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ATPM 4.10
October 1998


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Review: Beached II

by Tom Iovinio,


Product Information
Written by: Marc Boxall

System Requirements
System 7.0 or later
68020 or faster or PowerPC
256 colors/grays

Ahh, the tropics. Gin-clear waters. Glorious sunshine. Desert Islands.

The latter is the setting for Mark Boxall’s new strategy game, Beached II. Once I read the description of the game, I had to get my hands on it. I am a big fan of strategy games, and it’s a refreshing change of pace when I come across one that doesn’t involve warfare.

Boxall sets the stage for his game when he writes:

Whilst traveling out on the open sea your boat sinks. You and two others are washed onto a tropical island. The island is a paradise with trees bananas coconuts and vines. However you suddenly remember the long range weather forecast. A tornado will form in this area in about one week. You must work hard to build a raft to get off the island but also make sure you keep alive by eating drinking and sleeping. The other survivors must build their own rafts too. You must decide if and when you help them or if you line your own pockets with gold.

As in the classic game of Rock, Paper, Scissors, there are three implements which our stranded heroes can use to achieve their ultimate goal of survival—a saw, a desalinator, and a fishing pole. The saw obviously helps in the felling of trees, the desalinator keeps our heroes from dying of thirst, and the fishing pole helps stave off starvation. The catch is that during the game set up, each player only has two of the implements, so bartering becomes a valuable skill to master.

[beachedShot graphic]

However, not all of the implements are created equally. If you don’t have the desalinator, you can still harvest coconuts and drink the coconut milk. If you don’t have the fishing pole, either coconuts or bananas are available as sustenance. Unfortunately, the only way to fell trees is with the saw. I have been playing the game for a few weeks now, and have yet to get off the island without it.

Besides eating food and drinking water, the player must manage the amount of rest they get, lest they die of fatigue. While players may sleep anywhere on the island, they get the most benefit from sleeping in a camp which they set up.

The camp is more than just a place to sleep. In order to build your raft, you have to cut trees and harvest vines. Since you can only carry so many trees and vines at once, you have to stash your materials at your camp as well.

Building the raft is as easy as collecting the requisite eight logs and four vines and building the raft turn by turn. I was disappointed the first time I completed a raft because there was no indication from the game that I had succeeded in my task. Suddenly, my character just ceased to be on the island. An announcement that I had been saved would be a nice addition to the game.

One strange activity Boxall has included in the game is the ability to mine for gold. I was reminded of the scene in Titanic when Kate Winslet’s rich fiancé offered the ship’s mate a big wad of cash for a spot on one of the last life boats. The ship’s mate threw the money back at him and asked what good it would be to a dead man. With the ever-present threat of starvation and dehydration, and a storm-imposed deadline a few days away, mining for gold was the last thing I would consider doing in the game.

Game control was difficult at best. Each game began with me moving the mouse over each of the three characters to determine which one I was controlling. I also found it challenging to make my character move in the direction I wanted him to go. The mouse controls were pretty sloppy, and I wasted several moves having to correct errant mouse clicks.

Technically, I found myself very disappointed. Fully one quarter of the times I played this game, my LC 580 froze or gave me a bus error. This is way too frequently for my taste. However, the author has encouraged users to report bugs so he could improve the game—I will be sure to forward this to his attention.

And, one side note. Living in Florida has give me a real education in severe weather. We see the fourth largest number of tornadoes in the United States here in Florida, and we always keep a wary eye turned to the sky during hurricane season. All of the exposure to these weather phenomena has taught me that tornadoes are random, unpredictable events which touch down without any warning, while hurricanes can be observed and tracked for days on end as they chug across the Atlantic. By telling the players that a tornado is expected in a week stuck with me every time I played. I guess I have to start watching less of the Weather Channel.

So, if you are looking for a strategy game that doesn’t involve warfare, you had best put on your steel pot and march back to war. Beached doesn’t yet have the right stuff.

[apple graphic] Copyright © 1998 Tom Iovino, Reviewing in ATPM is open to anyone. If you’re interested, write to us at

Reader Comments (2)

Marc Fisher · June 7, 2003 - 17:28 EST #1
I completely agree with your review. I've been playing the game for a couple of days now, and it's not that bad of a game, depending on what you want in a strategy game. This is a short, simple game that you can learn how to master in under 24 hours, such as I did--which is cool and OK with me. Even though there is a part of me that wants this game to drag out a bit further and that it may be too easy a strategy game, I think it's decent.

As stated, if you want to win, you have two choices: the saw and the desalinator or the saw and the fishing rod. But, you have to have the saw, because it's hard to trade with the computer (they're kinda selfish with their wood).

Mining for gold is a waste of time and kind of worthless, but if you are going for high scores, then best of luck.

If you want to win, this is what you do:

1) Go collect 4 vines. Do this before the computer does. Each island only has a maximum of 10 vines on 4 trees, and if there are three of you, and each of you require four vines each, somebody is going to come up short. Make sure that isn't you.

2) Stock up on coconuts and bananas or fish (if you have the rod). If you don't have the desalinator, then you better stock up heavy on coconuts. Whatever you lack, the rod or desalinator, make up with bananas or coconuts.

3) Once you drain the tree of its fruit, then chop it down. The problem with collecting 8 pieces of wood is that you can only carry one at a time unless you lack other supplies (food and water), then you can carry two.

4) During the game, the computer's character(s) will attempt to trade with you. Half of the time, trading is a bad thing. So, don't trade unless they have an abundant supply of food and water because you really need that stuff. Most of the time, they'll want to trade with you if you are carrying wood. You can always cut more wood, if you have the saw, so go ahead and trade but never ever trade vines. They are rare.


The mouse thing sucks, I would rather direct my dude with the keypad.

There needs to be more fruit trees or the trees need to be more bountiful. Sometimes I found myself needing coconuts and I didn't have the salinator and I would have to go to the other end of the island just to find a tree. I nearly died as a result.

I think what would've been cool is if you had the ability to swap tools. This would solve the saw dilemna.

Also, what I can't stand the most is that when you do swap supplies, you swap everything. I think there should be more haggling involved, where you trade fish for water not fish, bananas, wood, vines for water. But, then again, this is a small, limited game.

Overall, the game could be a little better. It would be nice if you could drag it out some and have an actual chance to survive without a saw and with more fruit trees. But I guess beggars can't be choosers, not even on a deserted island.

Tom Iovino (ATPM Staff) · June 9, 2003 - 08:25 EST #2
I read you loud and clear! However, I still take this game out every so often and see if I can get off the island without the saw. So far, 5 years later, I've accomplished this feat three times.

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