a fine line that exists between genius and insanity."
Put yourself in the position of Seth 'Wrangler' Beckford.
His gal's been killed by what appears to be self inflicted wounds.
The autopsy reveals she had contracted Pickman's Syndrome - a
schizophrenia that destroys the minds competence to control the
brains destructive ability. Discovered during the 4023 expedition
and named after it's first victim, Richard Pickman, it spread
rapidly among the crew members creating fear, panic and despair.
Meanwhile, a distress signal has been picked up from Beltlogger 9,
a small mining colony in the far reaches of the Galaxy. Brahma
Squadron is sent to investigate but just as Operation Kingdom begins
something goes drastically wrong. When entering the South Gate of
Beltlogger 9 the team comes under heavy fire from the evil Vega's
forces. All ships in the squadron are destroyed - except Brahma
You are all alone and there is no time to send for reinforcements
as Vega must be stopped now. Your only contact with the outside
world is through a crackly radio. Dare you accept the mission?
developers Genki have finally got around to translating this
Japanese mech-robot shooter Brahma Force into English. Climb aboard
a giant robot killing machine and attempt to destroy the evil Vega,
who has taken over the mining colony Beltlogger 9.
Viewed from the first person perspective your mechanical war
machine is armed with a selection of destructive weapons such as
laser guns, grenades and cannons while the playing area is littered
with power ups and firepower upgrades. There are 22 multi-levels to
blast through with the higher platforms accessible via the use of a
jump button on the control pad.
Obviously this will bring to mind other robot blasters such as
Mechwarrior 2, however Brahma Force plays more like your standard
shoot-em-up. In fact the gameplay falls somewhere within Duke Nukem,
Dark Forces and Tunnel B1/Finalist.
The story is relayed via many lengthy sections of FMV. They are
tastefully animated and essential to the plot but may be skipped by
if you don't give a toss. At least they offer a chance to see the
guy you are portraying. He doesn't look like your usual battle
hardened veteran - more like the tall blond guy in Scooby Doo.
The opening level sees Brahma Leader clumping around a confined
corridor and I immediately thought 'here we go again - a network of
mining passageways - door locked - find key in maze - open door -
another door locked - activate switch - door opened....'. How wrong
could I be.
Within seconds you are out in the open blasting a wide range of
enemy robots who attack from both land and sky. All around you are
buildings which may be entered and investigated or climbed upon and
Each level appears as a floating island in deep space and to
contain you within the playing area it has been surrounded by a
domed force field (ala G-Police). This border allows enemy craft to
enter but confines you to the task in hand.
The set is predominantly silver/grey with a dark surrounding. Only
the occasional splash of color is noticeable which draws you towards
a point of interest. This is fine as the enemy robots are all
brightly colored and easy to target against such a gloomy
background. They appear in many guises, from the flying tentacle
thrashing octopus-like creatures and the rapid moving mechanical
guard dogs who have a habit of circling your feet making them a
bitch to target, to the supreme bosses who appear in monumental
Displayed permanently on screen is a selection of useful
information and equipment such as a radar scanner, weapon select,
height gauges and an extremely helpful targeting system that locks
onto the nearest enemy and tracks them until they are either
destroyed or retreat out of range.
Generally the graphics appear to be quite smooth and it's only when
you move right up close to a piece of scenery can any sign of
pixilation be noticed. The enemies are bright, colorful and detailed
but they do shake a little when trapped in a corner. This shouldn't
cause concern as you will hardly want to hang around in this
precarious position for too long.
music is suitable for this type of game being a mixture of screaming
70's guitar rock and your typical 'on the run' backing tracks that
can usually be heard supporting a TV Sci-Fi series.
As an enemy draws near a distinct bleeping sound (think cardiac
arrest) acts as a warning. This begins as a slow steady beat before
rising to a frantic pulse as you come into contact with the creature
which certainly gets the blood pumping through your veins.
Bullets from your rifle can be heard (and seen) pinging off the
solid surrounding walls before finally finding a resting place with
a dull thud. Lasers zip, missiles let rip and rockets are launched
with a deafening roar. Most of the sound effects add to the
atmosphere of the game although I was slightly disappointed with the
explosions which hardly shook the speakers from the wall.
