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Released: 1987

Genre: Strategy

Format reviewed: Commodore 64

Publisher: Elite

Developer: Jason Benham

Submitted by: James Evans

Quite an obvious Breakout or Arkanoid copy down to the usual powerups – even down to very similar graphics. Yes I know thats not exactly difficult what with the subject matter but even the backdrops are similar.

So why write a review on it then? Simple, unlike its stable mates you can do two player co-op. It works incredibly well, to stop both ships striking each other, a small vertical wall is in the centre of the screen which you can not move through. This small wall does add a bit of extra depth in that you can hit the ball off it as well. Once the game speeds up it does get very frantic. The other difference is the small orb at the top of the screen – this bounces the ball back once hit hindering your progression. That and getting into a wrestle with your brother mid game as it was his fault we died.

I have it on a Commodore Force tape and do not remember any other game that was on the tape – showing just how addictive the game was. Arkanoid had the more polished visuals, especially Revenge of Doh, but for sheer fun I think Batty pips it.


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Released: 1987

Genre: Puzzle

Format reviewed: ZX Spectrum

Publisher: Hit-Pak

Developer: Elite

Submitted by: Darran Jones

Imagine picking up the latest console magazine and finding the latest AAA hit attached to it. Believe it or not, that’s exactly what happened one evening in 1987 when I wandered down to my local newsagents with my best mate, Paul, and picked up the latest issue of Your Sinclair. The game in question was called Batty, and to Paul and myself it appeared to be little more than a bog-standard clone of Imagine’s recently released Arkanoid – how wrong we were…

While Batty looked and played similarly to the classic coin-op hit, it boasted plenty of smart extras that elevated it above Imagine’s full-priced effort. The actual visuals were big bold and chunky and very colourful. The game’s many aliens actually retaliated by dropping bombs on you and there were plenty of cool power-ups that ranged from extending the size of your bat, to a handy set of jets that would conveniently boost you to the next, tougher level.

For all its solid level design, bold visuals and gripping gameplay, there was one element of Batty that lifted it above all other similar games and made it untouchable – the amazing simultaneous two-player mode.Rather than take turns, each player simply guarded one half of the screen and shared a set number of lives between them. Whilst this cleverly stopped you from getting your bats mixed up (although it limited the amount of power-ups you could collect) it didn’t help the poor sod who was unfortunate enough to let Batty’s ball slip past his defences, as he normally got a mouthful of abuse from his team-mate.

Batty didn’t stay exclusive for very long as it eventually appeared on a compilation, and at a budget price. While it lasted though, lucky Spectrum owners were treated to something very special indeed. And to think Elite turned down the opportunity to publish it…