Unicum

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Comments (6)
Andreas Koch - 01/11/2019
Come on, Monk!

Unicum was just a type-in listing in a german magazine named Happy Computer. You cannot expect commercial quality of a type-in listing, can you ? And still this simple type-in beats several commercial Arkanoid clones on the A8. And errmm, since the type-in listing appeared in a german magazine, it of course uses german language, what else do you expect ? Look at some type-ins from french, spanish, polish or czech magazines, they also use their native language! Not the whole world speaks english (and luckily Germany did NOT win the war, so the whole world does not speak german)... ;-)
Monk - 01/11/2019



Unicum shows that Atari can do a good version of Arkanoid - technically speaking. The ball looks good and moves smoothly, and the sound effects are more lively, the tiles look much better, and very colorful, and all in all, it's a great improvement on many ways.

Too bad it doesn't support paddles!

However, comparing this to the C64 Arkanoid, there are still many things missing. The sound effects aren't still -as- interesting in Unicum, there's still no proper music or ditties, and all-in-all, the sound world isn't quite up to par.

There's still no title picture or spaceship sprite animation when you start a game.

The backgrounds look lackluster, greyish and too bright (just look at C64, Amiga, Arcade or even Atari Arkanoid's backgrounds for comparison), and it seems to be the same pattern on many levels (I only got to second level, though, so this may change).

There doesn't seem to be many animated sprites moving about the screen, although they're a part of the Arkanoid experience.

The worst part, however, is the level design. With good level design, and especially paddle controls, this could be an excellent game that would hold my interest for a long time.

But the very first two levels seem to have been built around 'too many unbreakable bricks'-design, which only makes things frustrating and annoying, having to always aim the ball so it -might- end up in a place where it can finally break some bricks.

Arkanoid games are supposed to be about breaking bricks, not about having to shoot the ball -just-right- to get to break a couple of bricks, then having to try to do it over and over again to break a couple more.

Play the C64 game 'Krakout' to see how level design is done right, and how those unbreakable bricks are used perfectly and properly sparingly (there are a couple of levels where they're used in an annoying way, but it's still not as bad as Unicum's level design).

Especially the FIRST (or first two) level(s) should be more fun to play, without added annoyances.

I didn't try the extra levels, which might have been better, but as there was no paddle controls (my main point of playing these games), and game felt lackluster compared to the C64 Arkanoid in almost every way except the colorful bricks, anyway, I didn't really have enough motivation, to.

To add to this, since I'd rather play 'Krakout' than even the C64/Amiga/Arcade Arkanoid, playing Unicum just didn't deliver.

And what is with this german language stuff? It's not very universal to use a localized language in a game. Make your games english, regardless of what language you speak, for crying out loud. Most people in the world do not speak or understand your localized language, whether it's german, french or korean.

LS - 11/04/2010
Great stuff.
Andreas Koch - 25/01/2008
Well,
the extra-levels had also been published in a Happy computer magazine (thus, Top Magazine was not the first!). They promised to publish the level-editor also, but alas, it never happened. But clever people found out how to add new levels to Unicum and so I have two or more versions (with different levels) of the game in my collection... -Andreas Koch.
steve - 14/11/2007
Technically unicum is better programmed than arkanoid - the game that unicum is obviously developed from. The graphics sprite movement and handling are responsive, naturally so and are as smooth as silk. The sound is great too, it omits the sometimes questionable collision detection in arkanoid too. But let us not forget where this game is derived from. Excellent programming and highly enjoyable.
Thorsten Günther - 08/11/2007
This is undoubtedly the best Arkanoid/Breakout version on the 8-bit Atari computer. Forget the awful official Arkanoid conversion.

Screenshots

Unicum atari screenshot
Unicum atari screenshot
Unicum atari screenshot
Unicum atari screenshot

Information

GenreArcade - Breakout / Pong / CircusYear1988
LanguageMachine LanguagePublisherHappy Computer
ControlsJoystickDeveloper
Players1, 2 (sim.), DemoCountryGermany
Programmer(s)

Christiansen, André

LicenseMagazine
Graphic Artist(s)Medium
SoundRarity
Cover Artist(s)Serial
Dumpdownload atari Unicum Download

Additional Comments

This version features a set of extra levels first published in Top Magazin. Just press SHIFT+L followed by SHIFT+1 at the title screen and RETURN at the prompt.
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