Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Beach Head

The first game I got for the Commodore 64 was Beach Head. The demo looked pretty sharp at the shop and the game did not disappoint once at home. Came out in 1983 and I think it was the first game that featured a succession of completely different stages (with some kind of a story line to link them together). The game was very successful and quite a few games based on the same principle came out afterwards (Raid over Moscow and all the Beach Head sequels come to mind).

There are 4 stages or missions in the game. In the first stage, you have to guide your ships through a mine infested waterway while avoiding torpedoes. The second part of the game is a good ole plane shooting contest that’s pretty entertaining. The third mission is a bit different and requires some brain activity: you must calculate the gun elevation to sink the enemy ships (each 100 meters corresponds to half a degree of elevation). Of course, the enemy planes and ships are trying to damage and sink your own ships. In the fourth and final stage, you must navigate your tanks (each ship was carrying a tank) through an obstacle course (not as easy as it looks) to get to the heavy gun nest ... and destroy it. You guessed it, it’s the goal of the whole mission and it requires some work. When you reach the gun, your tank has very little time to hit the targets so you will need a few tanks to blow up the gun and make the enemy surrender. The video above shows just a little bit of each mission (at the easiest level).

In the game, you can avoid the ship guiding mission and go straight to the planes but you will have to face (a lot) more planes. Unlike other games of the era, Beach Head has not really aged, probably because of the well-designed missions and the not too shabby graphics (for the time, pretty early in the Commodore 64 history).

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