Batty.

Thinking the market wasn’t there anymore for a Breakout clone, Elite initially gave Batty away free with an issue of Your Sinclair. Then, similar full price hits like Arkanoid and Krakout convinced them to re-release it on their Encore budget label. Quite right too, because Batty has attractively textured backgrounds, neat animations and perfect bat to ball collision detection, even on the far edges. BattyWhat I find impressive is that there’s no need to remember what the various power ups are, because the icons that come down are so well detailed it’s pretty obvious what they do, and you can’t say that about Arkanoid. Indeed, overall Batty is presentation-wise a step up from any other game of its kind on the Spectrum.

Sadly, all this is let down in places by some dodgy level design. Stage three is particularly bad due to the awful positioning of a few blocks that make them frustratingly hard to remove, and unfair “anti-gravity” zones change the ball direction on later screens to make them annoying as well. What a shame, because while it’s still very playable, these weaknesses stop Batty from delivering the knockout blow to Arkanoid that its superior game engine is capable of.