Review by CasaDeJoey

Reviewed: 11/01/99 | Updated: 11/01/99

It's Arkenoid for GameBoy... only not as fun.

I first played Arkenoid for the NES about seven years ago at a friend's house. I loved it. It was like nothing I had ever seen before. A small, rectangular pod would move left and right, hitting a ball back and fourth, bouncing it off of hundreds of little blocks at the top of the screen.

For years I thought about getting the game, but always wanted newer, more expensive games instead of something old. Maybe I should have gotten a copy of Arkenoid for the NES, but I never did.

Then in 1995, I read about Alleyway, an ancient GameBoy game in the same genre as Arkenoid. It had a few pics, showing off some of the Mario/Koopa bonus stages. That, and the fact that I didn't have any game like it, really made me want to get this game.

But it wasn't until 1996 --when I sold my Genisis and a bunch of games-- that I was at FuncoLand with $90 in store credit and in the market for used GameBoy games. I looked through the glass covering all of the GB games and immediately spotted Alleyway. For only $8 off my credit, I got what I thought would be an excellent purchase. At first it seemed to be, but let me tell you, the old saying "You get what you pay for" really stands out with Alleyway.

Gameplay: 5
Pretty boring most of the time. I find myself turning the game off more than I do turning it on. I think "simple" would have been a great subtitle for this one. Unlike Arkenoid, all you find yourself doing is just bouncing a ball off the walls, watching it fall back down, catching it before it explodes, repeat. Fun... for the first twenty minutes of play.

The game only has three basic patterns for levels, all of which get larger/smaller as the game progresses; still (levels that don't move, the blocks just stay completely still, very easy), platforming (the blocks move left all accross the screen and come out the other side, much like some platforms use to do in old 8-bit action/adventures) and falling (the blocks slowly move down, all in one clump, but as long as you don't die, you can't lose a ball, even if you managed to miss every single block until they've all disappeared from falling!).

Even the later levels, which are supposed to be harder (some are actually easier, because your ball will get trapped in the blocks and diminish them in no time), get old rather fast.

Sound/Music: 3
Hasn't the portable gaming community suffered enough? Little bleeps, dootles and dings just don't cut it. A character that looks exactly like Mario (his outfit is green on the GameBoy Color though, so he's more like Luigi then) is the star of the game, so why didn't Nintendo just stick some of the original Super Mario Bros. tunes in there? Some of those songs were great...

Graphics: 4
Very, very simple. No detailed backgrounds or interesting characters in this game, nope, all you get is a bunch of... blocks to destroy. The Mario made up of blocks for the bonus stage was kinda neat, though.

Replayability: 4
I doubt you'll play this game too much. Girls seem to like it a lot (my sister loves it), but if it wasn't for her, this game would get no use in this house, or anywhere else either, since it's sitting by itself on my desk collecting dust most of the time.

Should I buy Alleyway?: No.
If you want a game in this genre, get Arkenoid instead, or hope that a third party N64 developer gets a hold of that brand name and creates a four-player game called "The NEW Arkenoid!" Wouldn't that be somethin'?

Rating:   2.5 - Playable

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