E3 06: Break 'Em All Hands On

Are you a bad enough dude to Break 'Em All? You'll find out in the DS Arkanoid clone from D3 publishing.

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LOS ANGELES--Arkanoid. The name evokes memories of many broken blocks at the top of a screen in the middle of the 1980s. Well, using the most advanced handheld technology from the 21st century, D3 has recreated our childhood memories in a portable form for the Nintendo DS in the appropriately titled Break 'Em All.

The basics of Break 'Em All are indeed familiar to any player of Arkanoid: You control a platform at the bottom of a screen that you use to bounce a small ball upward, toward a set of blocks at the top of the screen. You have to manipulate the platform with your stylus for the DS, which is fairly simple. All you have to do is keep your stylus pressing down on the platform, and you can drag it back and forth to keep the ball bouncing toward the top of the screen. If you miss the ball and let it get to the bottom of the screen, though, you lose one of your lives.

One of the unique aspects of Break 'Em All is the inclusion of a Tokoton mode, which randomly generates sequences of blocks to ensure that you have unique and new experiences within the game. We didn't get to see that portion of the game in action, but we did manage to take on the game's quest mode, which sees you effectively fighting through a kind of dungeon in search of a boss monster, of all things. As you proceed through the dungeon, you'll have to break enough of the blocks above you to uncover a small passage, then get your ball through the passage in order to move on to the next room. The dungeon we played through had three or four rooms before the boss fight, which we tried and failed to beat.

The bosses in Break 'Em All appear to have custom graphics, as was the case for the Phoenix boss that we were taking on. In order to defeat the boss, we had to ram our ball into the sides of a small throat-like appendage to open it up so that our ball could enter it from below. Unfortunately, large flippers on either side of the throat would rotate around, causing the ball to randomly either pass by them or get knocked back down to us, forcing us to be on the ball (get it? get it?) to prevent it from being lost off the bottom of the screen.

You can also pick up numerous power-ups as you play through the game. The two we happened to use were Catch, which lets you use your paddle to catch the ball and launch it again when you feel comfortable doing so, and Bomb, which causes the ball to destroy multiple blocks around its point of impact. We're told that there's also a Laser power, and we were shown one that, helpfully, extended the size of your platform to help eliminate ball losses.

With the release of Break 'Em All scheduled for just over a month after E3, you can expect GameSpot to have a full review of the game as soon as it hits.

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