When Breakout broke out way back in '73, you probably never thought you'd be playing variations on TV ping pong for ever. Thankfully, fifteen years later, we're enjoying versions that possess only a passing resemblance to the original.
Jinks has taken the concept to new levels of sophistication using the Amiga's graphics and sound capabilities imaginatively and humorously. As clones go this is up there with the likes of Arkanoid, though it's in the sound department that it rides the leading edge.
Simplicity all too often becomes complexity in Jinks. You control a triangular bat with which you hit a ball, and (surprise!) your object is to clear the level of blocks, thereby gaining points. Each level spreads over three or four screen widths, and the Amiga scrolls with effortless ease over the whole width as you go. You've got to escape to new levels by knocking the ball into a goal mouth at the far right of the current level.
All very straightforward but not that simple. Things begin to get a little out of hand as you come across all manner of diverse objects. These include hazards such as magnets, Atari signs (a nice bit of internecine warfare) and fish heads, which half the size of your triangle if you touch them, making control that much more difficult.
Luckily you can return the bat to normal size by pushing the ball through red cross symbols. Other objects merely serve to randomise the flow of the ball by acting as rebound devices, whilst smiling pairs of chattering teeth will bring your game to an end if they can swallow the ball. All very bizarre.
When you complete a level, a single-screen interlude appears where you must knock the ball into one of four areas in order to proceed. There are only four levels, but as you progress their level of difficulty correspondingly increases. As of course does your frustration; getting the ball to go exactly where you want it to go is very, very difficult.
There is no doubt about it, Jinks looks stunning. All animated movement is extremely smooth - loose screws, paper clips, revolving earths and flying pigs spin and turn with ease against solid slow-
The foreground action is fast; a ball-
Jinks is best described as a hybrid rather than a clone. It effectively combines Breakout and Pinball in a surreal mix of ingenious humour. The result is a gameplay comprising sufficient randomness to ensure you're back to that jazz-
If there's one criticism it has to be the wait-
All in all, Jinks is a game which goes to prove that the Amiga can turn lightweight concepts into heavy