Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Beach Head (Mac)

Beach Head
Beach Head 2000 (Mac)
by MacSoft
Platform:   Mac
2.6 out of 5 stars(5)

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If you've seen Saving Private Ryan, you might agree that the first scene in the World War II film stands out from the rest. The scene lasts around 25 minutes, and it's an incredibly visceral, visually graphic re-creation of the D-day invasion of Normandy. The action takes place from the perspective of the American troops who storm Omaha Beach in armored landing crafts only to meet with a deadly barrage of mines and enemy fire. WizardWorks, the same publisher that brought you Deer Hunter, tries to capture the intensity of a WWII beach attack in Beach Head 2000, a loose remake of an old Commodore 64 shooter. For a short time, it may prove to be a fairly entertaining diversion. However, Beach Head 2000's limited gameplay won't hold your attention for long.

In Beach Head 2000, you're a lone turret gunner defending a stretch of beach that's under siege. You view the beach from a first-person perspective and aim using the mouse. Your turret is equipped with a machine gun, a howitzer cannon, and guided surface-to-air missiles. You also have a handgun to use as a last-ditch defense. At the beginning of each level, you're given a limited amount of ammo for each gun. Much of the game strategy comes from deciding when and where to employ this precious supply of ammo. Fortunately, supply aircraft make frequent parachuted ammo and health drops. But to obtain these, you've got to shoot the drop package itself. Attempting to nail these drop-offs with anything but a machine gun poses a considerable--and at times frustrating--challenge. Even if you get the extra ammo, you may still come up a few missiles or rounds short, which can make completing the level nearly impossible.

Beach Head 2000's graphics are OK sometimes, but pretty rough in certain respects. The enemy choppers, armored personnel carriers, landing craft, tanks, and bombers are rendered in 3-D with real-time lighting effects--and they actually look decent. The problem is that many of the units pop up out of nowhere, almost as if the game were rendering them late. The infantry troops don't look nearly as good: the foot soldiers are acceptable, but only from far away as they file out of the armored landing crafts. As they draw closer, their choppy animation and 2-D photo-scanned faces look silly.

Beach Head 2000's gameplay is fast paced and straightforward. It plays similarly to old arcade shooters such as Operation Wolf and Terminator 2, only the screen doesn't ever scroll in any direction. The levels steadily increase in difficulty until it seems as if they won't get any harder. After that, you just continue on and rack up as many points as you can by gunning down the enemy. You can't actually win. The game grows old quickly, as taking out the stream of enemies in each level becomes repetitive. Even the enemy units themselves soon become predictable, as the ground and air units seem to repeat the same maneuvers over and over again. Also, although your inability to move makes sense in the context of the game, it makes the game much less engaging.

Beach Head 2000 isn't horrible, though it's not ambitious at all. It has moments that can be satisfying, and the gameplay is quick and easy to learn. If you're a casual game player looking to let off a little steam in a WWII environment, you might enjoy Beach Head 2000 for a little while. But the game isn't suitable for anyone else. --Copyright (c) 2000 GameSpot, Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of GameSpot is prohibited.

Beach Head 2000 (MAC CD-ROM), Product# 21600

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