Giganoid logo

FIRST there was Pong, then there was Arkanoid and now there is Giganoid from Swiss Computer Arts. This time it is set in the year 2758 when the galaxy is ruled by a powerful masterdemon. You must battle your way through 50 mazes to the final confrontation with the grandmaster of power. When he is destroyed peace can once again be restored to the universe.

The 50 mazes are composed of a variety of multicoloured bricks which must be hit with your ball until they are knocked out. After destroying all the bricks you continue to the next level where you are either faced with another level or a battle with the demons.

The demons form a bonus level in which you must return the balls they fire at you. Success in this rather difficult task is rewarded with the chance to skip up to four levels, depending upon how many balls you managed to return.

At various intervals you are also required to fight larger demons similar to the one at the end of Arkanoid and, of course, on the final level you must destroy the master of power, who is very similar to earlier demons but much, much harder to defeat.

As in the original, we are blessed with a variety of tokens which give the player different powers, including twin balls, lasers, slow ball, level skips and bonus lives. These tokens are much harder to obtain than in Arkanoid, because they fall to the bottom of the screen very slowly. And at exactly the moment you need to catch the token the ball is also speeding towards the ground and oblivion.

The Giganoid graphics are better than in Arkanoid. Both the backgrounds and the sprites are excellently shaded and the animation is of a very high standard, if a little slow. Sound effects during the game are sampled and reflect the general happy atmosphere.

The programming is good and bug free. Even the hi-score table is innovative and stylish. If you were one of the few who didn't buy the popular and famous Arkanoid I can strongly recommend that you should go for Giganoid instead as it offers much more long term interest and a higher standard of gameplay, graphics and programming.

Giganoid logo

Swiss Computer Arts, £14.99 disk

It's the year 2758, and the galaxy is suffering under the despotic thumb of a mighty Master Demon. In this Demon's labyrinth there are 50 caverns to explore and destroy by deflecting a bouncing bomb off individual units with your spacecraft (oh, so that's it...). Ultimately, you will face the Gatekeeper and Grandmaster, and only when they are defeated the galaxy will be liberated.

Giganoid (in case you hadn't guessed) is a variation on the Break-Out/Arkanoid formula, with 50 screens of block groups to destroy. You steer the bat at the bottom of the screen with the mouse, trying to bounce the ball onto an array of bricks above to destroy them, your aim being to clear the screen of bricks while keeping the ball in play.

Some of the bricks need to be hit more than once, and others release a bonus capsule when hit. If caught, capsules can help you by extending the size of your bat, giving you a magnetized bat, the ability to shoot bricks, or aid your quest in some other way, perhaps by advancing to the next level.

Bonus rounds appear occasionally: In The Demons, you select a level of difficulty by pressing a key from one to four to choose the number of balls to be spat out by small Demon heads. If all balls are deflected, you advance the number of screens equal to your chosen skill level. It's a lot easier to play than to explain, that's for sure.

The gatekeeper and Grandmaster mark the final stages of the game, and these ultimate adversaries spit out fireballs as the ball hits them. Repeated hits will destroy the Gatekeeper and the Grandmaster, and render the universe a safe place in which to live, have babies and build condominiums.

Gordon Houghton This could cause a few legal wrangles! Giganoid is VERY similar to another game with a similar name, even down to the 'Vaus' type ship and the bonus capsules that fall down the screen. However, I actually prefer it to Arkanoid, mainly due to the excellent sound, from the opening 'Everybody out there ready?' sample, through the gunshots and pings to the didgeridoo on the highscore entry. The graphics are virtually identical to Arkanoid only varying in the brick layouts - the addition of a bonus level does a little to the proceedings, but there are no particular advances in gameplay. If you already have the Imagine original or Audiogenic's impressive Impact, don't bother with Giganoid, if you don't, this is the one to check out.
Maff Evans The number of Arkanoid clones on the 16-bit machines is already remarkable, and here, complete with '- anoid' suffix, is yet another. Indeed, Giganoid is the most blatant version yet, with identical bat, bonus capsules, and screen surrounds. Stand by for a possible joint Imagine/Taito legal case against Swiss Computer Arts! The game of Giganoid itself, though, is unlikely to cause any ripples, as it is just the usual very competently programmed affair with no real improvements over Impact, my own favorite of the genre. Anyone who hasn't seen the many other interpretations of the theme should be well impressed with Giganoid, but only an unusual highscore table screen with impressive rotating coloured bars and didgeridoo samples stick in my mind.