"Bezerk: Recharged - Chased by Pixels, Haunted by Neon"

  I n the eerie confines of the neon-lit arcade, I find myself ensnared in a nightmarish labyrinth, pursued by an unfathomable terror. Evil ...


In the eerie confines of the neon-lit arcade, I find myself ensnared in a nightmarish labyrinth, pursued by an unfathomable terror. Evil Otto, a malevolent force with a haunting grin, trails behind me, his relentless chase echoing through the pulsating corridors. The robots, once lifeless machines, now chase me with determination, their metallic clanks punctuating their approach. Every step I take, every glance over my shoulder, heightens the sense of dread as I confront my deepest fears and carry on into the unknown labyrinth. In this macabre dance between life and machine, I am not merely a player but a hero battling shadows, armed with nothing but my wits and a pixelated gun. Welcome to Bezerk:Recharged, a heart-pounding odyssey where your only choice is to run, and your only hope was to survive the nightmarish pursuit in this haunted digital realm and escape.

Welcome to Bezerk

What is it?

In the early days of arcade gaming, there was Berzerk—a timeless classic multidirectional shooter designed by Alan McNeil and released for arcades in 1980 by Stern Electronics of Chicago. Berzerk places the player in a series of top-down, maze-like rooms containing armed robots and back in the 1980's it captured the hearts of gamers with its simple yet addictive gameplay and pioneering use of speech synthesis. 

Berzerk: Recharged takes the essence of the original Berzerk and injects it with a burst of neon energy. You find yourself in a deadly maze, stalked by menacing robots driven by a singular purpose: your demise. Evil Otto, the ever-grinning, indestructible nemesis, looms large, reminding you that survival hinges on a single imperative: RUN! 

The game retains the essence of the classic but adds updated graphics, new power-ups, and the option for cooperative gameplay, allowing you to team up with a friend in the face of danger.


At its core, Berzerk: Recharged is still the multidirectional shooter where you navigate a maze filled with robots and a terrifying smiling ball. Your mission? Survive. 
The controls are so simple you the game shows them to you on the first screen when you start a run. 

Move, Dash, Shoot, Powerup.

With the addition of a second stick moving and aiming in Bezerk has never been easier. 
As you move your way through the maze you will encounter many enemies with one aim, and one aim only. Destroy the intruder. And they are not in the mood to talk. 

Drone - Based on the classic Berzerk enemy, Drones walk slowly toward you shooting burst fire.

Pursuer - Lives up to its name by homing in on players and blowing up on impact.

Turret - Stationary enemy that shoots once you’re within its line of sight.

Crawler - Follows along the walls.

And then there is the dreaded Evil Otto. Maybe the worlds first true video game villain. With an eerie smile on his face and totally indestructible you can do nothing else but run when he appears before he gets you.

To help you along your way the game now introduces upgrades to pick up along the way. But be careful it is not always worth chasing down treasure when death looms along the way.  there are Shields, health as well as better items such as shotguns or even lasers that shoot through walls, but have a much longer reload time.
Each of those upgrades only last a limited time so make use of them in a pinch but be ready for them to deplete leaving you without in a flash. The fact that in some cases you get to activate them with the push of a button might help you in that timing.  

Another useful skill in the game is the Dash, which allows you to move through bullets and enemies, all but that dreaded Otto. However, a well-placed dash can really get you out a bad situation. It is however all to easy to run away from one enemy just to bash into the volley of another. Things move fast in bezerk.

You will find two modes in Bezerk: Recharged to sink you teeth in. the first one is the standard "endless" arcade mode with randomly generated levels to move through lasting as long as you can driving up that high score. 
The intensity escalates as you progress, with robots changing color schemes to reflect the growing challenge.  Armed with an array of power-ups—spread shots, railguns, and more—you blast through waves of relentless enemies. The twin-stick controls provide a seamless experience, allowing you to focus on the thrill of the chase and the joy of victory.

The second mode is missions. A unique set of challenges of 30 meticulously crafted mazes, each presenting unique challenges to test your skills. These mazes and the enemies within are not random at all but will prove to be testing your reflexes and mental fortitude to complete and unlock all the achievements the game had to offer. Try different ways to get through all levels, it won't be so easy.

If the challenge in either Arcade or Missions is getting too much you can ask a buddy to come help you take on the threat together in 2 player coop mode. The game stays essentially the same but everything is so much better with a friend. isn't it?

Despite its random levels, specific challenges and upgrades to gameplay Bezerk: Recharged is has not changed into a rogue lite game. It rather focuses on its arcade roots and stayed true to that principal gameplay.  To some that might make the game skin deep, but such were the games back in the day and moving away from that would in my opinion be make the game no longer THAT game.  Instead, the longevity of the game comes from the solid gameplay loop and allowing you as a player to hone your skills and reflexes and increasing your score, higher and higher. 


Berzerk: Recharged dazzles with its neon-infused visuals, capturing the essence of the '80s arcade era. The graphics, while simple, are remarkably effective, immersing you in a vibrant, pulsating world. The 3D walls add depth to the maze but can be visually disorienting especially as you are on the other side of the wall. Too often I misinterpreted the thick line, representing the top of the wall as the barrier, only to realize to late I could further down and so could an enemy. Perhaps this is a side effect of being familiar with the original Bezerk but in a way you could few it as well as it is adding an extra layer of challenge. While the game lacks the original's iconic computerized speech from Evil Otto, the game makes up for it with some great sound effect and Megan McDuffee's stellar soundtrack which complements the gameplay, creating an ambiance reminiscent of intense space station shootouts and the groovy '80s arcade scene. It was easy to keep playing over and over getting sucked into the challenge and unwilling to admit defeat load a new game to proof that this time.... I can go even further.

*note. After playing the game again after the official release date all the speech allowing for Otto to taunt you as you move through the maze are back in working condition making the experience even more complete.

Parental Recommendation
This is an easy one, the game is for everyone and is a great way to learn to think fast, hone those reflexes and even add some strategizing in order to survive through the game. It is rated E for everyone so no issues with that either. Add the sweet bonus of coop play and it makes this game a complete fun game for a few hours on the sofa enjoying some exiting challenges. 

Final Thoughts

Berzerk: Recharged is a delightful blend of nostalgia and modern gaming, offering a thrilling experience for both fans of the original and newcomers alike. Its simplicity, combined with the pulsating neon visuals and challenging gameplay, makes it a must-play title. While the game lacks extensive customization options, and still looking overly simplistic compared to what games can look like in this day and age, its draw lies in the raw excitement of the gameplay and the thrill of overcoming increasingly difficult challenges. For a reasonable price, Berzerk: Recharged provides a fantastic opportunity to relive the glory days of arcade gaming, all while embracing a contemporary twist. So, grab a friend, brace yourself for a heart-pounding adventure, and get ready to RUN from Evil Otto in this maze shooter that captures the spirit of the '80s arcade scene in a thoroughly enjoyable way. 

And for those that want to go even more hardcore retro, check out Atari's re-release of the original Atari 2600 Bezerk , which comes out just in time for the release of the 2600+ retro console. 

Game Bezerk Recharged 
Developer:  Sneaky Box Platform: PC (Steam) , Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, XBox one |Series X\S, Atari VCS (later this year)
Release Date:8 November 2023 (Price:9.99)
Review PlatformPlayStation 5
ESRB: E (Mild Fantasy Violence)


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