Force is divided into 22 timed levels of which some are mission
based. You basically have to make it to the exit before the clock
runs down and to do this you must collect various key modules and
vital information on the way.
Before you begin a 3D plan will be shown with your starting point
and the location of final gate indicated. This ingenious map system
may be accessed at any point during the game and by a press of the
select button you may pause the game and actually move around a full
three dimensional model of the entire level in play. Unsure what is
around that corner? Then check it out in map mode. Obviously enemy
robots are not shown in this option but it will avoid an awful
amount of backtracking or the loss of valuable time caused by
inadvertently taking the long road.
CPU terminals are scattered throughout each level and logging on to
these will provide a wealth of information - some essential to the
plot, others vital to succeed. Many terminals activate lifts and
platforms to reach higher stages, a few allow you to save your
progress. You receive regular radio contact from your HQ and care
must be taken to digest any knowledge that will be required at a
later stage. Should you forget a vital messages that may contain an
area pass code, then each broadcast may be replayed via your in-game
The BRAHMA (Bipedal Robotics & Heavy Mechanical Armor) is
extremely easy to control. The directional pad is used to move
around while the top two shoulder buttons are set for strafe. This
is brilliant in my book because I really detest shooters that
combine single strafe buttons with the directional pad. The L2, R2
buttons allow you to look up and down. The face buttons may be
configured to shoot, action, raise shield and jump while select is
used for weapon change. Because of this thoughtful control set up
this game plays like many other quality shoot-em-ups and moving
around soon becomes second nature.
Health power ups appear in an unusual form. Each enemy destroyed
leaves behind a small capsule. These are collected and stored in the
Command Screen. To repair your unit pause the game and select the
required number of capsules that are needed to fully recharge your
durability and energy shield. Capsules are available in four
different strengths - 200 - 500 - 1,000 - Full recovery. Only use
what you need.
Weapons may be powered up by collecting WPR's (get it) but the real
meaty hardware must be unveiled by discovering the well hidden
vaults of which there are 24 in total. Find them all and you will
have available an amazing 6 rifles, 6 missiles, 6 lasers, 6
launchers and one almighty 10,000lb bomb.
As you blast your way past droves of robots you soon realize that
Brahma Force uses a reactionary method of attack. This means
whenever you stand on a specific spot, or turn your back on a set
position, a reaction will trigger off another enemy attack. In
effect you can never kill all of the enemies within a level, they
just keep on coming. There are pros and cons to this style of
gameplay. If you find a safe corner and keep turning a full circle
then a regular stream of enemies will move towards you. Simply
taking them out and collecting the remaining power-up is an
excellent way of building up a huge stock pile of ammo. However,
waving your gun in the air and running around like a headless
chicken will see multiple waves of enemies constantly attack from
all directions until your health finally diminishes.
The levels may not be as large as we have come to expect from
similar shooters, but if you take the time to look around then there
are an abundance of secret areas to be discovered. On one of the
levels I accidently fell through a waterfall and found myself in a
long corridor that eventually lead me to a stash of power-ups and
weapons (take note United Nations palace inspectors). Other secrets
may be discovered by blasting down walls or pushing obstacles
Force will appeal to those gamers who appreciate shooters in the
style of Duke Nukem and Dark Forces. The game moves extremely smooth
which is essential as the enemies are lighting quick. I completed
all 22 levels within a week of occasional play but it does have a
replay value as completing the game within one and a half hours
upgrades your mech to a flying machine where you can now take your
time to discover all of the secret areas.
will doubtlessly be informed that Brahma Force is a 'Doom clone'.
Not so, more of a Doom comparison because you shoot to kill, strafe
to survive and you must carry out your missions all alone. That's
Better than Doom?
Dangerous ground as the Williams classic touched a part of gamers
hearts (and that sensitive part of your bum) that no other shooter
has come close to reach. Let's just say that certain aspects have
been improved while that feeling of sheer terror (you know, when you
go to pick up the blue key and all hell breaks loose) is sadly
Enjoyable game but lacks a little atmosphere.