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 Post subject: Bullet Beat (XBOX One - PC)
PostPosted: Wed May 20, 2020 8:51 pm 


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Joined: 11 Oct 2008
Posts: 250
Location: Autobot City, Sugiura Base
What happens when you make a game promising cool things but in the end they fail in the execution?, We've got big lies that sucked our cash.
Sadly, this is what happens with Bullet Beat.

The game features two options: Campaign and Endless Mode.



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Another dogfight in Minimal-O-Land.

Campaign is the main game. You can select a level and then pick one of the three available difficulties. The gameplay is very simple: Destroy enemies and make a large combo with them. Sounds simple enough, but there's a small problem: The "Popcorn" enemies take like three hits or so to go down and you have very little time to retain the counter, so a small mistake will make you lose the combo. Fortunately, there's some useful power ups to increase your ship's firepower like Side Shots that fire bullets in an horizontal 10° angle and the "V" shot that fires a double twin shot in a "\ /" like the Silph S-Unit in Vapor Trail and Mao-Mao's F-15 in Aero Fighters 2. In the random dropped items there's an "------" which is the "Line bomb" that clears the screen with a linear horizontal blast like Turrican's Line bomb (Turriwall in Super Hydorah).

When it comes to difficulty, the game designers doesn't seem to know the difference between "Hard" and "Unplayable", because when the game is played on Hard, anyone would expect stronger enemies, major number of enemies on screen or more intense bullet patterns. Instead, they've decided to exaggerate the damage received since 1 hit in Hard with anything will drain 1/3 of your energy, this becomes a problem in later levels and a nightmare in Stage 2 since the boss uses a non-stop spinning laser which requires you to move in circles to avoid getting hit, but the problem is that the laser is slightly faster than your ship, resulting in an innevitable hit, makling the second boss is impossible in Hard. Not to mention, you only have one life regardless of which stage you pick. Thus, the best way to enjoy the game is playing in either Casual (for a relaxed shooting experience) or Normal (if you're looking for a challenge).

Something that I've noticed is that for a game whose premise is to make bullet patterns based on the music, the bullet patterns are more preset and don't go with the rhythm and they feel more like pre-established patterns like in any other shooter, making me think this game is ONE BIG FAT LIE to make a buck, the only thing that goes with the music is that your ship and your enemies are "pulsating" like heartbeats along with the music and nothing more.



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ONE! TWO! THREE! FOUR!, MEGA! Megamania, MEGAMANIA! It's gonna drive you insane!
You've got to shoot to survive, you've got to run to stay aliiiiive!
You may regret it, the day you get it. It's never gonna let you alooooooooooone!


Boss fights range from generic to quite creative, as we have the bullet hell bosses most of the times, but they pull some twists on the gameplay. One of the stages gives you a circle "anchored" to your ship so you can use it against your enemies (including the boss), like if it was a variation of the Anchor lock in Triggerheart Exelica, but in this case, you can get hit by the anchored circle, so you've gotta be careful. In Stage 8-3, the objective changes from the traditional shooting to make the "Missiles" hit the targets on the bottom of the screen since they're indestructible to our shots. Looks like the game had some interesting ideas despite failing on its main purpose.



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To the 1,000 and way beyond that number.

At first you might thing reaching 500 and 1,000 hit multipliers sounds exaggerated or even impossible, but actually its not. In Stage 6 there's a way to reach BEYOND 1,000 by one simple trick: Taking advantage of the boss' projectiles. The boss uses two "cannons" on the sides that throw squares that split after destroying the large one. The best strategy to reach the 1,000 combo and the achievements is to concentrate on the blocks thrown instead of hitting the cannons, that means you'll have to avoid the bomb item that I've mentioned before 'cos if you pick more than 4 you'll end up destroying them, compromising the sequence. You can use the side shots and the "V-Shot" items to take down more blocks while staying in the center of the screen.
Reaching 500 hits will grant you the "Power Bullets" which increase the strength of your shots and reaching 1,000 gives you a "Regeneration: 1" which I guess is a full refill of energy.



