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Published by Surrealix Productions
Price $14.95
Primary Genre Secondary Genre

Remember Arkanoid? This is a game that has been varied, cloned and rewritten in so many different ways that it's hard to believe there are any variations left to try. I've even seen a game called "Honeyball" on a mobile phone. Now comes Radia - a new take on the genre that attempts to renew interest.

Radia's menu. Rising Tide - be quick!

In this version, your task is to destroy an object in the centre of the play area by smashing holes with a bat and ball. Sounds familiar? This is a curved bat, rotating around the object in a large circle. Destroy enough of the object (95%) and you move on to the next level, with a new object.

There are three ways to play Radia. Rising Tide has a time limit, depicted by the water level. Ice Age is not timed, but snowflakes constantly fall onto the screen and stick to the central object, so if you're too slow your task can be never-ending. Deadbeat is the hardest of the three modes - explosives fly into the screen and blow into fragments. Any that hit your bat will shrink or destroy it.

Ice Age - complete with sticky snowflakes. Deadbeat - bombs can shorten your bat.

Radia is controlled by mouse, using the left button to launch the ball. I found the controls to be awkward - especially when one's bat goes 'upside-down', when the directions are obviously reversed. Too often the ball will fly off at an unpredictable tangent and leave you to scramble to catch it. This is compounded by the habit the ball has of travelling along or through your bat!

There are lots of pickups too. Many more than you'd expect. Those that lengthen your bat or provide extra lives are very useful, but they often appear in a cloud of pickups which include the exact opposite. Since you're normally too busy trying to see where the ball has got to, there is usually no tactical advantage in grabbing them.

Graphically, Radia is nothing to write home about. A rather simplistic layout is combined with a range of images for the 'levels', such as rendered images of seagulls. Sound effects are limited in number but okay. The in-game music is the strongest area for Radia, with four pleasant and upbeat tracks, but good music alone won't make a weak game better.

Radia has an interesting concept behind it, but this has been badly executed in many minor, awkward ways. Though collision detection is the worst of these, there are other oddities. For instance, when you lose all your lives, the game does not end. You must press ESC to quit the game, even though there's nothing you can do except twirl your bat around the screen. Moreover, when I first started the game, I went to the HELP option to see what I had to do. It switched to Internet Explorer, displayed the game information, and after reading it I tried to return to the game. It had closed down. I had to load it up again.

Radia is a good idea in theory. If the playability issues are resolved, this could become a good idea in practice too.

Graphics 62%
Sound 70%
Playability 30%
Longevity 38%
Overall Score 48%
No Award

Published on 11 Feb 2004
Reviewed by Andrew Williams

Keywords: radia review, surrealix productions reviews, surrealix productions games, radia scores, pc game reviews, indie game reviews, independent gaming.