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The strangest Arkanoid video you'll ever see

One thing we've learned while playing Arkanoid DS -- it's difficult to break blocks and eat at the same time. The man in the video above seems to have it all figured out, though. While this still might not be as fun as playing with the imported paddle, at least you'll have an easier time multitasking.

File this one under "another crazy video from Japan."

[Via GoNintendo]

DS Fanboy Review: Arkanoid DS

I love Arkanoid. I purchased the NES game, with its included paddle controller, as soon as it came out in 1987. I still play it. It's still really hard, and I still think level 3 -- level 3! -- is one of the most devious and challenging video game levels ever devised. When Taito revealed that they were updating Arkanoid for the DS, I was beyond thrilled. I have been waiting for the American release of this game since last year. While I thought Space Invaders Extreme looked like a more creative update of its source material, Arkanoid DS had Arkanoid as its source material.

It's pretty good. It fails to hold up perfectly to the original, but it's pretty good.

Continue reading DS Fanboy Review: Arkanoid DS

Friday Video: Yes, it has a story

The Arkanoid series appears to be fairly abstract. The paddle and blocks can't be anything other than gameplay elements, right? The Tetris blocks don't represent animals or anything, and Arkanoid is the same kind of non-narrative puzzle-action experience.

Except it isn't. One of the things that elevates Arkanoid beyond other Breakout clones is its ridiculous sci-fi storyline, which pits a cylindrical spaceship called the Vaus against barriers put up by the evil Doh, who is a giant moai. The Vaus's primary weapon is ... a giant ball that the crew bounces off of the ship's own body. The spacefaring backdrop makes the game a lot more enjoyable -- especially once you realize that your every action jostles the crew of a spaceship as if they were in a giant cocktail shaker.

For an example of the kind of epic narrative featured in the series (which, to an extent, is also found in Arkanoid DS), we've chosen to present the ending from the Super NES Arkanoid: Doh it Again.

Taito game screens invade our weekend

Space Invaders Extreme and Arkanoid DS come out next week, at which point we'll be able to look at the equivalent of thousands of screenshots every minute as we actually play the games. Until then, we've got some more screens of both games to enjoy, courtesy of a Square Enix press release. In case you want to stare at boxart (which means that this is probably directed at DS Fanboy staff), we have high-resolution images of both.

On the subject of the boxart, we just noticed that both games' logos use variations of the same font. The things you learn when you ... hastily composite a box image!

Gallery: Arkanoid DS

Downtrodden Taito U.S. employee confirms Arkanoid and Space Invaders

With the boxarts, prices, and release dates on Gamestop's website, it seems like a pretty sure bet that Space Invaders Extreme and Arkanoid DS will indeed be published by Square Enix in North America. However, in the absence of an official press release like the one that just came out for Europe, we could use all the confirmation we can get. Two recent bits of information help cement the notion that these games really will come out.

First, Arkanoid has finally joined Invaders as a game rated by the ESRB. The E rating has finally shown up on the ratings board's website, indicating that it is planned for release. Second, Keiji Fujita, the sole Taito rep in the U.S., confirmed it directly in a Gamasutra interview. "Arkanoid was released last year in Japan, and Space Invaders Extreme [was released in February]. In fact, these two games will be published by Square Enix in the United States." Since they're being published by Square Enix, though, Fujita has nothing to do with them -- with the only Taito console games to come out this year.

If we want more Taito games (and we do), then we should maybe consider buying at least one of these two. Fujita said that the future of Taito games, at least as published by Square Enix, hinges on the success of Invaders and Arkanoid.

Arkanoid screens make the waiting harder

If you're trying to hold out any time a sale pops up, or you just happen to find yourself browsing one of many online retailers from which you could easily pick it up, finger hesitating over that "add to cart" button, then we're not helping. And listen, we're sorry, but there are new Arkanoid screens, and then old screens in the gallery, and what were we supposed to do? Ignore them? We're suffering as much as you are.

Gallery: Arkanoid DS

Arkanoid DS plays dirty

We thought Arkanoid DS was awesome from the moment we first saw it. The customizable graphics and sound effects, the varied width of the levels, the quest mode, and, most importantly, the miraculous paddle controller won us over. For that matter, the word Arkanoid won us over. Being way-huge fans of the NES game (and its controller) we were pushovers.

But now we find out that Arkanoid DS has a story mode full of adorable mascot characters? With their little Vaus-shaped heads, they look like a cross between the Prince of All Cosmos and Bomberman. That's just not fair. We were already going to buy the thing; now we have to super-buy it or something. Maybe we'll buy the inevitable mascot goods -- the plush dolls, DS styli, and such.

Track your pain relative to others' in Arkanoid DS

Arkanoid is not especially well-suited to multiplayer. In fact, Breakout and its ilk serve as a single-player alternative to Pong: the sentient or AI antagonist is replaced by an immobile target set that requires as much precision and reflexes as the opposing paddle would (Of course, Arkanoid complicated things by adding enemies, but those are still more obstacles than opponents). When we first saw the news about Arkanoid DS, our thoughts did not go straight to the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection. We never said that this game would be totally awesome if it were online.