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A WINNER IS YOU! YOU'RE WINNER!

No need to explain the ending of the game since it only has a short staff roll, making Bullet Beat another entry on the "A Winner Is You" list of crap endings.
Also, this game is one of those Gamerscore Milkers that I've been talking about all this time: Crap game done on the cheap whose only purpose is to give you 1,000 Gamerscore points.



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Don't let the blocks pass! They're party crashers!

Endless consists of destroying all the objects, making sure no one reaches the bottom of the screen, just like in the offensive half of SDI/Global Defense and the doujin shmup Cloudphobia. But this mode is more of a joke. The main problem is the position of the enemies which most of the times is on the farthest sides of the screen and that's a problem since your only weapon is a full frontal twin shot and they take like 3 hits to go down so, naturally you'll miss a few of them, combine that with temporary power ups and that's when the challenge loses the fun factor. The only good news is that the damage received is the same as the Casual difficulty, and there's no selectable difficulty levels there. Like in Campaign, you only have one life to go as far as possible.

The original PC version seems to have a feature of using any song you want to generate bullet patterns, increasing the replay value based on the music, while the XB1 lacks of it, making it more of a preset shooter just like Sky Rogue on the PC has a lot of mods for the jets while in the consoles we can't use a Silver Hawk or an F-14 instead of the default jets.



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Not seen in the screenshot, but this stage is having an orange block seizure.

Graphics, if we call THOSE "graphics", they are in between Atari 2600 and Minimalism as the backgrounds are simply a 2 color combination and you and your enemies share the same colors. Also, the Atari part of the graphics lies on the sprites' simplicity as they are these random shapes that look like asteroids and rectangles with circles, while your ship looks like a fat "U" or an upside down Dreamcast controller. Well, there's some positive aspects like the backgrounds which despite being on the Minimalism theme, they're better detailed than Polychromatic, but the game had to ruin it with the tilting camera effect, it makes you feel like if you're playing the pirate version of Grand Theft Auto IV where the camera was moving like crazy as an anti-piracy protection, and that is not good for your eyes. Also, another tilting thing is your lifebar which is located on the bottom of the screen, this was an absurd idea since it hides how much life do you have left as it tilts to the right. I guess they've wanted to make the whole thing go with the rhythm theme, but instead it becomes eye-hurting, the same goes for the "pulsing" ship and enemies throughout the whole game. But the worst part is in Stage 4, where after destroying a wall of orange cubes, they begin to flicker everywhere like crazy like if the damn game is having a seizure (14:18 in this video).


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Nice, [EXPLETIVE] beautiful! Now how I'm gonna see where the enemy is?

If the camera shaking wasn't enough, Stage 6 pulls the "Lights Out" trick to limit your visibility just like in Fission Superstar X, making things invisible as you are limited to a small range of vision.


The music is the best part of the game as it features your classic Paul Van Dyke inspired trance-rave soundtrack to inspire bullet patterns which like I said before, it's a lie since the enemy formations or attack patterns doesn't fit on the percussion and beat. while in the PC port you can upload your own music for create your own bullet hells, the XBOX One port has already a preset soundtrack, resulting in a very nerfed port.


CURIOSITY BEAT
- One of the space stages is a nod to Megamania and Space Invaders as the small enemies feature one of the Invaders and the boss is a space ship similar to the one from Megamania.
- Apparently, the game designers doesn't know the difference between "Again" and "Quit" since picking "Again" on the "Continue or Again" screen closes the game in the XB1 port.



In the end, Bullet Beat is another addition to the evergrowing list of garbage shmups that turn out to be Gamerscore Milkers rather than the rhythm inspired shoot out that claims to be. The only point this game has in favor is its music. While the mentioned issues only ruins the gameplay, it might have potential on the PC since it can use any song you want.
In any case, just forget this game unless you are very desperate for a few 1,000 Gamerscore points.
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