Professional, Originally Released On Cassette Only
Game Type : Arcade; Bat 'N Ball Style
Author : Gary Partis
Standalone Release(s) : None
Compilation Release(s) : 1988: IMPACT, Acornsoft, £9.95
Stated compatibility : Electron Side A, BBC Side B
Actual compatibility : As stated
Supplier : AUDIOGENIC, Winchester House, Canning Road, HARROW HA3 7SJ
Disc compatibility : CDFS E00, DFS E00
"Trapped - in a 1970s arcade game! Every escape route is blocked by a wall of brightly coloured bricks. Powerfully addictive, IMPACT has 80 built in screens, but if you prefer you can design your own - as hard, as simple, as much fun as you like. Hidden on each screen are special tokens - catch them if you can. Use them to buy one of nine powerful weapons, or keep them until the end of the screen to score a bonus. If you thought the fun had gone out of computer games, then IMPACT is the game that'll change your mind!"
"Colourful, fast, noisy and addictive...superb...No question that it deserves its Game of the Month status."
- A & B COMPUTING
The object is to demolish the wall on each screen - there are 80 in all. When you complete a screen, a password for that screen is displayed - this allows you to start the game on that screen, or to edit it using the designer.
Press RETURN to start the game, then again to launch the ball (after two seconds, the ball will launch automatically). Use the Z and X keys to move the bat left and right to hit the ball against the wall. If you miss the ball, you lose it - you start the game with five. Whenever the ball is caught on the bat, you can adjust its position by pressing the * key.
Most bricks are destroyed with a single hit from the ball, but some need to be hit more than once, whilst others are not only indestructible but also invisible.
Various alien life forms move about the screen as you play. Although they are not harmful, they can interfere by deflecting the ball. On some screens, the aliens drop small yellow stun bombs - if one of these hits the bat, it is paralysed for about a second. Aliens are destroyed on contact with either the bat or the ball. Each alien destroyed scores 1,000 points.
Tokens and Weapons
Some bricks contain yellow tokens which can be used to purchase weapons so catch them if you can. Any tokens unspent at the end of a screen score 1,000 points each (maximum 9,000 points). The nine possible weapons are represented by icons, and the weapon currently available for purchase is indicated by an underline. Press * to buy it.
Slowdown - 1 token
Halves the speed of the ball. May be selected more than once if you collect more tokens.
Magnet - 2 tokens
Allows you to catch the ball and hold it (for about two seconds).
Divide - 3 tokens
Splits the ball into three.
Wide - 4 tokens
Enlarges the bat.
Torch - 5 tokens
Lights up invisible bricks.
Laser - 6 tokens
When selected, you can fire laser bolts by pressing RETURN.
Smart bomb - 7 tokens
All aliens are removed from the screen and do not reappear.
Missile - 8 tokens
Up to three missiles can be launched, one at a time, by pressing RETURN. Missiles can destroy multi-hit bricks with a single hit.
Force field - 9 tokens
An invisible force-field encircles the ball and allows it to smash through bricks and aliens without being deflected. With the aid of the force-field, the ball can pass through, but not destroy indestructible bricks.
All weapons other than torch are lost when you lose a ball, or at the end of a screen. Some cannot be used together, e.g. laser and missile or magnet and divide - choosing one will cancel the other.
An extra ball is awarded after 50,000 points have been scored, and for every 50,000 points thereafter. On some screens you can gain an extra ball by destroying, in order, bricks marked with the letters B-O-N-U-S.
Stopping the Game
You can abort the game by pressing ESCAPE. Press P to pause the game, O to restart. The sound can be turned off by pressing Q; press S to re-enable the sound.
Designing Your Own Screens
You can redesign any of the 80 screens PROVIDED you know the password for the screen. Press E when the high score table is displayed. When you have designed a screen, press S to save it in memory.
Use the Z, X, * and ? keys to move around the screen and press RETURN to draw a brick. There are fifteen types of brick - types 01-07 and 09 are standard bricks in various different colours, 08 gives a multi-hit brick and 15 an invisible, indestructible brick. Brick types 10-14 display the bonus letters B-O-N-U-S. To erase bricks already drawn select type 00 and press RETURN. Use < and > to select the required brick type.
