|Publisher: MacSoft Genre: Arcade|
|Min OS X: Not Supported CPU: 603 RAM: 32 MB 4x CD-ROM Graphics: 640x480|
Shell-shock inducing sound and special effectsThere was little variety in the sound effects. People scream gruesomely when they die. Objects explode. You can tell the difference between a supply plane and a bomber, but for some reason, helicopters are silent. This is particularly annoying because some helicopters can land troops behind you and you won't hear a thing until you're getting shot from behind. Since the game promises 360 degree action, it would have been nice if it could have at least offered stereo sound cues so you could tell from where that jet is dropping bombs on you without your having to turn all the way around to get a visual cue. This is a glaring failure of the game.
What else?The keys aren't re-mappable. This isn't a problem until you realize that the three keys you need to access other weapons in the game – the missiles, the hand gun and the artillery strike – are defined by the M, G, and A keys, respectively. Between that and having to use the space bar to cycle between your main AT gun and you AA cannon, the layout is awkward and rigid.
There's no targeting reticle for your cannons, not even a set of crosshairs. What's the big deal about that, you ask? Several things. For one, the mouse control is jerky and imprecise. Second, the gun aims high which wouldn't be a problem if, three, the bounding target for the sprites (yes, sprites – it's not totally 3D) weren't smaller than the object. Only very direct, dead center hits count. Fourth, if you run out of ammo, it's game over. BH2K becomes less about precision and skill and more about luck very quickly. A tip on CNET's Gamecenter says (I kid you not), " If you're having trouble aiming, follow the path of your tracer fire or make your own crosshairs with Scotch tape and stick it on the monitor."
Adding to the particular problem of running out of ammo, you have to shoot your supply crates being parachuted down to you before they hit an arbitrary horizon and disappear. Getting supplies can kill you. There's something really sick and wrong about that. Why not have the player protect a supply chopper until it lands or something? That would make sense.
The volume setting for the sound is non-existent. Whatever your system is set to when you launch the game is the volume of BH2K. Speaking of launching the game, BH2K automatically resets your monitor to 640x480 without asking your permission. This behavior became a problem when I had to rearrange my icons every time I quit the game.
The documentation is pretty good. There's something else nice about BH2K. No major typos or anything. The manual even goes as far as to list very specifically the scoring system for the game, not that scores matter much beyond the sake of vanity. If there was a bonus system relative to the scoring scheme, then keeping track of the score would make sense. In its current incarnation, keeping score is extraneous.
But what does it all mean?What it all really comes down to is that I can't figure out who this game is intended for. Obviously not me. Don't get me wrong, I'm not against arcade action games. Perhaps this review is borne of disappointment after being built up by an exciting description, exciting screenshots – heck even the box was exciting. BH2K just let me down by trying to be more than it is. Don't misunderstand me, it's great that more games are coming to the Mac, and MacSoft is publishing some awesome titles for the Mac right now; but sorry, guys: Beach Head 2000 is not one of them. It may be fine for a five-minute diversion sometime, but that kind of diversion is not worth $19.99, not when I got my copy of FAKK2 for $25 and registered Burning Monkey Puzzle Lab for $20.
Bottom lineUnless MacSoft releases a five level demo or something so you can see for yourself, save your money. There's shareware better than this for less money! Clear your conscience: Register your copy of Triple-A (4.5 out of 5 joysticks from this very publication) instead.
Pros• Fine diversion in small doses
• No learning curve to speak of
• I found a merciful bug that gave me unlimited ammo
• More violent than it needs to be
• Can't remap controls
• No two-button mouse support
• Practically no configuration options
• One difficulty level
• Priced too high