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    dkirschner's Beat Hazard: Ultra (PC)

    [May 16, 2013 10:49:27 AM]
    Veeery entertaining music game. It's a twin stick space shooter that thumps along to your music. Be warned: there are a lot of flashing lights. Luckily I don't have epilepsy because this game would surely trigger fits. It took some getting used to, keeping an eye on my ship, being able to track all the various enemies and missiles amidst the utter chaos on screen. But once you get used to it (start with some slow tracks on easy) you become able to keep track of 100 things on screen at once and it is a really good feeling.

    Along with the visual and mental training to keep up with everything, you also need to be able to identify at a glance every enemy ship type. Some just sort of hover around you. Some shoot red bullets which are unkillable. Some shoot golden bullets of various types which are killable. Some drop red flashing mines. Some pull you toward them while others push you away. Some meteors fall in a straight line while others seem gravitationally attracted to you. Some ships launch about 15 missiles when you blow them up. Other ships move in unpredictable ways. Then there are all the boss types and you have to know all the variations on all the different types.

    Then you need to know what all your weapons are, what each pick-up does, how to monitor your ammo and score and multiplier and track length and everything all at the same time, without dying. It becomes absolute insanity at times and it is awesome to be able to find your way through it.

    There are two meters with related pickups that increase them. One is power, which makes your guns stronger, and the other is volume, which makes the music louder. The stronger and louder stuff is, the more enemies come flying out and the more visual effects, explosions and auras and things, start going off everywhere. Doesn't necessarily make it harder (harder to keep track of, yes), but you're stronger and more pickups drop and you rack up the score with tons of multipliers. You really do fall into a groove playing this. I kept finding myself nodding along to the music because lights and things will pulse and burst and explode in time.

    Different types of music don't seem to do a lot to change what happens on each song though, which is a bit of a letdown. There's some variation but nothing like, say, Audiosurf. For example, I think every single song starts off with hardly any enemies, and then a few asteroids float around, then the easy small ships float near you...then depending I guess different types and amounts of other ships start. But it always starts slow and easy no matter if the song is reggae or death metal. Then the enemies always pick up and there are always faster crazy parts, no matter what happens in the song.

    Case: I went to go play Rotten Sound, a grindcore band, for some super fast music. When browsing my folders, I found Robert Jordan just above them, the author of the Wheel of Time fantasy books. Out of curiosity I played an audiobook chapter. Even though it's just some guy reading a book, the enemies varied, it was fast and slow, easy and harder, boss fights happened still, and so on. Less frantic overall, but it didn't really diminish the flow that every song seemed to have.

    Also, I am proud to say that I completed the 18-minute first chapter of the first Wheel of Time book! I was on my last life. Do you know how hard it is to not make more than a couple mistakes for 18 minutes? Hard! I was focusing and then my roommate came in and was talking to me and I was like 'cant talk, focused,' and he's all like 'oh, what's that? what are you playing? what's going on? oh, you died? this game looks boring' and I was like 'omg will explain later, dying, busy focusing.'

    Anyway, then I played Rotten Sound and it wasn't a whole lot different. I had remembered playing some technical death metal a while back on this game and it being insane, and I tried that particular band I remembered, but it wasn't insane. Maybe I had turned the difficulty up. There are 5 difficulties: easy, normal (which I was playing on), hardcore (which I did a few times), then you can unlock insane and suicide, which are probably a lot of fun. There are also some other game modes and an extensive leaderboard system.

    There are also perks you unlock as your overall score increases. You rank up, and I thought I had hit max when I got an achievement for reaching "Elite." That was after the 18-minute Robert Jordan chapter that netted me something like 55 million points (usually i would get 1-2 million per song), and I leveled up an unprecedented 4 or 5 times from one song and it boosted me all the way to elite. Anyway, I ran to look at the leaderboards, and turns out about 20,000 people were still ahead of me. Since Elite still had a point value attached to the high end, I wondered if anything was after it, or if you just hit that high cap and points stop accumulating. So I played a little longer and reached...Elite 2. Huh. So I went back to the leaderboards and went to the beginning. First place person? Something like Elite 24,000. Whaaat. Yeah, people are all in the thousands. They must have played this a hell of a lot. So apparently there is no cap. You just keep going, Elite XXXXXX. And you keep getting money too, so there is one category on the boards, like "Rich Kid" or something, that ranks peoples' money. It's in the millions. I have like $60. You use money to buy perks, and you pick it up in levels, by the way.

    Anyway, since Elite was the last named level and it was just neverending from there, I consider that I have beaten the game. The achievement means I won right?! This has proven an excellent way to listen to some music and play games and be visually overstimulated. Since I 'beat' it, I doubt I'll play much more on my own besides to show it to people.
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    dkirschner's Beat Hazard: Ultra (PC)

    Current Status: Finished playing

    GameLog started on: Tuesday 26 March, 2013

    GameLog closed on: Thursday 16 May, 2013

    dkirschner's opinion and rating for this game

    Wow, awesome. Frantic (at least with most of my music so far) dual stick space arcade shooter. ---------- Yeah, dayum, fun music game. Not as varied as I hoped for different tracks/music styles, but not complaining much.

    Rating (out of 5):starstarstarstarstar

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