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(c) 2000 James Burrows

 
 

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I'm afraid I never shared the same enthusiasm for
Beach Head as most people did a year ago. The five actual 'games' in the program are all rather weak (but playable) and both graphics and sound are pretty run-of-the-mill by today's standards (in fact they weren't that amazing when it first came out). Together these 'games' offer a reasonable challenge, but interest wanes once the game is completed and things become a matter of routine, despite several skill levels. My opinion hasn't changed much after recently playing Beach Head again and I still wonder now, as did then, just what was all the fuss about?
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Beach Head was an unusually uneven game both in graphics and gameplay. Take a look at the Hidden Passage screen and then compare it with the second action screen. The first looks like very early Spectrum programming, whereas the second is really quite good, solid 3D. The third screen is also neat, but the last two are, again, a bit primitive. It makes playing Beach Head a less satisfying experience than it might have been. On the other hand, at the time it offered a lot more than most other current 64 games and has set a trend for the better.
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Welcome to Game of the Week! Each week there will be a new featured game on this page. The game may be good, average or diabolically bad, it really doesn't matter! Just look at the pics, read the text and enjoy the nostalgia! :-) Game of the Week! is open to contributions so if you would like to contribute a game article for this page you're more than welcome to! Every article we receive will be considered!
Beach-Head
1983 Access Software
Programmed by Bruce Carver
 
Most text of the present article comes from the review published in the sixth issue of the British C64 magazine ZZAP!64 (October 1985).
 

BEACH HEAD
US Gold, 9.95 cass, 12.95 disk, joystick only


Not only the best selling Commodore game of 1984 but also one of the overall best sellers across the machines last year, Beach Head was an immensely popular game that built up a large following in its time, but how does it fare today?

The game is set during the Second World War and is loosely based around American experiences in the Pacific war. There are effectively only six screens to the game, although there are in fact seven stages -- two 'map' screens and five action screens. Map screens show a plan of the vicinity of the island you are attacking and you move your cursor (a cluster of ships) to the area you wish to attack. This then cuts to one of the action screens when you are given the chance to get as many of your ten ships through to the next stage as possible (apart from the final stage where you meet the Dictator).

On the map screen you can decide to meet the enemy head on or take the hidden passage under the island and surprise them. The passage is a mine-infested channel of torpedo-ridden waters where, for the surprise advantage on later screens, you risk losing a lot of ships (lives) that you may need later. Each time you successfully guide one of your ten ships through the mines you receive a hefty bonus.

The second screen (unless you opted for head on confrontation) pits you against the enemy fleet in a 3D shoot-em-up. Your guns are shown at the bottom of the screen. Enemy planes, launched from a ship in the background, zoom towards you, complete with competent sound effects, guns ablazing. Each hit against you clocks up on a damage indication -- at 20 you lose a ship. Occasionally an enemy supply plane flies across the screen and can be shot for bonus points. If you get to this screen via the secret passage you only need to shot around 20 enemy planes. If you meet the enemy head on from the beginning, however, you need to shoot a fair few more planes and they're a lot meaner!

Once this stage is completed, you attempt to sink the enemy fleet that is preventing you gaining the islands by using the same set of guns as before. The ship that launched all of those damn planes earlier starts mobbing to the left of the screen and if hit will earn a nice bonus. Five other ships are placed across the horizon and must all be shot before they shoot you. Shooting the enemy is similar to the firing method used in DK Tronics' 3D Tanx game. Pulling up and down on the joystick changes elevation and you have to gauge the length of shot accurately before firing. If you miss the ship you are aiming at, then you are told at the bottom of the screen how far out you were. As is the case with the last action screen, things are a lot tougher if you met the enemy fleet head on.

If you manage to get through this screen it's back to another map screen to move your fleet to the island and the beach head itself! The beach head stage has you guiding your tank force through all sorts of defences, along several screens of a Zaxxon-style scrolling beach. You are given

a tank force of

twice the number of your remaining lives and have to steer and shoot your way past tanks, gun emplacements and obstructions in the form of rocks and wells to the final screen . . . and the Dictator himself!

The last stage has a tank perched on a mound of rumble, slowly turning to meet you face to face, and you have to shoot out ten white blocks in the mound before the tank lets rip with a shot of its own. This screen is impossible to complete with one tank and requires at least three attempts to shoot out all of the blocks, so you have to make sure there are enough left in supply. If you successfully destroy the tank then it explodes into several pieces and a white flag of truce is raised and waved pitifully.

   


Presentation 87%

Lots of options, very good instructions and a nifty demo mode.

Graphics 68%
A mixture of some good, reasonable and primitive graphics.

Sound 41%
Not much in the way of sound but what there is, is good.

Hookability 75%
It's mainly shooting planes that's addictive . . .

Lastability 67%
. . . and that soon palls.

Value For Money 69%
May have been worth it then but compared to what's worth it now, it isn't.

Overall 70%
Showing it's age.
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Htmlized by Dimitris Kiminas (13 Apr 2003)

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