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Review: Fireball 3 *alpha
On the 'welcome' window, the author says that 'this is a project to make the best breakout game ever!' and believe me, he's not far off.
This game comes in a Clickteam installer, but don't be put off by that, people who don't hold with that sort of thing - it really needs it. The author had the foresight to include such things as fonts used in the game to prevent wonky displays, and I haven't played many games which do that. Off to a good start, then.
On starting the game, you're treated to a brilliantly drawn title screen and atmospheric music - sadly the music lasts only about five seconds, but you can't have everything. Clicking on the 'Options' button gives a Windows menu where you can select the ball speed (Standard, Optimal or Classic - not too well explained if you ask me) and music. The first thing I noticed in this menu was the option to play your own music CD as part of the background, so I threw in the album with probably the longest title in the world (Iron Savior: Protect Atlantis And Conquer The Alliance, for those who don't know).
On closer inspection of the sound menu, the author really has catered for everyone - files of type mp3, wav and any module file can be played, along with the standard game music, which is very well written and atmospheric, but won't be to everyone's taste (that being something I lack according to many people). Top marks there. After making my choices, the obvious thing to do was click on 'Play'.
The game itself is an unusual breakout game in the fact that you don't control one bat at the bottom of the screen, but four around the edges instead. That's fine when you only have to cope with one axis at a time, but when the ball reached a corner I found that controlling two bats at the same time took some getting used to. Perhaps I was a bit distracted by Kai Hansen's screaming in the background, I don't know.
The second time through, I found that trying to keep the mouse pointer on the ball helped a little. Now, about this mouse pointer: It seems strange to have it on the screen at all until you realise that it has to be given the job of selecting spells and items as well. To my knowledge these aren't in the alpha version, and it seems a bit of a clumsy system. Who knows, it might work, though.
At first, the game feels like a battle against the controls, but after while you begin to get used to them. It's something that should be looked at, though - perhaps using the keyboard for the top menus? The graphics, as you'll have seen from the screenshots, are nothing short of amazing, and it almost fools you into thinking that you're not playing an MMFusion game. It's only the alpha version, so it won't last you long, but I won't let that affect the score. I'm looking forward to the full version of this...
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David Newton (DavidN)