What do you get when you combine a Paddle game like Arkanoid and a 3D Shooter game like Doom? You get Breakfree, a 3D Paddle game where you 'shoot' fireballs against walls similar to your average Paddle game but with a 1st Person Perspective approach.
The object of the game is to "break free", of which is done by destroying the (breakable) walls with the "balls" or in this case the fireballs you have. The fireballs will bounce back to you, of which you will bounce them back to the walls using your (invisible) paddle in front of you. Certain (red brick) walls, have bonuses that you have to 'catch' after you destroy them with your fireball. When you lose all your fireballs, gameover.
One of the more innovative Arkanoid/Breakout clones, Breakfree is essentially 3D version Breakout with some interesting twists. The object of the game is to break free from each level by destroying all the breakable walls with your fireballs. When you lose your last fireball, the game is over. You can keep your fireballs in play by bouncing them off an invisible paddle directly in front of you. As in a typical Breakout game, you must constantly predict where each fireball will return and move to intercept it. You can move forward, backward, and from side to side, with either the arrow keys or the mouse.
There are some interesting twists on the familiar gameplay that make Breakfree more than just another clones. For example, there are many different kinds of walls and bonus items to collect. Some walls release objects when destroyed, while others require multiple hits. In addition to bonus objects, there are also "penalty objects" that you should avoid. On some levels, you can collect a gun and ammo - this is a more powerful weapons you can use alongside your typical fireballs. Naturally, bullets you fire do not bounce back like fireballs, so you must conserve ammo because it is hard to come by. You can carry the gun and ammo over from level to level, so you can save it for tougher walls.
While the ideas are good, the execution of Breakfree leaves much to be desired. The graphics are drab, and looks more like EGA resolution than VGA. Too many walls look too similar to each other, and the illusion of depth is not very good - I had a hard time distinguishing walls near me (i.e. that I haven't destroyed) from walls that are far away from me. This makes the game more difficult than it should be as you cannot easily gauge your progress. Better graphics would have made the game a lot more fun. As it stands, Breakfree is an above-average Breakout game that is fun only for a short while.
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