But it is awesome. And it is online. Sort of. Arkanoid DS will feature online rankings, which are perfect for a classic arcade game. We look forward to sharing our humiliatingly low scores with the gaming public. We also look forward to hearing the new music from Taito's house band, Zuntata. The original Arkanoid music was sparse, limited only to a short tune at the start of the game and cues at new levels and deaths, but it's all great.

[Via GoNintendo]

Three control schemes for Arkanoid DS, two are for crazy people

You aren't limited to the awesome spinner controller if you want to play Arkanoid DS. If, for some reason, you'd like to play with the stylus or the d-pad and shoulder buttons, you go right ahead. Taito has made those options available for fun-hating people like you.

Or, you know, if you don't want to pony up the extra 1,050 yen ($9.15) for the package containing the white dial/spinner, or the 1,800 yen ($15.69) for a spinner in one of the alternate colors. We must admit we do understand financial concerns. However, most Japanese DS games cost as much as the bundle, and, to us, the spinner is an integral part of the experience.

Doh commands you to look at Arkanoid screens

Arkanoid DS is a game made by people who respect classic gameplay. Taito chose to make a block-breaking game on a system with a touch screen, but did they settle for stylus-based play? No! Arkanoid traditionally uses a dial controller to operate its paddle, and thus a new peripheral was born. Each copy of Arkanoid DS will include a white paddle controller; the black, pink, and silver controllers will be sold separately for 1800 yen ($15.29).

Since the game is so traditional, we were initially slightly (only slightly) put off by the choice to make the blocks square instead of the Arkanoid-correct rectangles. We changed our minds when we saw the Space Invaders level made possible by square blocks. It's only one of the 140 Clear Game levels, in addition to the Quest Mode challenges.

We still play a lot of NES Arkanoid, and we really want to see Taito succeed with this. We really want the DS to become the new NES.

Let's break blocks cheaply again!

Publisher Tasuke is aggressively competing with D3 Publisher's Simple DS series by cutting costs in the one place that D3 has been extravagant: the word "the." D3 showed off with their Simple DS Series Volume 4: THE Block Kuzushi (which was localized as Break 'em All), which contrasts sharply with Tasuke's classy 1500 DS Spirits Vol. 3 Block Kuzushi.

Block Kuzushi
features single-cart multiplayer, just like Nervous Brickdown, and a survival mode, just like Break 'em All! It also features, you know, block breaking, which automatically makes it at least a little awesome.

Anxiety-filled Breakout videos

We've been on edge ever since Eidos announced its plans to publish Nervous Brickdown, Arkedo Studios' modernization of the Breakout genre. Much like how Tetris DS made block dropping seem fresh again, this high-strung title breathes new life into the break-a-brick formula with creative modes and a style overhaul.

IGN has a hands-on preview and some new videos of Nervous Brickdown's gameplay variations, and they're totally stressing us out for reals. In one of the game's ten distinct modes, you guide a paddle and ball through scrolling shmup stages -- making it a paddle-em-up, maybe? Drifting ghosts haunt the stages, hindering your progress, so you'll have to blow into the DS' mic to push them away. Another theme challenges you to manage a platformer on one screen while simultaneously playing Breakout on the other.

Just talking about it is enough to make our stomachs all queasy.

Devilish coming to the US after basically FOREVER

Only two years after the Japanese release date, and sixteen years after the original Game Gear release, Devilish: Ball Bounder has an American publisher.

Devilish is a Breakout-style game with complex level design, and, well, devilish trappings. UFO Interactive has it listed for a US release in "Summer 2007", though EBGames says the 17th of this month.

It may not matter when the thing is coming out, because apparently it's far less than perfect. Being the rabid Arkanoid fans we are, we're still intrigued, although Devilish lacks touchscreen control and we always used the analog controller for Arkanoid.

Nervous Brickdown brings sexy back to Breakout

Nervous Brickdown breathes new life into the Arkanoid-Breakout genre, updating its basic template with ten distinct gameplay modes. This might be Arkedo Studio's first game for any console, but the charming soundtrack and highly-stylized environments -- ranging from 70s mod to playful retro -- really give Nervous Brickdown a first-rate polish that other Breakout-clones usually lack. The break-a-brick game takes advantage of the Nintendo DS' hardware, making use of the system's touchscreen, microphone, and WiFi (multiplayer) features.

Ecrans has a few videos showing how hectic the game can get as it forces you to dodge bullets, fight bosses, and catch items, all while keeping the ball in play. No release date has been announced yet, but we're happy to hear that Eidos has picked this title up for publishing. You will definitely be hearing more about Nervous Brickdown from us in the future.

[Thanks, Sebastien!]

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