The Beam Breakers wiki last edited by bdhurkett on 05/26/14 11:07PM View full history

Overview

Beam Breakers is a futuristic racing game, set in 22nd-century “Neo York”, where anti-gravity technology is commonplace and cars fly through the skies. Missions and races are set across five boroughs – Little Italy, East Village, Chinatown, Harlem, and Downtown – with the player pitted against the gangs and police of future NY as they rise through the ranks of their own organisation.

Gameplay

Though loosely based on movies such as ‘The 5th Element’ and ‘Blade Runner’, cars in the game do not have complete freedom of movement. Driving takes place on a flat plane, with cars able to accelerate and brake and turn like normal vehicles, but not strafe sideways or freely rotate on other axes; vehicles can also move up and down but this is much slower than forward movement. Cars are also limited to maximum and minimum heights, much smaller than the horizontal extent of each map. The one exception to the limited vertical speed is the ability to disengage (and re-engage) the antigrav system, causing the player’s car to rapidly fall downwards much faster than otherwise possible. All vehicles also have a turbo that increases horizontal acceleration and top speed when active, but is of limited duration and refilled only by powerups.

The game maps are broken into small sections, themselves open-world but each containing only a fraction of the whole game. All are filled with civilian traffic, travelling at slow speeds along the ‘beams’ of the game’s title (3D traffic lanes, on multiple levels throughout each map) as well as pedestrian walkways, and each borough has its own theme and immovable obstacles to avoid. Pedestrians themselves are often present, but cannot be hurt (although they will dive to the ground if a vehicle comes too close).

The game is largely violence-free, with no weapons (apart from a pizza-throwing device that cannot be used in anger), but vehicles can be damaged in collisions with other cars or scenery. Additionally, in events where the player has committed crimes, police vehicles may attack their vehicle with a short-range weapon that simultaneously damages the player’s car, disables their antigrav, and slows their movement, and will attempt to arrest the player if their vehicle remains stationary for too long.

Gameplay Modes

Missions

The game includes a number of missions, broken into several chapters, with a storyline based on the player rising through the ranks of the Veloci Cicloni (the Little Italy gang) to eventually control all Neo York. The earliest missions require the player merely to deliver pizzas (by firing them from a vehicle attachment directly into buildings) but later missions become more complex, with tasks such as destruction of other vehicles or property, theft of better vehicles and upgrades, and several unique events. In addition, each chapter of the story includes a number of gang races that must be won to progress.

Missions can be played with any vehicles and extras that have been unlocked, and sometimes provide rewards for completion (e.g. stealing another gang’s car will unlock that car for use). The choice of car has no direct impact on the mission, though faster vehicles are almost always better as all missions are timed, with the best times saved as high scores. The timer depends on the type of mission – storyline missions have a time limit and are failed if not completed fast enough, with higher scores having more time remaining, whereas races have no specific time limit and high scores are the lowest completion time.

Missions often feature various power-ups. These must be flown through to collect and are applied instantly, but do not disappear or change position and can be used as often as they can be flown through.

  • Turbo-accelerator: refills the vehicle’s turbo (in races, completing a lap also refills the turbo)
  • Repair: repairs any damage to the vehicle
  • Shield: Pushes away civilian traffic for a short duration, removing the need to dodge it, but with no effect on gang or police vehicles
  • Cop-Ex: Clears a player’s ‘wanted’ status for a limited time

Certain gameplay elements occur in the storyline missions which do not appear elsewhere in the game. In particular, the Cop-Ex powerups only appear in some storyline missions where the player may need to lose their wanted status to complete an objective – and the wanted status can only be gained at all in certain missions – and a ‘ramming’ ability (making it easier to collide with enemy vehicles) is only available in those missions where it is necessary to specifically damage an enemy vehicle.

Championship

The championship mode collects the various gang races from the missions into a single event, broken into five stages of five or more races. The race circuits and powerups are identical to the mission races, though in a different order and with no storyline connection. Also unlike the missions, the player must use the provided vehicle, though is able to choose the gang to play at the beginning of the championship.

As in the missions, the races consist of multiple laps between ordered checkpoints. Despite players being able to travel freely between them, few races take advantage of the open-world nature of the maps outside of small shortcuts, and checkpoints are usually placed to require a certain route. Missing or skipping more than two checkpoints fails a race, but championship races cannot be replayed unlike missions with players being awarded a number of points based on their position (10/6/3/1/0).

Survival

This mode tasks the player with surviving for as long as possible against a large number of police in the various game maps, made more difficult by forcing them to use the slowest vehicle in the game and not providing any powerups. Surviving more than thirty seconds is considered a success. Other than counting towards 100% completion, there is no benefit or reward vehicle for completing this mode.

Observation Mode

This mode allows the player to choose a vehicle and explore each of the various maps, with no enemies to face or time limit. Each map has ten hidden bonus boxes which also count towards game completion; while these are also present in all other modes, the player is usually too busy with other objectives to search for them. (The boxes are usually visible from a distance, but are fairly small and require some searching).

Multiplayer

Races, but not storyline missions, can be played across a network with up to six players taking part.

Other game features

The game features a robust high score system, recording high scores for every storyline mission, gang race, championship event and survival mode lifespan, for each level of difficulty.

The game can be played from three camera views – cockpit (with no part of the vehicle visible) and two exterior views, but this can only be changed from the main menu. It also includes a vast array of audio options, with the following items having separate volume sliders:

  • Global
  • Turbine
  • Opponent
  • Traffic
  • Horn
  • Police
  • Surroundings
  • Hits
  • Signal
  • Language
  • Menu
  • CD Audio

Locations

Little Italy

Little Italy is the first area that the player visits, with old but maintained brownstone buildings, plenty of vents and pipes across the roadways, and (unsurprisingly) plenty of Italian eateries. It is home to the “Veloci Cicloni” gang, which the player joins as part of the storyline. It is one of the few areas with a reachable floor (jagged earthen trenches, apparently in the progress of constructing further down).

