by David J. Anderson, F. David Thorpe, Ian Morrison
U.S. Gold Ltd
Crash Issue 10, Nov 1984   page(s) 14

Producer: US Gold Ltd
Memory Required: 48K
Retail Price: £7.95
Language: Machine code
Author: Spectrum version by Ocean

Beach-Head arrived in Britain from America with plenty of pre-publicity as one of those new generation US games that had to be seen. U.S. Gold are now busy bringing all sorts of famous games under licence like Zaxxon (already available for the CBM64 and hopefully soon for the Spectrum). The graphics of Beach-Head on the CBM64 were very good and many people wondered how good they could still be on the Spectrum. The result makes for a favourable comparison - there's hope for Zaxxon as well then!

Beach-Head is a six stage game based loosely on American experiences in some Pacific war, the Second World War judging by the aircraft type. Stage one is the map screen where you must move your cursor to the area you wish to attack. If you opt for the hidden passage you risk losing ships (lives) in sailing them through the mine infested and torpedo-ridden narrows. On the other hand your entry into the inner bay protected by the enemy's fleet goes unnoticed, so they have less time to scramble fighters and bombers against your forces. The second screen is seen from the deck of your landing craft with anti-aircraft guns at the base and the enemy carriers beyond. Bombers cross from left to right while fighterbombers attack you. Too many direct hits and you'll lose a life. Following this is a screen where you must attempt to sink the enemy shipping - a carrier crosses your field of fire, while other ships fire back at you. Completing this takes you to the beach-head itself, where you control tanks as they advance up the dunes, avoiding enemy obstacles. the final battle is the breaching of the giant gun. Here again you are in control of artillery and the object is to shoot out several white blocks in the tower's base before the giant turret can swing round and blast you out of existence.

Scoring is a fairly complex business, well explained in the detailed inlay.


Control keys: user-definable, for directions and fire needed
Joystick: almost any via UDK
Keyboard play: any position to suit, very responsive
Use of colour: very good
Graphics: good, varied, fairly large and detailed in most cases with good 3D in battle scenes
Sound: good
Skill levels: 3
Lives: six ships
Screens: 6 stages

Do you suffer from those disgustingly horrible people so crudely cast as Commodore 64 owners saying how superior their machine is, saying that your beloved Spectrum isn't capable of producing excellent programs like Beach-Head? You do! Now all you have to do is turn around and beat the asterisks out of them, and while doing this you can tell them that your Spectrum has a version of Beach-Head that is every bit as good as the 64 version if not better. The graphics are excellent and are just as pleasing to the eye as the 64 version. The sound - well that is one area where the Spectrum falls down slightly, but even so, it's not bad. The menu options are excellent, catering for just about every joystick plus definable keys too. The game is very playable and certainly addictive. This will keep you happy for a long while. All in all an excellent program well worth the £7.95 and a sure winner. Can't wait for more US Gold games.

This game has a fair mix of different game types in different stages. It's also got an element of strategy. Beach- Head is a good battle/war game with some decent graphics (especially the planes). Good is the word for most of it, but it does not really come into the realm of very good, and at almost £8 the V.F.M. is also knocked a bit.

Spectrum graphics have certainly come a long way since the venerable DK'Tronics game 3D Tanx - and that wasn't bad. The effect of trajectory here is very strong and realistic. This is another translation from a 64 version although this version is far more difficult than its parent, possibly because US Gold well know that Spectrum games play a much meaner game than their 64 counterparts. The oddity of this game, though, is the mix of such excellent graphics (like on the General Quarters and Battle Stations screens) with relatively primitive looking ones (like in Hidden Passage and Beach Head). The explosions are a bit disappointing, just short red puffs - a bit unspectacular. Couldn't they at least have had a few bits falling off, or used alternate colours? Overall, rather mixed feelings. The game is fun to play and quite addictive, but coming from the States, perhaps a bit overpriced.

Use of Computer: 86%
Graphics: 80%
Playability: 79%
Getting Started: 76%
Addictive Qualities: 77%
Value For Money: 75%
Overall: 79%

Summary: General Rating: Good, reasonably addictive, plenty of playability, perhaps over-priced.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Your Spectrum Issue 10, Dec 1984   page(s) 63

Ross: One of the Commodore 64 gamester's most popular releases, Beach- Head has now been implemented on the 48K Spectrum - courtesy of the combined might of US Gold and Ocean. Personally, I never found it that brilliant on the 64, but certainly it's easily as good on the Speccy.

Beach-Head is a multi-screened (six in all) arcade/war game where the aim is to penetrate the defensive power protecting a piece of coastline, and capture the enemy fortress. The first screen is a plan view of the coast you're going to attack; you move a cross (representing your fleet) through a secret passage and into combat with the opposing forces. The other five screens are rather more lively. They involve steering your ships through a barrage of torpedoes, shooting down attacking planes, sinking the enemy ships, guiding your tanks through the shore defences and finally blowing up the enemy's Big Gun.

This is definitely the best piece of code ever written by Ocean. It has good instructions, comprehensive player and control options and a good range of skill levels. 3/5 HIT

Dave: Ocean has done well in converting this from the Commodore 64 version. The game is very playable and the graphics are good, especially the plane attack phase. Even so, it hasn't got very much lasting appeal. 3/5 HIT

Roger: Not enough authentic strategy to please commited wargames recruits and not enough zap-splat-kapoww! to satisfy the electronic bloodlust of trigger-happy arcade troopers. Nevertheless it's got sufficient entertainment and complexity value.2/5 HIT

Ross: 3/5
Roger: 2/5
Dave: 3/5

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Sinclair User Issue 33, Dec 1984   page(s) 42


Memory: 48K
Price: £7.95
Joystick: ZX, Protek, Kempston

A call to General Quarters and a beach head invasion are the stuff of which generals are made but Beach-Head, a typical American import from US Gold, gives you the opportunity to fight the war single handed.

