for PC (CGA)

Company: Lacral
Year: 1988
Genre: Action
Theme: Abstract
Language: Français
Licence: Freeware
Views: 17399
Review by Moebius (2015-06-13)

Is it Breakout? Is it Arkanoid? No, it's PopCorn! Whaat?! Yep, that's right. A French response from Lacral to all ye bat-and-ball addicts out there! Your mission here is as usual to do away with all the bricks you can see in the game while avoiding nasties, avoiding losing the ball, and finally come out a winner. Ready? Go! A little renowned but by no means inferior 'breakanoid' so to speak, as it sure does have quite a lot to offer, includes all the evolved features of the preceding versions and despite its failed glory it yet has the full privelege of being placed in the same camp among other successful products that truly defined the Breakout-style gaming.

This is clearly an Arkanoid derived game. And although it may seem like it migrated from another platform, as is the case with most other PC games until mid 90s, and few of them were made exclusively for IBM PC, with the exception of myriads of multiplatform projects, but guess what, this here was in fact written for PC only, and no other machine. I'm not exactly sure what the very title PopCorn intends to signify, perhaps it's the popping sound of the chipped off bricks, in which case i would kindly inquire as to which part exactly conceals the corn as such, or once again French authors came up with something admirably random, which isn't going to be the subject of our criticism.

What will be, in fact, are two things. First, the starting animation sequence is ridiculously slow, and on top of that absolutely no way of skipping it. I still remember undergoing torture of waiting it all through and the pain was particularly acute if I happened to quit the game accidentally. And second: CGA in 1988? For this game? I think that's a serious setback, and partly the reason behind its little recognition, let alone the usual lack of support for any newer machines, which typically finds expression in unrestricted speed as the latter was normally bound to CPU performance capability, which is a sad case out of great many of course, especially when it comes to early CGA-EGA games. Luckily for us, all that is now easily solved with DOSBox.

Now to the good points. The afore cursed slow animation as of now shall be praised. For a CGA game it's not half bad. Overall graphics are fitting even for 1990. The brick layouts on every stage are fairly unique and what supposed to be enemies is rather bizarre yet quite amusing. I can't see how the much venerated Arkanoid is any superior to that other than having an EGA support earlier in 1986, which in all actuality seems to be its only major advantage. In every other respect PopCorn quite accurately measures up to Arkanoid, and I would further venture to assume that it excels the latter in little ways, like greater number of enemies with somewhat varying degree of malignancy, or the number of falling letters, which also seem to exceed those of Arkanoid.

In conclusion, what we're having here is another undeservedly lost gem, partly due to its certain internal flaws and undoubtedly video adapter limitation. This simply HAD to be made into EGA at least. Furthermore, you will be greatly astonished to know that in 2013 they released an Android version of this game, which includes some cool new features, BUT… the palette as such was left as is. I understand the nostalgic factor behind it and tribute to memories and tradition, but… c'mon, CGA time is long behind, you could at least implement a dual mode feature, classic CGA and full color, so that players could switch between desired palettes. Perhaps that was a little too much for a small Android device as it could explode of overwork while drawing colors… or maybe someone was simply too lazy to re-paint the game. Sounds legit to me.

Oh well, CGA or not, this game is still a monumental piece of art, and has to be included in World's Breakout Hits & Misses compilation.

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