csxloser's Beat Hazard (PC) review

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Eyes on Fire!


+ Awesome use of mp3s

+ Seizure causing visuals

+ Bargain price of $10 ($5 on X360)

-   Only have two lives

-   Only two game modes

-   Long time to search for songs on computer


Beat Hazard is yet another dual joystick shooter available for download on Steam and XBLA. What makes it so different from the countless other joystick shooters is the Audiosurf-like use of your music to make its own stages.

GAMEPLAY – Well…it’s a dual joystick shooter. You use the left thumbstick to move your little ship and right thumbstick to aim and shoot. If you use mouse and keyboard on the PC version, you move with WASD and aim with the mouse.   You have a “bomb” that you can use to blow up everything currently on the screen for desperate times. Blowing up enemy ships and asteroids yield powerups that can increase your score multiplier, the volume of the song, and your shot. The intensity of your song affects many things such as when and how many enemies pop out, your shot, all the crazy visual and color effects, and boss battles. A really cool example I had experienced was during a song that played a sharp bass note every 2 seconds. Everytime I heard the bass note, my shot added on a little shotgun burst of a different color to my current of raining bullets. When the song calms down, my shot reverts back to the standard slow and weak shot that can barely kill the weakest enemies. If you can’t tell, the interaction the game has with your music is just so awesome.

GRAPHICS - Do not play this game if you get seizures. Bright changing colors, lots of particle effects across the screen, flashing lights, the visual style on the menus and in-game reminisces of Audiosurf and many other joystick shooters.   It’s really cool to look at but like Geometry Wars, it will get to the point where you can barely tell where you are and what is friendly or deadly. It’s insane and awesome to experience.

SOUND - Your music + sound effects of collecting powerups and stuff blowing up. You can turn the sound effects or music off if you really want.

CON – You only have two lives. There is no way to obtain extra lives. For someone that is terrible at these games, I find it difficult to last an entire song even on Easy difficulty. Searching for songs on your computer takes a long time as well unless it’s somewhere close in your directory. If your music is somewhere like C:blah/blah/blah/blah, it will take forever to actually start playing. The game does come with music but too few to start out with, requiring you to have a decent library of mp3s. There are only two modes, normal play (one song) and survival play (keep on playing songs till you lose all your lives). This game is missing the endless mode where I don’t have to worry about losing lives and allows me to actually play my songs till the very end. Lastly, don’t play any slow tempo calming music. You just won’t be doing anything at all.  

For ten bucks, this game is a steal and cheaper than Audiosurf when it came out. Beat Hazard plays nothing like Audiosurf but they both make your music a blast to play.

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