Beam Breakers (2002)

Traveling vertically has always been a challenge, we only just got our heads around rocket travel, and helicopters are too infeasible for daily travel, that’s why a hallmark of any good sci-fi story is the hover transport. Following the American Dream along the Z axis, making old-style traffic jams a thing of the past. One game that put this freedom into the hands of early 21st century inhabitants was 2002’s Beam Breakers.

Who needs Drones, when you got cars that fire pizza’s at you?

You start as a Pizza delivery boy in Neo York city, after showing prowess in handling the streets (can it still be called streets?) your welcomed into the Ciclioni crime family. Hover racing is the sport de jure of the inhabitants of the future, but simple activities like car theft and other nefarious deeds haven’t fallen out of fashion. This being grand theft hover car, you can travel along the Z-axis and its refreshing the amount of freedom that it instills, ducking and rise over the cops and other pedestrians as you shave precious seconds off the clock.

The game isn’t too linear about the order you attempt and complete certain missions.

The game sports 50 odd missions that test your speed and ruthlessness, an observation mode, essentially a free ride is also available that allows you to take in the sites and that’s something you’ll probably want to do, as classic New York locales have been given a makeover in the 22nd century. If that’s not enough, you also have a championship cup of 30 plus races. Racing is open to the city, so you can take a shortcut off the track and cut significant time, if you’re able to.

Chapters have music related names like these.

Beam Breakers has a wide array of stylish hover cars, you’ll start with a simple pizza delivery vehicle, but soon unlock better transport and equipment as you progress. The missions, once unlocked, can be completed in any order, so if you’re stuck, a better bit of kit might be awarded in another mission. Some of the activities you’ll be engaged in are far from legal, and the police can put your hover joyride early. However, littered around the city are power-ups, some that disables the rush hour traffic, repair your damaged car, fill your turbo meter making quick work of other racers and the cops. 

Seems like a perfectly reasonable trophy for illegal street racing.

When compared to its contemporaries, Beam Breakers managed to pack in a lot onto a 600 MB CD, a fully realised futuristic metropolis, fun and intuitive hover car handling with excellent world-building, and more activities to shake a stick at. You might find the thoughts of committing future crimes uncomfortable, but it would be criminal to turn this offer down.

…Oh, it did not seem that big in the unlock window. Where am I going to store that?

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