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Beam Breakers Review

/ Nov 18th, 2002 No Comments

Well would you believe it, a futuristic racing game, hurrah! Haven’t played one of those for all of a few minutes! Sarcastic put-downs of this genre aside, Beam Breakers is the product of a group of game designers with a 5th Element, Blade Runner and now, an Episode 2 obsession. The cars have left the ground and now fly about the city ‘streets’, it seems that in the future wheels will be laughed at, those who make use of an axel will be pointed at and mocked in the street, deemed lower beings for not using a form of transport with a ‘Hover-‘ prefix.

In the futuristic metropolis of Neo York (ho, ho!), the year is 2374 and the world has changed beyond recognition. Thousands of Anti-Grav cars litter the sky as they speed around following tracks of light beams which set routes round the city. There are five notorious gangs which operate throughout Neo York, each striving for power and control of the air. Players are thrust into this gang-world to compete in a series of dramatic races defying light beams (essentially roads in the air) which everyone else adheres to.

Easily the most striking, notable thing about Beam Breakers is the traffic, it may be the bane of our lives on our daily trips to work but that’s only because we can’t sail above it/barge through it as seen here. The cityscapes are densely packed with lines of traffic, often there are hundreds of vehicles on-screen at once. Racing through these jams creates a nice reaction, drivers flash their lights at you and try to veer out of the way. To compensate for the massive amounts of vehicles though you will find they are all pretty low detail made up of a small handful of polygons each.

The cities on a whole are very detailed, there are all the expected neon signs and ominous looking skies mixed in with passing pedestrians, huge gargoyle shaped fountains and lots of breakable bits thrown in for good measure. Its just unfortunate that the game engine doesn’t move along a bit faster, as it is it feels a little sluggish…zipping through the traffic doesn’t feel quite as thrilling as it should do. I want the speeds of Rollcage and Wipeout to really get my pulse going, not this wheezy fly speed.

In terms of actual game modes you are given plenty, there is some straight forward racing where you are given checkpoints and power-ups to pick up, it is to be applauded that this isn’t the only option you get as I have seen several instances of games offering this and thinking that will do. There is also a mission based game where you begin delivering pizzas and end up getting involved in a tale of crime and corruption, Mafia or GTA 3 it most certainly is not but it is a nice distraction from racing round in circles all day.

All in all Beam Breakers is very frustrating as it could easily have been very good, the idea of tearing through a city, Anakin style, is one that poses a great deal of potential for excitement, especially if coupled with some multiplayer games. As it is though, with its trundling pace, it’s fairly fun but nothing that will drive you mad with gaming passion.

Ratings

Graphics: 7
Sound: 7
Gameplay: 6
Longevity: 5
Originality: 6

Overall Score: 62%

Jamie Wharton

Jamie Wharton

Jamie Wharton was based out of Europe before disappearing off the face of the Earth. His contributions in the early days of Gaming Illustrated's history, however, shall never be forgotten.
Jamie Wharton

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