The points scored by destroying a brick depend on the colour, and vary between 100 and 400 points.
Instructions' Source : IMPACT (Audiogenic) Back and Inner Inlay
Review (Electron User) - "Feeling Bricked In?"
IMPACT is a masterpiece of gameplay involving a wall of bricks, a bouncing ball and a bat with which you must keep the ball in play until all of the bricks have been demolished.
IMPACT is a conversion from the Atari ST, but you'd never know it. Unlike most game conversions, which owe their heritage to some super-micro or other, IMPACT exhibits none of the tell-tale signs. All too often the programmer commissioned to produce a game conversion bites off more than can be chewed.
Gary Partis has come up with a game which looks and feels as if it was designed specifically for the Electron, and yet has stayed very close to the original.
If the game's theme sounds familiar, you're right. IMPACT has its origins way back in the old game of BREAKOUT. However, it is as different from BREAKOUT as a CRAY III mainframe is from a ZX81. For a start, the stars in the smoothly scrolling starfield move at different speeds. Nothing to do with the gameplay, but indicative of things to come.
The multi-coloured bricks - achieved in Mode 5 by the clever use of stippling - are arranged in quite a devious fashion. On the lower levels you simply demolish them, but as you progress past each screen different types of brick start to appear.
First of all come bricks which need to be hit more than once before they vanish, and later on there are some bricks which are not only indestructible, but invisible as well.
Adding to the fun are various aliens floating around the screen. Although harmless, if the ball touches them it can be badly deflected.
On later levels some aliens drop stun bombs, and if one of these hits your bat it will be paralysed for a second or so - lethal if the action is coming thick and fast at the time.
At the bottom right of the screen is a display panel showing nine different weapons which may be brought into play - the difficulty lies in obtaining them.
Some bricks, when destroyed, release yellow U-shaped tokens which float to the bottom of the screen, flipping end over end as they go. Catching one advances an indicator on the weapons panel, showing you which one you are currently entitled to buy - the more tokens collected, the better the weapon.
Pressing the : key selects the currently indicated weapon, which will remain active until either you are killed or you have completed the screen. Some of the weapons are:
Magnet: Allows you to hold the ball against the bat, letting you move to a better position before releasing it.
Torch: Once selected, this will light up invisible bricks for the remainder of the game.
Laser: Allows rapid fire to quickly destroy bricks.
Missile: Three can be launched, one at a time, after selecting this weapon. They can destroy multi-hit bricks in a single go.
Force field: Selecting this causes the ball to be encircled by an invisible force field which enables it to smash through bricks and aliens without being deflected.
Altogether eighty screens are crammed into the impressive game, and this brings us to the most interesting part of the program - the screen designer. Each time you successfully complete a level, a short password is flashed on the screen which, when entered into the screen designer later on, allows you to edit that particular level to your own liking.
The screen designer is selected from the high-score display. You will be asked to enter the password for that level, after which you are presented with the selected screen, which is now yours to do with as you will.
The Z, X, / and : keys move the editing cursor around the screen, and pressing <RETURN> places a brick at the current position. Altogether there are fifteen types of brick to select from, and the < and > keys move up or down through the brick types, displayed each one together with its number at the bottom right of the screen.
Here lies my only complaint. No key delay is built into the screen designer - as soon as one is pressed it begins repeating, and it is sometimes quite hard to stop the cursor exactly where you want without overshooting. The same applies to selecting a brick type; more often than not I found myself having to back-pedal.
These are minor points, however, and certainly don't detract from the delight of finally playing some of your own customised screens. You can save all eighty to tape, which means that you can swap your favourite screens with other IMPACT enthusiasts' creations.
IMPACT is now one of my all-time favourite Electron games, and it will take a rare program indeed to dislodge it from that position.
Sound ........................... 8
Graphics ........................ 9
Playability ..................... 9
Value for money ................ 10
Overall ......................... 9
"Electron User Golden Game"
Chris Nixon, ELECTRON USER 5. 6