Programmed by M. Pezzotta and published by Methodic Solutions in 1988, Bank Buster is an obscure, single-player Arkanoid clone in which you break into a bank by tunnelling underground.
Bank Buster is a strange idea, but somehow works quite well. It certainly had me captivated for a few hours, even though my first impressions of the game were not that favourable.
Graphically, the game is adequate – arguably a little rough around the edges – but, gameplay-wise, it seems to have something compelling about it that isn’t easy to pinpoint.
The idea is to bounce a ball upwards into the underground soil, which removes it, eventually opening up a hole into the next screen. You then bounce the ball into the next screen and follow it, repeating the process until you reach the bank’s vault. “You” being a bat with a pair of eyes underneath (and in a nice touch the eyes constantly follow the position of the ball).
Like Arkanoid, the bat can collect power-ups to give it extra abilities, such as spawning extra balls, or allowing it to fire upwards. Unlike Arkanoid, this has various bank-robbing tools scattered around the various screens which you collect for points, and to open up previously locked doors.
When you near the vault itself, extra hazards start popping up, such as robots and alarm bells, and your ultimate aim is to avoid them and reach the treasures inside.
If you like bat and ball games, Bank Buster is worth searching out. It’s sufficiently different to other bat and ball games out there, and has a certain je ne sais quoi about it that makes it worth playing. Just don’t expect too much and you won’t be disappointed.