“BreakThru” for the Nintendo Entertainment System is a great military simulator that accurately displays the types of missions that our brave soldiers were sent on during the Reagan presidency. “BreakThru”‘s setting is in an unnamed foreign country. The arcade version of the game revolves around a stolen secret aircraft. The NES version has a similar plot but also alleges that the island is also occupied by foreign invaders.
The developer, Data East, was clever to leave the enemy ambiguous. Thus, “BreakThru” is a timeless game. Back then, they were likely referring to the Soviet Union as the “Big Bads” in the game. However, one could easily blame the invasion in the NES port on the Chinese, since they like to do that kind of thing. The game is still relevant in 2015 as with just minor suspension of disbelief one could pretend ISIS was suddenly technologically advanced and the player is liberating the nation from extremist Islam.
I found “BreakThru” an enjoyable way to spend a few hours. The player starts out in the “mountain” stage controlling a jeep styled vehicle. The vehicle is incredibly agile and can do an odd angled jump to clear obstacles and enemies. The jeep is also fitted with a cannon to use to destroy enemy trucks, tanks and soldiers. It is very satisfying to obliterate a tank and see the charred crater that is left behind. After conquering the mountain area, you progress through areas marked as “Bridges”, “Prairie”, “City”, and finally “Recover The Aircraft”. I found it interesting that after defeating the final enemies and locating the experimental aircraft, that the character that has been driving the jeep vehicle is also skilled enough to fly the experimental aircraft back to the United States. I suppose they don’t call them “special forces” for nothing.
The violence in the game is completely justified. If the soldiers didn’t want to die, they should have thought twice about invading a sovereign island and harboring stolen U.S. military equipment. I’ve seen complaints elsewhere that the difficulty level of “BreakThru” is too high. I imagine those people are liberal pacifists, afraid get their hands dirty and run over enemy soldiers if need be. It also is a port of an arcade game, which traditionally, have higher difficulty levels to entice the player to keep pouring quarters into the machine. The graphics are on par with other 1987 third-party license releases on the NES. Not great, but definitely not the worst the console has to offer. Likewise with the sound and music. All in all the game is serviceable and gets the job done, just like the United States military. There really is not much more to say about “BreakThru”. Yet another shining example of the 1980s when it was still okay to release a military themed action video game and not be criticized by the “doves” on the left.