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Atom Smash (Palm) April 3, 2000

After playing Atom Smash, the latest "block-busting" paddle game, I must say that I had flashbacks to when I playing Arkanoid in the arcade. The sound quality and graphical detail are above and beyond any other paddle game out there... finally, we have a paddle game along the lines of the original Arkanoid and XBoing.

The paddle game genre is rather simplistic in design... you have a paddle and a ball, and several blocks to remove with the ball. This can get boring rather quickly. However, Atom Smash has several features in gameplay that keeps the pace lively and exciting. First is the numerous set of "powerups" that help (and hinder) your progress, including multiball, paddle stretch, and extra paddles. Second is the distinction between block types... certain blocks take more than one hit, others regenerate, and still others can only be destroyed with the help of a powerup. This variety in blocks helps the gameplay tremendously, but I wish there were more of them (i.e., higher scoring blocks, moving blocks, etc).

The level design, although it contains several "gems" from previous paddle games, is unique and fresh, with many course layouts. The registered version comes with a level editor that allows one to customize levels and even "beam" them to other Atom Smash players, enhancing the replay value (much like the popular game Mulg). One would think that the developer would make the level editor freeware to encourage the development of new levels.

The graphics are of a strong caliber, especially for grayscale. The "ghosting" of the ball allowed for better visibility (especially in "multiball" mode) and is quite a neat effect. Although I've only been able to play the grayscale version, the screenshot graphics for the color version also look amazing and bright. The sound effects deserve an honorable mention, too, with sounds that sound vintage arcade and are not overly annoying. Overall, this is a polished game, and will keep you at least entertained, if not addicted.

Review by


Title: Atom Smash
Publisher: Red Mercury
Summary: A great Arkanoid clone
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