VGF.Net - Video Gamers First Network
 
   Navigation menu
 
NGF Home
News
Codes
Reviews
Previews
Mailbag
Features
Release List
FAQs
Contests
Affiliates
Staff
Misc.

     

 

Specials:
-Staff Picks: Favorite Video Game Theme Songs
-Sonic Comparison Part III
-Sonic Comparison Part II
(More Specials)

GCN Reviews:
-Enter the Matrix
-Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Chaos Bleeds
-Charlie's Angels
(More GCN Reviews)

GBA Reviews:
-Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow
-Pokémon Pinball: Ruby & Sapphire
-Mega Man & Bass

(
More GBA Reviews)

GCN Previews:
-X-Men: Legends
-The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords

(
More GCN Previews)

GBA Previews:
-Sword of Mana
-Final Fantasy Tactics Advance
(More GBA Previews)

News:
-GameCube Now $99
-Atlus Ships Shining Soul
-Mario Kart Pre-Order Bonus
-XIII Multiplayer Details
-WWE Wrestlemania XIX Ships
-THQ & Disney Deal on GBA
-New Player's Choice Titles
-Dr. Pepper Contest
-Soul Calibur II Ships
-Two Atlus GBA Screens
-GBA Selling Well
-Midway Announces NARC
-Majesco Ships Iridion II
-DBZ Character Profiles

-BAM! Ships Ed, Edd n Eddy
-Splinter Cell Ships Early
-Splinter Cell Connectivity Details
-ATI Working on Next Nintendo?
(More News)


   
 
Message Boards | VGF.com | Hosting/Get Affiliated  
 
Ad Info
 
 
Beach Spikers

Review By:  Siou Choy

Developer:  AM2
Publisher:  Sega
# of Players:  1-4
Genre:  Sports
ESRB:  Everyone
Online:  No
Accessories:  Memory Card
Date Posted:  7-8-03

Forget about the extreme sports thing: like tattoos and piercings, that’s all played out.  No (and somewhat surprisingly), if you’re to go by what’s being offered by the major players, it seems like volleyball games (of all things) are the hot ticket of late.  With one game after another on their way to your local retailer’s shelves, it may be easy to overlook Sega’s Beach Spikers for the GameCube in favor of more over hyped entries such as DOA: Xtreme Beach Volleyball, Outlaw Volleyball or several other games set for later release.  While lacking the appeal of genre favorites bouncing around semi-clothed (“ooh, that Ayane is hot…pant pant”), it’s a solid entry that should tide the overactive hormone crowd over till more flashy entries arrive (or drop to reasonable prices).

There’s no question that Beach Spikers is a nice looking game.  The graphics are top notch, and the animation runs smoothly throughout.  Let’s face facts: all you horny guys are picking up these games for the three-steps-removed sex appeal of well toned virtual girls; and the folks at AM2 don’t fail to deliver the goods.

The place where Beach Spikers really shines is in its multiplayer mode.  Up to 4 people can play, and with tongue planted firmly in cheek, all the pseudo-beach bunny cheesiness can become pretty damn addictive.

The arcade mode proves a bit of a disappointment, as while you’re forced to control both members of your team, the computer tends to switch you automatically (and without warning) to the player closest to the ball.  Needless to say, what the computer considers the closest teammate isn’t always what you may consider the closest teammate, leading you to react as if you were in one spot, only to find that you suddenly are in control of another instead... 

World Tour mode allows you work your way through volleyball league rankings on your way to number one.  In keeping with current sports game trends, you’re able to customize your player’s appearance and outfits to your liking.   By playing (and winning) successive matches you earn extra “ability points”, which get allocated to your teammate.  Needless to say, she’ll need them: she starts off with none and plays extremely poorly (think Spaz from Meatballs, and you get a rough idea of what you’re dealing with here).  Gradually you’ll see an improvement, as you rack up the matches and points.

There is an odd cutscene that pops up in the middle of each match during the World Tour:  When you change court sides you’re given the option to “praise”, “encourage”, “reprimand”, or “do nothing” in an attempt to raise your teamwork percentage.  Counter-logically, the computer appears to choose, entirely at random, which option will raise the percentage.  Since your partner starts out playing rather pathetically, you might assume that any slight improvement would merit praise.  However, if you do so, she will tell you “not to lie to (her)” and her percentage will drop.  Encouragement likewise appears to change nothing, while reprimands drop her percentage even more.  So don’t ask me what the hell you’re supposed to do here – Missouri mules are more manageable than your virtual World Tour partner.  My best advice: punt and hope for the best.  You can’t do any worse than if you approach this whole scenario with logic and precision.

Irrespective of the mode you play in, gameplay runs fairly smoothly throughout.  The girls move about the court reasonably well, but don’t appear capable of grasping the concept of moving around or jumping over a fallen teammate, which results in a lot of easy points for the opposing team.

Included in the game is a decent, if imperfect tutorial mode that helps you get into the swing of things.  While a trifle repetitive, this mode proves rather helpful in teaching the newbie the basics of gameplay, particularly in regards to blocking.

