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Retro Fire

Written: 5.1.15
Acquired: 2.25.06
Status: Cart only
Price: $5

Pub: NintendoNov. '97
Dev: Taito4 MEGS

Systems come and go. Games come and go. A select few stand the test of time. ARKANOID and SNES have both proven that they belong to such an elite fraternity. So isn't it fitting that in the dying days of the SNES when it was barely hanging on by a tiny thread that a 16-bit version of Arkanoid would get pushed out the door?? It came just in time for the Christmas season of 1997 for those still loyal enough to cling on to their beloved SNES. Well, LUCKY us...

                                                       RECLAIMING THE RELICS OF YOUR YOUTH

As retro gamers, I think for many of us who got back into it at some point, don't you fondly remember the feeling of getting back into the FANDOM for the very first time in however many years?  For me, I'll never forget that first quarter of 2006. The SNES bug had bit me hard, and on many early Saturday mornings I would wake up at the butt crack of dawn, hop into my car and drive down those windy roads to hit up the local flea markets. With a list of wants in the hundreds and a pocket full of dead presidents, it was a winning formula for always going back home with at least something. I met many vendors in my time, most memorable of all arguably was no doubt Mr. Mean. He had droves and DROVES of Super Nintendo games, but the bastard overpriced them like mad and he was generally a miserable grouch. One day I saw Arkanoid and I felt my heart leaping for joy. Mr. Mean quickly shattered that when he gave me a price quote not to my liking. I walked away and I went from high to low in record time. I was left feeling a tad discouraged, as well as disenchanted

Still, I kept my head up and continued happily exploring the rest of the flea market. 4th vendor I spotted Pac-Attack and also... Arkanoid: Doh It Again. Funny how life can work in mysterious ways. Arkanoid was denied to me just five minutes ago by Mr. Mean, yet here I was with the next vendor who happened to have a copy of the game as well

However, he was hesitant to sell Arkanoid off the bat

"I don't know... isn't this game rare?"
  he asked, scratching his head


"You sure?"

"Yeah. I actually just saw it at the very last vendor"

He examined the glossy game label long and hard, squinting even. He studied the "Easter Island" statue with a burning intensity. Finally he looked back up. "Alright, I trust you... $5 it is then. With the Pac-Man game it comes to be $10"

In yer face Mr. Mean!  Ah, ARKANOID. I have some fond memories of playing the game on my computer in the late '90s when my bro and I first discovered emulation. Kev and I had already donated our SNES to our cousin David by the time my brother found out about roms and such. I remember it well; I was a sophomore in high school at the tail end of the 1990s, walking home from school one day talking with a buddy about my brother's discovery the night before. Although I missed my SNES, hey, it was better than nothing. Arkanoid: DIA was one of the few games my brother got, and he refused to teach me how to get games by myself as we shared the computer and he was ULTRA paranoid of me doing something malignant to his precious PC. Anywho, I often fired up Arkanoid and was taken aback by its simple effectiveness. Some 7-8 years later, I finally got the real thing


Commander Therle has searched for a home but Doh blocks him

A scout ship sets out to seek a world to call its own. But not long after appears DOH!

                                       It's a unique mix of "retro goodness" meets "futuristic ambience"

Gotta love that cheesy Mode 7. Still rocking it in late '97 -- all the way to the end, baby

                                       And I'm glad Nintendo did. It's one of SNES' best 2 player games

It gives it a fun futuristic atmosphere. Not to mention personality!

                                       And with 99 levels to conquer, this feature comes in REAL handy

Touch that blue capsule and watch your ship grow to nearly twice its size. Good stuff

Another awesome powerup, this one shoots out 8. Talk about "BALLS TO THE WALL"

[You would know a thing or two about that, wouldn't you... -Ed.]

Look how big your ship can get. It's pretty damn impressive -- nearly half the screen!

Blastin' the crap out of every block in sight is unspeakably sweet

So pass it cross the table like PING PONG.
I'm gone, beating my chest like King Kong.
And when it comes to get another stogie...
fools all kick in like SHINOBI. I GOT 5 ON IT

                                       Arkanoid's mostly a fun game but there are a few irritating levels

Backgrounds change every 11 levels. Love the human touch here


Without a doubt the best thing about Arkanoid is its stellar 2-player mode. There are three different modes you can play. Game A has you and a bud alternating turns. You play until you lose your life

Game C pits both players against the same map and the first to clear said map declared victorious

But Game B is clearly where it's at. Here you get to team up with a friend in some awesome co-op action. Player 2 plays behind you and can swat away any ball Player 1 misses. The next round Player 1 and 2 switch places. It is easily one of the most fun 2-player experiences on the SNES
Game B allows co-op play, and it's a BLAST

                                       Modes A and C are amusing, but Mode B is where the real fun is


December of 1997. EGM issue #102 (January 1998) arrived in our mailbox. Just look at the cover and you'll see how thick in the swing of the 32-bit age we were. Featured on the cover was a rather tantalizing look at Resident Evil 2. Yet in the back of the magazine, in the reviews section, I saw something that caught my eye. There was a Super Nintendo game!  It had been forever since EGM reviewed a Super NES game, and I will always think of Arkanoid as the last SNES game EGM ever reviewed. It received scores of 7.0, 7.5, 8.0 and 8.5. These were more than respectable scores, and it's safe to say the SNES went out in proud fashion. My brother and I were both basically out of the Super Nintendo scene by then... but still, I remember being happy seeing the review. It was like seeing a dear old friend again after so many years and finding out that life had been good to them
If a game show ever ask ya last SNES game EGM reviewed, ta-da


It's fitting that one of the last games released on the SNES is Arkanoid. There's something cool about this game. Maybe it's the funky combination of retro gaming goodness combined with a futuristic atmosphere. Or maybe it is the awesome co-op 2-player mode. It's probably all of that and then some. The graphics won't wow anyone but they get the job done, although some stages it can get tough at times to make out the ball due to what's popping up in the background. There are some good tunes here that fit in well, and there's nothing like the sound of your ball bouncing off of a bad guy. The game has a timeless quality to it, and when the latest game lets me down, I know Arkanoid will always be there ready to whisk me to a far away world where lasers thrive and Easter Island heads rule. It's a winning formula
Arkanoid finally hits the SNES. Better late than never? Ya betcha

Couple years ago I had a friend come over and she wanted to sample one of my Super Nintendo titles. Jenn is NOT a gamer at all but on that wacky day she felt compelled to make the request. I mulled over my collection, trying to select the appropriate two-player experience that I hope she just might like. When my eyes landed on Arkanoid, it was a no brainer. Jenn had never played it before, but as soon as we got set up in the two-player co-op mode, we were both trash talking at the TV, hi-fiving one another and shouting at every missed ball, and subsequent backup save (or lack thereof, in some cases. Thanks Jenn). It quickly dawned on me that Arkanoid presented one of the best 2-player experiences one can hope to have on the SNES. My friend was not, and is not, a gamer. But even she loved Arkanoid's simplicity and addictive qualities. It's one of those games that anyone can pick up, play and enjoy, whether you're 7 or 70. You can't say that about very many games. It's fitting that one of the last SNES games released in America proves that in the end, having fun is what it's all about. Graphics evolve, but classic gameplay remains timeless

Graphics: 7
Sound: 8
Gameplay: 8.5
Longevity: 8.5

Overall: 8.5

Double Silver Award

A great game to play after a long work day!

Read more about my flea market adventures