Taito's other remake of a classic franchise, Arkanoid DS, came out the same day as Space Invaders Extreme, and for the same price too. For those unfamiliar with Arkanoid, the gist of the game is that it's Breakout, but with power-ups. The original Arkanoid came out on just about every system known to man at the time, and it's sequels were also ported to several systems. Now Taito brings us the latest in the series, Arkanoid DS. Is this classic series revival in the same league as it's Space Invaders brethren?
Unlike Space Invaders Extreme, the main gameplay in Arkanoid DS doesn't differ too much from previous installments in the series. The game's main mode, Clear Mode, simply has you progressing through the game's stages, breaking blocks to clear levels. Clear Mode also has a Darius-like branching level system, ensuring that you won't see the entire game in a single playthrough. More interesting is Quest Mode, which takes you through the same set of levels, but gives you certain requirements that need to be fufilled in order to complete the stage. The game also takes advantage of Nintendo WiFi Connection for multiplayer and worldwide ranking purposes.
I personally got tired of Arkanoid DS pretty quickly. I'm a big fan of these kind of games, but Arkanoid seemed too plain for me. Maybe if I had one of those nifty paddle controllers it'd be different, but sadly I don't. One big plus I can give the game, though, is that the music is absolutely awesome. There's one track in particular that was stuck in my head for hours after I'd turned my DS off (it has vocals!). The visuals are nice, and you have the ability to customize everything from the blocks you're breaking to your paddle to the music and background of a stage, which is an interesting feature, but it doesn't have any bearing on the core gameplay at all. And on a side note, where's Doh? The staple villain of the series, Easter Island-headed Doh, is nowhere to be found. And that's just disappointing (well, for fans of Doh at least).
There really isn't that much more to say about Arkanoid DS. It's not a terrible game by any means, but not a great one either. Other games on the DS have out-Arkanoided Arkanoid DS. It's classic Arkanoid, but that's all it is, and you can't help but feel that Taito could have done more with the game (especially if you look at Space Invaders Extreme). Fans of the series will definitely get some enjoyment out of it, especially if you import the paddle controller, but those like me who were looking for something a bit more will likely be disappointed.
Images courtesy of Square Enix.