Beam Breakers

Genre: Racing
Release Year: 2002
Developer: Similis
Publisher: JoWooD Entertainment
Age Rating: Everyone
Playability Status: Fully playable (minor issues only)
Tested On: Windows 8 x64
Availability: Copyright retained - Out of print/unavailable

Have you ever seen the movie “Fifth Element” ? If so, did you think “wouldn’t it be awesome to be like Bruce Willis in his flying taxi cab?” No, we didn’t either, but clearly the developers of Beam Breakers did. In this futuristic racing game you will fly your anti gravity car around futuristic cities, delivering pizzas, passengers and even participating in the odd illegal race or two.


Beam Breakers should install without any fuss on modern PCs. Simply insert the disc in your computers optical drive and follow all on-screen prompts. As you install the game, Windows may automatically apply some compatibility settings. That’s fine, let Windows do its thing and then just proceed to install the game as normal.

We couldn’t find any evidence of any patches for the game, so once you have installed the game you can proceed directly to the next section.

Tweaking visual quality

Most of the games visual quality options can be configured in the game by going to the Settings menu and selecting “3D Hardware”. However, on our Windows 8 machine, every time we tried to change the settings here, the game would ask us to confirm the change and then simply exit to the desktop. Fortunately there is a relatively easy workaround. Open the Beam Breakers installation folder (by default that is located at C:\Program Files (x86)\JoWooD\BeamBreakers). In this folder, locate a file called “Settings.ini”. For best visual quality, change the following values in this file.


For a tutorial on how to edit files like this, see this page. Alternatively, you can download our pre-edited ini file here. Simply copy the file from the zip folder and drop that into your Beam Breakers game folder, replacing the existing file. This version of the file is pre-configured to 1080p resolution so you may still need to edit the file to set your desired screen resolution.

When you have edited and saved the ini file, start the game again. Open the settings menu and choose “Level of Detail”. On a modern PC you can ramp all the detail settings up to maximum too.

Changing resolutions and playing in widescreen

As with the other visual quality options, we weren’t able to set screen resolution in-game without the game crashing out to the desktop. To work around this problem, we can edit the Settings.ini file as discussed above. If you have a modern, widescreen monitor you should first decide if you want to play the game in widescreen mode or original 4:3 mode. Out of the box, the highest resolution that the game supports is 1280×1024. Beam Breakers is a 4:3 aspect ratio (non-widescreen) game. It is possible to force the game to run in widescreen however. If you do this you may find that certain graphical elements (especially cut-scene videos) are stretched or distorted. In our tests however everything still looked pretty good in game.

To set your desired resolution simply edit the Resolution line in the Settings.ini file and change it to whatever screen resolution you desire. For 1080p use “Resolution=1920x1080x32”. For 720p it’s “Resolution=1280x720x32” (do not copy the quotation marks). Remember to save the file when you are done editing it.

In the ini file there’s also a variable called “AspectRatio”. This is set to 0.60 by default. Ideally, since the games aspect ratio changes if you play it in widescreen, this value should change too, however we’re simply not sure what value to use here, so if anyone knows please do leave a comment below the article.

Configuring Sound

Like many games of this era, Beam Breakers supported the now defunct hardware accelerated audio standards. Because Microsoft depreciated hardware accelerated audio in Windows Vista, it is not possible to select the highest quality audio settings from within the game. If you have a sound card that supports Creative ALchemy or similar software, you can use that to reactivate the full 3D audio settings. Start by exiting the game and then starting the ALchemy tool. On the main ALchemy window, click on “Add”. In the window that then appears, enter “Beam Breakers” as the game name and choose “Use Game Path”. Use the “…” button to browse to the Beam Breakers game folder then click on “OK”. Finally, select “Beam Breakers” from the left hand side of the ALchemy window and click on “>>” to activate the profile.

With ALchemy enabled, you can now start the game again and enable 3D audio, hardware accelerated audio and the highest quality audio settings by opening the games settings menu and then choosing “Audio”.

Configuring controllers

Beam Breakers fully supports analogue controllers and we didn’t have any issues setting up our Xbox 360 controller for use with the game. To configure controls, from the games main menu select “Options” and then “Steering”. It is then just a matter of selecting each control in turn and pressing the button or trigger on your pad that you want to use.

For super comfy couch gaming, you can also use the following simple Xpadder profile.


By binding the arrow keys, Enter and Escape like this, you can navigate the games menus entirely from your game controller, without ever needing to reach for the mouse or keyboard during play.


CD Audio does not play:- The game includes a full CD audio sound track, but on most machines this will not play. We do not have a workaround for this issue just yet, but we’re investigating a tool that may help.

Game exits when minimised:- If you run the game in full screen mode then attempt to alt-tab from the game back to the desktop, you will find the game simply shuts itself down. As a workaround you can run the game in windowed mode by editing the Settings.ini file in the games directory and replacing the line “Windowed=0” with “Windowed=1”.

Game locks up during startup:- Can happen on multi-monitor machines. Disable all extra monitors before starting the game.

Problems saving games or settings:- Like many older games, Beam Breakers places its save game files and configuration files in the same directory that it is installed to. This can cause problems on more modern versions of Windows as programs are not normally permitted to write to the program files directory. To avoid this problem, either install the game to an alternate location (e.g c:\Games\BeamBreakers) or manually edit the permissions on the “BeamBreakers” folder. If you used the default installation directory, the games folder can be found at “C:\Program Files (x86)\JoWooD\BeamBreakers”. A tutorial on how to edit folder permissions can be found here.


  1. VirtuaIceMan says:

    Yeah I had fun with this one. Not managed CD audio either.

    Also, the Setup.exe in the game folder will allow you to configure some of the in-game graphics, without needing to edit the config.ini file.

    I’m not sure if the AspectRatio needs changing for widescreen, as I flew up to some circles in-game, and they still appear circular (as opposed to ovals if the game was being stretched in aspect ratio). Also in the tutorial the faces appear in a square, and the holographic square textures on the wall are square too.

  2. Chris says:

    This game was great,I still remember the countless nights I was playing when I was still young. I like to know if there is another games like that,but more recent.

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