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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).

[Barrack Score]

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:

[Barrack Bonus]

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 Hector.

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