|Publisher: MacSoft Genre: Arcade|
|Min OS X: Not Supported CPU: 603 RAM: 32 MB 4x CD-ROM Graphics: 640x480|
When I heard about Beach Head 2000, I was interested. I sort of happened on it by accident because it hadn't been receiving much publicity prior to its launch, but it was a new game coming to the Mac published by MacSoft. That's usually a really good sign. MacSoft has been bringing us the Unreal series, Rainbow Six, Links 2000, with more coming as I type this (such as Driver and Rogue Spear--the sequel to Rainbow Six). Reading the description of BH2K excited me more. It was an update to an arcade classic, and as such, could prove to be quite entertaining. However, when the game was published without a demo I became wary and for good reason.
MacSoft describes BH2K like this:
As a lone gunner you are the last line of defense against an overwhelming onslaught of enemy fire. Keep a steady aim and blast away at land, sea, and air forces as they rush you from every conceivable direction. Engage yourself in limitless levels of white-knuckle action, stunning photo-realistic graphics and earth shaking sound effects. Clear the beach, defend your post, and pray that the supply plane comes in time!
Where to Begin?Let's make this simple. I'll take the list of features from the back of the packing (and MacSoft's website) and address them one by one.
• Unlimited levels of pulse pounding action
• Non-stop hardcore shooting action that simulates the drama of military conflict
• Photo-realistic 3D graphics (NO hardware 3D acceleration required)
• Enemy targets include jet fighters, bombers, attack helicopters, tanks, landing troops and more!
• Shell-shock inducing sound and special effects
Unlimited levels of pulse pounding actionThe game, if you're patient enough, goes on forever. Enemies keep on landing. Planes keep on coming. Ammo continually depletes. This setup wouldn't be so bad if there was some kind of variety, but as more enemies keep coming in higher levels, it doesn't take long to figure out that they keep landing in exactly the same places, following exactly the same paths, doing the exact same thing level after level, it's just that now there's more of them. And the people don't have to die with so much blood and such, do they? It's kind of disturbing watching little rows of soldiers exploding in little puffs of limbs and blood. Sort of like a miniature Saving Private Ryan.
Some sites claim that BH2K has a sophisticated AI that will keep you guessing to help achieve the non-stop action. As far as I could tell, this feature was left out of the Mac port. In fact, comparing the list of features for the Windows version, I'd have to guess that most of the features were left out of the Mac port. There is no strategy to be sought to speak of. The best strategic suggestion offered by the game manual is, "Prioritizing targets effectively is the key to passing difficult levels. Learn what to destroy first by what will do the most damage the fastest." (pg. 13) Combine this little nugget of wisdom with the fact that there's only one difficulty setting, and you'll understand why I found the "pulse pounding action" of mowing down wave after wave of little screaming camouflaged bodies to be tedious at best.
Nonstop hardcore shooting action that simulates the drama of military conflictUnreal Tournament is hardcore. Quake III is hardcore. Myth is hardcore. Beach Head 2000 is an emulation of an old arcade game. It is not hardcore. It is repetitive and frustrating, and that does not make it hardcore. Foot soldiers wear camouflage uniforms and the mechanized vehicles look vaguely WWII German in passing, and that's about as military and hardcore as BH2K gets.
Photo-realistic 3D graphics (NO hardware 3D acceleration required)Beware any game that boasts 3D graphics and doesn't have the option of using hardware acceleration. This game would benefit greatly from the use of hardware acceleration. Even while playing on a G4, there were monster slowdowns in the game, especially when my turret was being fired upon and I had explosions in my face. I'd hate to see it running on a 225 MHz 603 Mac, as the packaging suggests it can. To improve performance, one can change the resolution of the screen. That's it. And it doesn't help. At any resolution, there are intermittent lag problems that could have been avoided by easing the workload for the CPU. I suppose that BH2K was trying to be all things to all people, but owners of slower machines will be disappointed. I'm not being a graphics snob here. This program simply doesn't run quickly even on a fat hog of a G4, and it falls far short of approaching "photorealistic."
Enemy targets include jet fighters, bombers, attack helicopters, tanks, landing troops and more!Actually, two more: Personnel choppers and Armored Personnel Carriers. Wave after wave after wave after wave after wave...