Gaming on Comodore 64 without "trainer" (immorality) is a major challenge in some classical cases. Become accustomed to possibility of competition in the circumstances of "unlimited lives", many of us unquestionably forget, for what cracking boosters were invented. For training.
A game (one of the games) that is hard to complete without trainer is Arkanoid. This extraordinary arcade game was invented in 1986 by Taito company. The soundtrack (with samples) for C64 version was created by Martin Galway. Arkanoid distinguishes itself in high playability, dynamics, nice graphic and quite high difficulty level.
Difficulty? Yes. Even if we have infinite number of lives, cyclical process of returning the ball can get on potential joystick crusher nerves. The game has some weak points, that make it hard to complete and also difficult to... forge.
The first thing is irregular frequency of letters that fall down. Most often we have to do with capsule C (green color) and capsule E (dark blue color). The first letter takes priority over the other letters. After catching it we can hold the ball by the bat. The E capsule appears only when you catch the green C letter (its task is to lengthen the bat, obviously only horizontally). Capsule S occasionally appears between the E and C letters. Its aim is to slow down the speed of the ball. And so it happens, but only for the first time... When the ball is frantically moving at the speed of light, even catching the S capsule doesn't change this bad situation. It is a huge difficulty for player who is waiting for slowing down like for salvation.
Has anybody who plays Arkanoid ever seen the shooting bat? The red L capsule can appear on the screen just after a few minutes! Unfortunately, it rarely comes out. The pink B capsule is better because it appears more often and constitutes salvation for impatient players. After catching this letter the mysterious way to the next screen (on the right side of the board) is opening. Attention! The way opens for a short time.
What a pity that some capsules are honored better than others in Arkanoid (much better in this case is even in games such as Breaker and Traz). The main difficulty is lack of slowdown of the ball. Salvation in the shape of mysterious way (the B letter) is also often unobtainable.
The second serious drawback is unpredictable change of flight of the ball. I don't mean the situation in which the ball collides with creature that flies above the bat. In that situation only intuition and cold blood allow to return the ball that is tumbling down. It isn't the only possibility to lose control of the game. The creators of Arkanoid figured out that the ball can loop in particular situations, which means it returns from one block to the other and so on... To prevent it the authors practiced the mysterious algorithm that after some returning stimulate unexpected change of the flight of the ball. When the ball is looped this algorithm can save "somebody's bacon". It happens that the player is misled by the ball, that is tumbling down the precipice and then is improperly returned. Arkanoid is based on professional prediction. Playing Arkanoid we have to know where the ball will be in a moment. Algorithm against the loop sometimes makes life a mystery and because of it we can lose some valuable lives.
The last problematic element of the game is the speed of the bat. Owners, who have some rare, sensitive to touch joysticks, can complain about the lack of full control of the game. In fact, the bat moves quickly and you cannot always perfect sense of distance that you need to move it. However, changes of the flight of the ball are more irritating than uncontrollable bat because deny the laws of physics.
How to compete Arkanoid without the option of infinite number of lives? You have to have lightning reflex and skillfully predict the angle of return of the ball. You need to have a few hours to complete 32 screens and defeat the DOH. The key to success is to catch (as many as possible) capsules. At a glance it seems to be ridiculous but every of the letters increase the amount of points of 1000; when you gain 20 000 points you can get extra life. The more lives you have in some first boards the faster you complete the game. The killing speed of the ball, unpredictable changes of its flight and the need to hit the grey blocks six times each on the last screens can successfully deprive us of chance reserve. Remember, these chances are at the premium. Without them the game is extremely difficult (but feasible).
After 20 years I finished Arkanoid, precisely 6th of June 2013. I also completed 33 screens (including guard – DOH), without trainer and I got 620590 points. Obviously, the results are to improve but does somebody dare to complete Arkanoid legally without cracker’s booster? I wish you the same good fortune. ;)
Translated by Agata Gizka.