Thursday, February 11, 2021

Matter of Import 032: Field Goal (Arcade, 1979)

 Field Goal is Taito's 1979 contribution to the Breakout clone market, this time dressed up as a sports game. Your paddle, as always, appears at the bottom of the screen, while arcs of football helmets in three rings begin to rotate at the top. These are the blocks you need to destroy – blue, yellow, and red – to reach the goal at the top center of the screen.

Each row of helmets is – as you'd expect – worth successively more points, and you get a bonus for each row you clear. The goal itself starts out as worth 300 points... but as you play, a football player will occasionally pop up mid-field. Hitting them with the ball adds the value of their jersey x100 to the Goal's value; if it exceeds 1000, it'll alternate with the word Extra. If you can time your field goal to hit when this is displayed, you get an extra life.

As with all games of this type, the ball's speed accelerates as you play. In Field Goal, this isn't tied to the game clock or the number of times it's bounced, but is instead relatively random... leading to an uneven and chaotic feel of progression.

There's also something about the graphics and font that makes the game look even more primitive than others of its era, maybe this is just poor aesthetic choices, but I found the clashing red blue and yellow on green difficult to look at after awhile.

As a Breakout game it's not too bad, no Arkanoid, but brings a little something extra to the genre... it might have been impressive in 1977 or 78, but this is a 1979 game, released by the same company that released Space Invaders the year before. It's forgettable. Taito can do better. I give it a D.

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