There are also three “mini-games” in Beach Spikers:

  • The pointless and nonsensical Beach Flags, wherein you run a few feet and (get this) slide baseball-style in the hot sand (remember, these are trim young girls in skimpy bikinis we’re talking about) to grab a flag.  Doubtless this one will prove a real treat for the S&M freak or revenge-obsessed psoriasis victim among us; the rest should steer clear.
  • Beach Countdown is the only one of any real amusement value, as the standard issue volleyball is replaced with some sort of expanding bomb, which increases (and times down) with each successive volley, until its eventual explosion, blowing craters in the beach and causing the losers to stagger and fall just like barflies at closing time.  If you’ve ever wished that volleyball game just down the beach from you would move straight to Normandy, circa 1944, here’s where you get your wish.
  • And last (if not least, given the absurdism and brevity of Beach Flags), we have the bizarre “Beach P.K.”. What the hell that means, I don’t know.  In fact, I don’t think the developers know, given their great explanation (and I quote): “Play in a P.K. Shootout, volleyball style”.  Yeah, like this is supposed to mean anything to the rest of the world.  What the hell is “P.K.” supposed to stand for? Somebody’s girlfriend’s initials?  Some new acronym for intercourse popular among high school freshmen in Spudunk, Iowa?  “Don’t P.K. your nose in public?”  The manual offers no light on this earthshaking, yet strangely disturbing subject.  According to the manual (et seq.): “Each player takes turns attacking the opponent’s goal (court), while the other player defends it.  When attacking, the CPU will toss the ball, so watch the power gauge and attack to drop the ball into the opponent’s goal.  When defending, try to keep the ball from dropping within the goal by blocking or receiving.  The game is played in a best of 5 rounds, but will continue into sudden death rounds when the winner is not decided.”  Uh-huh.  Sounds like regular old volleyball to me.  Whatever, AM2…(and what the hell is that supposed to stand for, may I inquire?  Something obliquely connected to the “P.K.” mystery?  Whatever…)

The sound in Beach Spikers could use some work.  The announcer proves a tad too enthusiastic for my taste, gleefully shouting “YOU LOSE!” each time you do so, or “fantastic!” at inappropriate (and wholly average) points in gameplay.  While this appears to be a bit of a trend among newer Japanese origin arcade games (anybody remember the annoying prick from Dance Dance Revolution?), this becomes a real irritation during the World Tour mode, as, to be quite blunt, your partner sucks; which causes one to lose far too many games, regardless of one’s personal best efforts or skill level.  Even the voiceover that plays during menus becomes grating with repeated exposure.  A dementedly chipper “Thank you!  Enjoy the game!” sounds like something the clown who gives you the fudge sundae when you asked for a small fry at McDonalds would blurt out.  It just comes off awkward in the course of a take-home console game, and the incessant repetition every time you access the menu just starts to piss you off after a while.  Likewise, it would have been nice if they could have programmed the announcer to have more responses than “fantastic!” every time you set a volley (with no relation whatsoever to how well said volley actually plays out).  Additionally, you very rarely hear the girls talk in the game (even during cutscenes).  Regardless of your feelings on game music and effects, Beach Spikers’ limited palette of sound bites and uninspired soundtrack will leave you rushing to cut the sound and pop in a CD instead.

Beach Spikers is without a doubt an arcade based volleyball game.  The action is fast and fun, rather than the slower (if perhaps more involving) simulation style of console-origin sports games.  While there are certainly a few bugs to be worked out, if taken for what it is, Beach Spikers is a fluffy bit of amusement to pass the time when friends drop by for a spell.  Its very straightforwardness finds it lacking somewhat in extended replay value (nobody’s going to sit there for days playing this one solo), but as a one-on-one alternative to the standard fighter or shooter, Beach Spikers holds its own.  And of course, guys (nudge nudge), there’s also the T&A factor.  Who would have thought bits and bytes of binary code could look so good?

Highs:

  • Amusing and diverting in multiplayer mode
  • Nice graphics
  • Beach Countdown mini game is a rip, and a welcome break from the standard proceedings (particularly when your partner is killing you on the World Tour).

Lows:

  • Arcade mode’s computer-directed automatic switching of player to what it feels is the closest one to the ball proves rather jarring and causes far more mistakes than if wholly manually controlled.
  • Unimaginative music and annoying voiceovers 
  • Not a lot to hold your interest as a solo entertainment

Final Verdict:

Not a bad package, if you find it for $20 or less.  While it definitely has its merits, both graphically and in terms of gameplay, ultimately, Beach Spikers is nothing more than a holdover for those waiting on a DOA X price drop or Outlaw Volleyball release.  There’s plenty to enjoy here, particularly in terms of eye candy for the virtual girl-obsessed, but overall, a superbly average bit of fluff to pull out for a few rounds with your pals.  Nice looking but empty and without any lasting value (like the girls you wish you could pick up on the club scene).   The sign says “welcome to Hollywood”, folks.  Your choice whether to get off or wait till the next stop.

Overall Score: 7.0

Additional Images:
 

 



VGF.com
Cheat Codes
PC Gamers First
PlayStation Gamers First
Xbox Gamers First

 
 


 
nin.vgf.com
© 1999-2005 VGF.com. All Rights Reserved. All content contained herein is property of VGF, Inc. VGF is not affiliated with any video game companies. Logos, trademarks, names, images, etc. are property of their respective companies. More legal info. Privacy Statement.
Click for VGF.com Main Nintendo Sony PlayStation/Playstation 2 Sega X-Box