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Alley Way

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Released: 1989

Genre: Sports

Format reviewed: Game Boy

Publisher: Nintendo

Developer: Intelligent Systems

Submitted by: Paul Driscoll

I have always been a fan of the Bat ‘n Ball genre as when its done right can become so addictive. I must confess that for me Arkanoid was the worst thing to happen to the genre… The reason is after that, every subsequent game became a clone of it, full of whizzing aliens, rubbishy power-ups and multi ball malarkey to worry about.

Alley Way was one of the launch titles for the Gameboy and like many of the early Gameboy release it took full advantage of the machines strengths and side stepped its weaknesses. This meant the designers had to avoid all the Arkanoid trappings and instead go down the traditional route of just bat, ball and brick.

That’s not to say the games isn’t stacked full of ideas. Each level is a surprising delight of layouts with each one offering something new, such as the blocks all steadily lowering towards you, or horizontally scrolling blocks. Then after each third level you also get a famous Mario character drawn out in blocks which you must cleared to gain an extra life.

The reason I love this game is you can feel the love that’s been showered upon it by the master himself Gunpei Yokoi (Metroid, Game & Watch and Gameboy Designer).

The controls are spot on throughout with things never getting impossibly crazy and the bat always being fully responsive and going where you want it to. Each of the 24 levels are delight always offering something slightly different to what went before and keeping you on your toes.

Admittedly the Mario license has obviously just been tagged on to make sales and hardly makes a difference to the game. But certainly the license has no detrimental affect to the proceedings and seeing the Mario themed bonus rounds is a nice touch that keeps you playing.

This game always gets slated in the magazines, but the usual reason cited is because it doesn’t copy Arkanoid!!

I say make you r own mind up. Track down a copy and give it a whirl