East Village

For unexplained reasons, this area is particularly Russian-themed, with the hammer-and-sickle often displayed as well as such stereotypical items as vodka advertisements. It is more high-tech than Little Italy, and has many more commercial buildings, and replaces the pipes and vents with numerous branching pedestrian walkways. Both maps of the East Village also contain a suspended railway, on which trains occasionally pass through, and one is also home to the “Love House”, a brothel with a large statue and secret passage. The East Village is home to the “East Falcons” gang.

Chinatown

Chinatown is the most stereotypical area, with almost everything, from fences to signage to floating lights to rooftops being China-themed. Here, the elaborate buildings and structures themselves form obstacles, often standing in the middle of roadways, with other barriers often forming narrow paths and junctions. The floor of Chinatown is visible, but covered in water which cannot be entered. Chinatown is home to the “Speed Dragons” gang.

Downtown

Downtown is the most prosperous region of Neo York visited; it has no visible floor. It not only continues down as far as the eye can see, but skyscrapers tower far overheard above the maximum lift range. It is home to dozens upon dozens of gleaming skyscrapers, glass-covered walkways and offices, the NYPD main building and even a ‘small’ (by the standards of the buildings around it) statue.

Interestingly, one office in Downtown has heavily-pixelated boxart of several Playstation and Gameboy games on its walls. Downtown is home to the “NY High Racers” gang.

Harlem

Harlem is the poorest area present in the game, with collapsed buildings, piles of rock, dilapidated structures, heavy smog, graffiti and tunnels. It also contains one of the few pre-antigrav structures in the game, a remnant of the Brooklyn Bridge (no longer used, and instead surrounded by other buildings and shacks). Additionally, while all other areas have two separate game maps, Harlem has only a single area and is only used for races, with no story missions taking place in it. It has few walkways, with pedestrians almost never visible, little traffic, and is also the only map to have blocks that can be flown over entirely instead of navigated around. Harlem is home to the “Chill Street” gang.

Cars

Vehicles are classed into five categories, with higher categories corresponding to higher speeds and better handling. The game begins with only the Pizza Car unlocked, with others being rewarded for completing missions or other gameplay modes. Several vehicles are also rewarded for specific events such as completing all missions or reaching 100% game completion. Cars can be upgraded with various extras.

The values in the table below are for un-upgraded vehicles. The fastest standard car (Vipes GTX 5), with all upgrades and turbo applied, is capable of reaching approximately 514 kph (320 mph).

Vehicle

Category

Speed

Acceleration

Curve

Pizza Car

1

153

70%

100%

Lanx V12

1

163

90

100

Charger

1

169

90

100

Lansky V2

1

169

90

100

Triad

1

169

90

100

Mato MX2

1

169

90

100

China Snack

1

173

115

130

Triad V2

2

180

95

100

Yagor VM4

2

180

95

100

Mato MX5

2

180

95

100

Lansky Z1000

2

180

95

100

Lincoln M3

2

184

95

100

Yagor VM4 Special

2

188

97

120

Siany GSI

3

200

100

100

Koronov

3

200

100

100

Brioni 1000

3

200

100

100

Electra 1000

3

200

100

100

Acora 1000

3

204

100

100

Acora 1000 Special

3

204

105

105

DNC GTS

4

224

110

100

Siany GSI V2

4

228

110

100

Brioni Integrale

4

228

110

100

Koronov MX

4

228

110

100

CMG M1

4

228

110

100

CMG M1 Special

4

300

115

120

Police

5

245

122

140

Nocura MSI

5

251

120

130

Pagalli Special

5

251

120

130

Koronov Cruiser

5

251

120

130

CMG Oldsmobile

5

251

120

130

Police 2

5

251

125

150

DNC 5X HiSpec

5

255

120

130

Morton

5

263

130

130

CMG Oldsmobile Special

5

302

160

150

DNC 5X HiSpec Special

5

326

170

140

Vipes GTX 5

5

337

200

150

Extras

Extras are rewarded by completing storyline missions, but can be used in some other modes afterwards (e.g. Observation mode). Each extra can only be used on certain categories of vehicles, and most can only be used on a single vehicle at a time, but can be transferred or removed without penalty. The purpose of the Washing Machine is unclear.

Name

Class

Description

Air stabilizer A10

5

Stabilizes airstreams and enhances cornering

Centr. Force Modulator

1-2

Increases the turbines rotations, increasing overall top end speed

3-4

5

Chassis reinforcement

3-4

Strengthens the chassis of your vehicle to make it more robust

5

Navigation system v1

1-5

Provides a graphical depiction of your location and immediate surroundings

Navigation system v2

1-5

Provides a graphical depiction of your location and immediate surroundings and additional information

Navigation system v3

1-5

Additionally indicates police monitoring radius information

Photon Accelerator

1-2

Acceleration Up

3-4

5

Photon Compressor

1-2

Reduces the energy consumption of the turbo unit

3-4

5

Washing machine

All

For dirty laundry

System Requirements

  • Windows® 98/ME/2000/XP
  • DirectX® 8.1 or subsequent version
  • Pentium® II with 400 MHz or comparable processor
  • 64 MB RAM
  • 3-D graphics card with 16 MB RAM
  • Sound card
  • 4-speed CD-ROM drive
  • 500 MB of free fixed disk space

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