Death’s Hangover is an enjoyable brick breaker clone with a lot of diversity and things that kill the doldrums of the genre. Rather than breaking all the blocks or barrels in this case, you either need to break through a wide exit gate at the other side of the screen and then exit. This makes a “break-through” rather than a brick breaker. There are bosses, blocks, tricks and traps that get in the way. It’s a simple game, as most block breakers are, but it’s a fun game enhanced with arcade quality sound effects that add some punch to everything.
Two girls wake up in a dungeon after what I assume is a night of drinking and must now escape a castle or kill Dracula. There’s a story, but a lot of it, I button mashed my way through. So one girl hops in a metal ball while the other girl controls the paddle at the bottom of the screen. I assume when one dies, they both perish.
You can only move left and right while dodging projectiles and enemies. Killing enemies results in bloody green or red goo that’s a visual treat. Maneuvering around projectiles while keeping your ball out of the pit becomes the big issue. Most enemies move forward, but later on they get more challenging. Some enemies shoot, others head toward you at a slow pace, while others hide behind shields and bounce the ball back at you. This diversity keeps the game fun and engaging.
The game has several themed areas as you crawl up a castle. Each area has several rooms that go by quick since you only need to bash the exit and move your ball through. Some rooms feel as if their only purpose is to collect power-ups and souls for later. Bosses are frequent as are enemy rooms where you need to slaughter X amount of enemies before you can break through the gate. Still other rooms feel more typical with a twist. Typical barrels block the path while other times there are moving or shifting blocks to get in the way.
As for themes, you start in the dungeon, get to the sewer where water lanes act conveyor belts for your ball, get to an arena where the fans riot and pile into the screen and even reach a point where the side walls that secure you into a lane can break away. Each area has its own enemies and dreary look. There is a limited, dark castle dungeon-esque color scheme that may turn away some, but the game’s charm and fun makes up for it.
Breaking barrels has a chance to release an item such as multi-ball that breaks your single ball into three, a double dart gun, a fireball and a bomb that will destroy anything in its radius. Once you have a power-up or weapon you can fire at will. Since the object is to get your ball out the door, multi-balls will only go with you, if you get them to the exit.
Along the way, you’ll also find souls. These are optional collectables, that have a big impact on game overs. With a soul, you can use them to gamble on a big wheel for prizes like extra lives. It’s a nice frill to keep you in game. When you think you’ve lost, here are more lives.
While you’re on your journey, you’ll have a reaper guiding you with brief lines of dialog as a hint for each new level. Between areas of the castle, you’ll see silly dialog between the blonde working the paddle and the drunk dullard forced to be in the ball. While the dialog seems unnecessary in a genre like this, it does add to the fun and charm.
With the robust sounds, dreary colors, quirky comedy, quick levels, it makes this game feel like an addictive arcade game from a different era. For the cheap price, it’s worth the hand full of quarters.