Arkanoid Online Description
Arkanoid Online is a 1986 block breaker arcade game developed and published by Taito. In North America, it was published by Romstar. Controlling a paddle-like craft known as the Vaus, the player is tasked with clearing each formation of colorful blocks, accomplished by deflecting a ball towards it without letting it leave the playfield. Some blocks contain power-ups that have various effects on the player, such as increasing the length of the Vaus, creating several additional balls, or turning the Vaus into a laser cannon.
Created by Taito designers Akira Fujita and Hiroshi Tsujino, Arkanoid Online was made to expand on the block breaker concept established in Atari’s Breakout, a successful game in its own right that was met with a large wave of similar clone games from other manufacturers. It was part of a contest within Taito, where two teams of designers had to complete a block breaker game and determine which one was superior to the other.
The film Tron served as inspiration for the game’s futuristic, neon aesthetic. Level designs were first sketched out on paper, before being programmed into the game and tested to make sure they were fun to play. The designs for the enemies and power-up items were originally 3D models that were converted into sprite art.
Early location tests for Arkanoid proved to be successful, and usurped Taito’s initial expectations. Arkanoid Online was commended by critics for its gameplay, simplicity, addictive nature and drastic improvements over the original Breakout concept. It is considered important and influential, helping to revitalize the block breaker genre and set the groundwork for many games to follow. Arkanoid was ported to many home video game platforms, including the Commodore 64, Nintendo Entertainment System and mobile phones, and spawned a long series of sequels and updates over the course of two decades.
Arkanoid Online Gameplay
The player controls the “Vaus”, a space vessel that acts as the game’s “paddle” which prevents a ball from falling from the playing field, attempting to bounce it against a number of bricks. The ball striking a brick causes the brick to disappear. When all the bricks are gone, the player goes to the next level, where another pattern of bricks appears. There are a number of variations (bricks that have to be hit multiple times, flying enemy ships, etc.) and power-up capsules to enhance the Vaus (expand the Vaus, multiply the number of balls, equip a laser cannon, break directly to the next level, etc.), but the gameplay remains the same.
On the final stage (33 on most versions, but 36 on the NES), the player takes on the game’s boss, “DOH”, a head resembling moai. Once this point is reached, the player no longer has the option to continue after running out of lives, making this segment more difficult. The game is over regardless of the outcome.
Arkanoid Online Development and release
Arkanoid Online was designed by Akira Fujita and Hiroshi “ONIJIST” Tsujino, both of whom were members of Taito’s Yokohama Research Institute. The company’s sales department requested a new block breaker arcade game due to the genre beginning to see an upturn in popularity, following a steady downfall in the early 1980s. This led to a competition being held within the company to design the new game which was jointly won by Fujita and Tsujino, who were then instructed to combine their ideas into a single project.
Arkanoid Online builds on the overall block breaker concept established in Atari’s Breakout, a widely-successful arcade game that spawned a long series of similar clone games by other manufacturers.
The development team consisted of Fujita in charge of planning, with Tsujino providing level design and graphics and two others programming the arcade board, the film Tron (1982), which Tsujino was a big fan of. Blocks originally never had colors and were simply the same color, which was changed to the minor annoyance of Tsujino.
The various geometric-like enemies and power-up items were hand-drawn from 3-dimensional models before being converted into sprite art. Hisayoshi Ogura, the founder of Taito’s “house band” Zuntata, created the game’s music.
Arkanoid Online had a short development time with tight work deadlines, a schedule which Tsujino has since claimed to be “murderous”. Location testing for the game began only a month after the start of development. It was incredibly well-received by playtesters, and generated a lot more popularity and income than Taito had expected. Arkanoid Online was officially released in Japan in July 1986, and in North America later that year by distributor company Romstar.
Arkanoid Online Tips & Tricks
- During gameplay in Arkanoid Online, pills fall from destroyed bricks. When collected, these pills have various effects on the bat, Vaus.
|S – Slow||Slows down the energy ball.|
|L – Laser||Enables the vaus to fire laser beams.|
|C – Catch||Catches the energy ball and shoots it when you want it.|
|B – Break||Allow player to move to next playfield.|
|E – Expand||Expands the vaus.|
|P – Player||Gains an additional vaus.|
|D – Disrupt||Splits the energy ball into three particles.|
- The power pills are completely random except that the extra life and warp pills are twice as unlikely to occur. Only one extra life pill is possible per “vaus”. If the pill randomizer selects a duplicate pill based on the last pill dropped, a multi-ball pill is substituted. Thus, the multi-ball pill is the only one you can get twice in a row. The randomizer uses player score as the seed, so it is possible to control which pill is dispensed by purposely breaking pill dispensing blocks with specific scores displayed.
- On Arkanoid Online each level, the ball will not speed up completely until it hits the back wall, so :
- 1) Try to remove bricks from the bottom up, or punch a hole through thicker areas of bricks rather than go straight through (e.g. take out the left side of level 2 rather than the single block at the right as you will catch far more pills).
- 2) If you have collected a lot of S pills in Arkanoid Online and the ball has been in play for a bit of time, be prepared for a sudden speedup.
- Also, the D token speeds up the balls and is pretty useless on most levels (the one with the enclosed diamond is the only good example I can think of).
- As only one pill can fall at a time, multiple balls can reduce your potential score quite drastically. Every pill is worth 1000 points. For the first few levels, get every pill you can, but do not use the special powers. You will get a lot of extra ships and should get a gray P or two – thereby starting early with 6 or 7 ships.
- In the final level, where you face DOH himself, you should get 15 hits (1000 points per hit) on DOH/per man until you defeat DOH with the 16th hit on your last man to end Arkanoid Online.
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Arkanoid Online Walkthrough Video
About Arkanoid Online
|Platform||Windows, Android, IOS, Arcade, Web Browser|
|Release Date||July 1986|