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Hints and Tips by David-Artur Daix
Barrack has been released. Since this wonderful arcade game requires a
good deal of strategy to get very good scores, here are some tips to rank with
Hector among the best overachievers. Most of the following hints were first
offered by Antony Kiefer and myself during beta testing (BTW, Tony is the current
record holder with more than 5 million points).
First, two basic rules:
- save your lasers: w/o some, you can't follow most
of the strategies detailed below. Magnets are useful, but mainly if you need to
separate two nukes and there are a lot of balls around.
- grab multipliers,
4x preferably (obvious, isn't it ;).
To get very good scores, the solution is simple: you need to get a completion
level higher than 95%. That's it. With the right multiplier, you can get more
than 100,000 points that way. Here is how:
- 1 glass ball, 1-6 balls: Isolate the glass ball in an area bigger than
20% of the playing field. The bigger the area the better, since you will then be
able to grab power-ups appearing in there without ruining your strategy, i.e
without reducing this area below 20% of the playing field. To ensure this, just
grab the yummies along the edges.
Leave the glass ball alone for a while (except for grabbing yummies) and trap the
other balls separately in areas as small as possible. When you're done, shoot the
glass ball 3 times. Sure, you'll sacrifice 3 lives. But 98% is average.
- 1 glass ball, 1 nuke (or more): Isolate the glass ball in an area greater
than 20%. Detonate the nuke(s) with all the other balls present on the field.
Break the glass ball. 100% guaranteed.
NB: If there are too many balls to get them all with one nuke, try to
isolate 1 or 2 from the others, blow the rest with the nuke, and go for 98-99%
using the same strategy as described above.
- 2 glass balls:
- If you're short on lives, isolate the two glass
balls together in an area greater than 20% and try to reduce the remaining area as fast
as you can. If you're lucky, you'll have the time to cut most of the remaining
area, isolating the other balls in the process, before the glass balls break and
thus get an overachiever bonus. If not, too bad.
- If you can sacrifice 3 lives, proceed as described above by isolating 1 glass
ball. If you have a wealthy supply of lives, do not hesitate to isolate both
glass balls, making sure one of them is in an area greater than 20%. Box the
other balls and break both glass balls, finishing with the one you're sure is in
an area greater than 20%. Tip To save up to 4 lives, let the balls
colide once or, if you're really brave, twice before separating them. If all goes well,
you'll just have to sacrifice two lives to break both balls.
- The same rules apply if you get 1 or more nukes and two glass balls. If you
choose option 1, you have to detonate the nuke(s) before the glass balls collide
for the third time. So be quick! Usually, going with option 2 will cost more
lives, but it is much safer (with 60,000 - 80,000 points bonuses, lives are
NB: If you get more than 2 glass balls, you can either choose to isolate
one, isolate two, or any combination of the above depending on the total number
of glass balls. The same caveats still stand though: isolating only one in an
area greater than 20% to achieve a good completion rate may cost you 3 lives, but
is much safer than the other options.
1 or more nukes (no glass ball): Isolate one ball, the slower the better (i.e
fruit balls are great), in a area greater than 20%. Blow the nuke(s). Use a laser
to trap the remaining ball in an area as small as possible.
Tip: to make sure your last shot traps this last ball in an area as
small as possible, start by isolating the ball in a area as narrow and long as
possible. Bring the completion level to 78-79%. Shoot your last beam so that the
ball ends up trapped along the narrow edge of the area. This strategy works
especially well in the first levels, even when you have no lasers. Just choose
this last ball wisely: it should be slow and it's course should run as parallel
as possible to the narrow edges so that even a regular beam can trap it easily in
a small area.
1 fruit ball, 1-5 balls (including other fruit balls, but no nukes and no
glass balls). Trap 1 fruit ball in an area greater than 20%. Box the other balls.
Use a laser to trap the isolated fruit ball in the smallest possible area.
This will also work with regular balls, but it's the hardest way to get an
overachiever bonus (fruit balls simply make it a bit easier). Check the tip above
to get a better idea of how to do it.
In all other situations, i.e no nuke(s) and more than 7-8 non glass ball or
fruit balls on screen, just go for 80% as fast as you can. Getting a good bonus
(especially easy above level 40) is the best you can hope for. With luck, you
might even get 90-91%, which isn't so bad. But with more than 10 balls on screen,
don't count on it.
If you get a 1/2 bonus multiplier, just go for 80% without losing lives nor
wasting lasers. Wait the Time bonus out, grabbing yummies all the way. It's not
worth the effort.
When shooting for a bonus through the whole playing field (either through its
full length or its full height), use a laser (the speed of a laser shot is always
the same, which makes predictions accurate) and fire it when the bonus shows 2x:
you'll get a 4x multiplier.
Otherwise, try to shoot the bonus multiplier with the shortest beam possible
in order to have a better control on the outcome.
If you don't feel at ease shooting multipliers with a regular beam and fear
you'll miss the 4x multiplier, do not hesitate to use a laser. A good bonus
multiplied 4 times is well worth the loss of a laser shot. Yet, you should try to
save lasers at least until level 20. After that, they're easier to come by.
One last thing: kill Bosco every chance you get. You won't get many points that
way, but it sure is fun.
Ed Note: When he's not playing Barrack, David reads Homer, Hesiod and Pindar,
trying to discover where Andrew first found the idea of calling his latest
creation "Apeiron". Maybe he should ask the last of Priam's offsprings, our dear
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