You guide your fleet around an aerial reconnaissance map making sure that you locate the enemy before they find you. Encounters at sea are shown in 3D with your ship's gun turrets at the bottom of the screen, firing salvos at the aircraft which fly in low releasing their bombs in suicidal strafing runs.

Once you have found the enemy base, hidden in a secret passage, and avoided torpedoes, rocks and mines, you can have a go at wreaking your revenge on the enemy.

The graphics used in the beach scenes and at sea are best experienced at least four feet from the computer where they appear to be realistic.

Do not let that put you off what is an excellent game of arcade skill and strategy. It looks as if US Gold is intent on bringing the best of the US software to Britain. If this, its first conversion to the Spectrum, is anything to go by the American products should be well received.

Gilbert Factor: 8/10

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Big K Issue 9, Dec 1984   page(s) 50


MAKER: U.S. Gold/Access Software
FORMAT: cassette
PRICE: £7.95

It's nice to know that the dam' Yankess can produce turkeys as easily as an Brit software house. Beach-Head is as well thought-out as the average White house press release.

The sleeve notes are promising. There are seven stages in play, each of which is a little game in itself,. The trouble is that they're all totally boring. To take one example, the first, all you have to do to complete it is move a cursor across a map from point A to point B. This involves the superhuman ability to distinguish between the up, down, left and right keys. A half trained rhesus monkey could do it.

U.S. Gold's Commodore products impress me. When it comes to the Spectrum, I think they'd better sharpen up their act.

Graphics: 1/3
Playability: 1/3
Addictiveness: 1/3
Overall: 1/3

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Personal Computer Games Issue 13, Dec 1984   page(s) 52,53

MACHINE: Spectrum 48K
CONTROL: Keys, Kemp, Sinc, Prot
FROM: US Gold, £7.95

Ocean have done a great job converting this Commodore 64 game onto the Spectrum. They've managed to keep the same superb 3D graphics which sent the original version to number 1 in the charts. If they were impressive on the '64, on the Spectrum they're astonishing. The sound is also effective, proving that the Spectrum can do more than just beep.

The idea of the game is to use your fleet of ten ships to destroy the Fortress of Kuhn-Lin, but to do so you must survive several dangerous attack-waves.

For the first you can choose between attacking the enemy fleet head-on or trying to navigate a hidden passage.

The latter strategy means guiding your fleet, one by one, through a large pool which has been heavily mined. It appears as a single screen with an entrance at bottom-left and exit at top-right. But as well as dodging mines you must look out for the torpedoes.

The combat sequence which follows is graphically the most brilliant part of the program. Enemy aircraft take off from an aircraft carrier and swoop toward you to drop their bombs. The 3D effect as the planes grow larger on the screen is superb.

If you survive this you move onto the artillery stage which means bombing the enemy ships. This can be tough going, especially as they return fire extremely accurately.

Should you make it, you move on to the beach-head which means another obstacle course. This time you're guiding tanks and have to avoid walls, mines, enemy bunkers, towers and tanks.

My only doubts about this one are in its long-term appeal. With graphics like this you could be seduced into buying something you won't end up playing all that often.

As Spectrum multi-screen shoot-'em-ups go you're unlikely to find anything better than this. Through the secret passage and you can have a go at the enemy planes, frantically raising your barrels as they roar in from aircraft carrier. Getting the ships themselves is a different matter - a degree in ballistics would be useful. Whatever I tried, my shells drooped too short or too long.

Although the sound is as tinny as you would expect, graphics and animation more than compensate, making Beach-Head a must for those who like a fight.


After playing only once I wondered about the lasting interest but soon I slipped into the atmosphere and from then on it's compulsive. Bound to be a big seller - enjoy it.


For some time now '64 owners have been working out their genocidal tendencies on this excellent game, and a Spectrum version has been long awaited by the legions of dead-flesh-tappers.

The graphics are detailed and smooth, and given the hardware limitations sound is reasonable.


Graphics: 9/10
Sound: 7/10
Lasting Interest: 7/10
Overall: 8/10

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Sinclair Programs Issue 26, Dec 1984   page(s) 15

PRICE: £7.95

Just when you thought it was safe to go back to your computer, the bombers are back with a vengeance. Beach head throws you in the deep end with a challenging naval battle, forces you into an invasion by land, and then leaves you to storm the enemy fortresses.

Firstly you move across a map, choosing where you are to begin your assault. Move through the hidden passage, avoiding the torpedoes and mines, then shoot down the bombers approaching from the aircraft carrier, bomb the enemy ships and then move on to Beach head and the final battle.

Arcade enthusiasts will love this game. The graphics in many sections are superb, especially the representations of approaching aircraft which appear from the distant decks of an aircraft carrier, approach rapidly and then swerve above you.

The difficulty levels are also well set. The game is easy enough for novices to accumulate high scores, but difficult enough to make it very difficult to complete.

Earlier in the year it appeared as though games of mindless destruction for the Spectrum were disappearing from the charts once and for all, to be replaced by more thoughtful and more fantastic games. Although Beach Head is an excellent arcade game, it is a step backwards thematically.

Beach Head is produced for the 48K Spectrum by US Gold Ltd., Unit 24, Tipton Trading Estate, Bloomfield Road, Tipton, West Midlands.

Rating: 67%

Transcript by Chris Bourne

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