Beach Head 2002
Back in the day, I was a huge fan of the arcade shooter. From Missile Command to Battlezone, I couldn’t creep into my parent’s bedroom often enough to try filching quarters for the video arcade. Beach Head 2002 looked to be the solution to every poor gamer’s desire for a cheap, easy, arcade thrill. What I got instead was a dismal attempt at a resurrection of an age-old favorite genre.
Gameplay, Controls, Interface
Beach Head 2002 is simple enough to play. So simple in fact, that it doesn’t require a manual and the keyboard commands take up six lines in the "read me" file if you don’t include the two cheat codes. In looking at the simplicity of the read me file, I figured there wasn’t much more to the controls than "aim and shoot." I was duped.
Aiming the weapon is difficult. Not difficult in the "I’m-completely-inept" sense, but more so the "I-can’t-believe-the-developers-thought-this-was-a-good-idea" sense. Putting your sites onto a target is like trying to put your crosshairs on a bot in online multiplayer Unreal Tournament with a 300 baud modem (and yes, I used to have one, and yes, I know I’m dating myself). There is significant, purposeful, sloppy aim when trying to bead in on the target. It’s like trying to swing a weapon around under water. I’m sure that this was designed in such a manner to make the aiming more difficult, but give me a break. That in itself was frustrating enough, but fortunately, I was blessed with many more disappointments.
Weapon choices were severely limited as were the range of enemies. With only nine different enemies (not including the ground troops that leapt from the transport vehicles), my interest level quickly deteriorated as the game progressed. Interesting how my pistol shot tracer fire that was as large as what was produced by the M-60. Even more interesting was how I could shoot cannon fire that would completely pass through some of the tanks and other vehicles, and how ground troops would pass right through parts of the transport vehicle while running. Could this get any worse? Why, of course it could!
In this day and age, it should embarrass the game developers to put out games that are not just graphically inferior, but that are just plain bad. Having a 360 degree perspective while taking in the landscape provided, for some excellent views of the graphic deficiencies in the game. If you look at the screenshot with the red lines, I’ve identified some of the clear demarcations that are visible in the game. While playing, you can clearly see where they’ve done a poor job of sewing together the various textures and how clear the delineation is between them.
Explosions were crude at best. Transport trucks blew apart in 8-10 large, chunky sections. Tank turrets merely popped off when hit. In all situations, blown-up shrapnel and dead troops disappeared almost immediately after being hit. Only exploded troop transports and tanks remained visible once shot. Burned terrain, downed airplanes, and dead bodies were nonexistent. As you can see, those gamers with graphically challenged computers will have little difficulty keeping this game running along smoothly.
C’mon guys... we deserve better than this.
Fortunately, the audio was as pathetic as the video. Remember being a kid and watching old westerns? (Again... dating myself.) Remember the sound that dynamite used to make when it blew up? This is the exact sound produced when any aerial vehicle hits the ground. The M-60 is fine, but the pistol sounds like a cap gun instead of a .45. Cannon fire and other explosions are bass-heavy and are not notable. When troops are shot, they wail cartoonishly in one of only two varying sounds.
I could probably say a bit more about the audio, but it’s not worth it. The audio was functional at best and considering the effort put forth in the graphics, I shouldn’t have expected much more with the audio.
Pentium 350 MHz or higher, Windows(r) 95/98/Me, 64MB RAM, CD-ROM, 90MB hard disk space, DirectX compatible sound card, 16 MB DirectX, compatible video card, and a mouse.
Don’t waste your cash, even though the game carries a $20.00 price tag. Considering today’s theatre prices, you’ll get more bang-for-your-buck out of a double feature than you will playing this game. If you really want to see a quality beach head assault, get Castle Wolfenstein and play multiplayer.