game are much better than in the original Breakout. Breakout, Double, and Cavity are all just different enough to fun and challenging in their own right. However, Progressive is my favorite and is almost a new game in itself.

Rather than being presented with static wall of bricks to remove, the bricks slowly start to move down towards the paddle. At first they move occasionally, but if you can keep the ball in play they eventually move down everytime the ball hits the paddle! This causes the board to change quickly and makes keeping the ball in play very difficult, but also brings out more of the high scoring red and blue bricks—if you can get to them.

Super Breakout, while very similar to Breakout, has the right mix of challenging and additive gameplay that the original lacks. While not one of my absolute favorites, it is one of the cornerstones of the Atari library and comes highly recommended.

- Ben Langberg


Game Variations

The difficulty switches control the size of the paddle in all games. In the B or beginner position, the paddle is twice the size it is in the A position. The A position is for experienced SUPER BREAKOUT players.