Berzerk: Recharged review: Evil Otto in HD

Berzerk: Recharged is the latest rework of Atari's classic library, but is it worth a fresh laser-ridden walk down memory lane?

Image via Atari

Berzerk was released to arcades in 1980 and came to home systems with the Atari 2600 in 1982. It’s widely been considered to be an influence to various iconic games and media throughout history. With such a legacy behind it, Berzerk became the latest IP in Atari’s collection to get the Recharged treatment. Developed by SneakyBox, Berzerk: Recharged is a fast-paced, top-down arcade shooter and, while it doesn’t have a ton of substance to it beyond that, it does provide enough charm and challenge to be a refreshing take on a classic arcade title.

Get the humanoid!

Much like its 1980 counterpart, Berzerk: Recharged puts players in the role of a nameless hero with a laser blaster in a top-down maze full of hostile robots. The point of the game is for players to destroy every robot in each room and then move on to the next one. The catch? If you stay in a room long enough, a sphere-like foe known as Evil Otto will appear and chase you. If it catches you, it’s instant death and Otto can’t be killed, so this is a fast-paced game in which you’re always trying to make sure you stay one step ahead of Otto as you rack up your score.

Berzerk: Recharged throws a modernized visual style on the whole thing, but keeps its process nearly the same. Each robot, the player character, Evil Otto, and the maze have been redesigned with a modern art style. There are even power-ups new to this version of the game that provide health, give you speed or dash boosts, and temporarily change the hero’s gun. These power-ups added a neat new angle, especially since most of them are so limited and enemies get stronger as you survive longer.

The hero fighting off robots with a laser blaster and dodging incoming fire in Berzerk: Recharged.
Source: Atari

Getting killed is easy to do in Berzerk. You only have five health points, which can be lost a lot faster than you might think as you navigate bullet-hell rooms of robots and turrets. That’s not even including Evil Otto, which gets more aggressive as the game continues. More notably, enemies change color after you traverse a certain number of rooms and take more shots to defeat. This makes for a fun progression throughout the game, though if you die, it’s back to square one. Chasing high scores and seeing how hard the game would get was a fun part of each run.

Berzerk: Recharged has two main game modes to explore: Arcade and Missions. Arcade is classic Berzerk, where you traverse as many rooms as you can while surviving and slaying robots along the way. Missions provide a more finite challenge. Each mission tasks the player with navigating a more restricted maze where players must clear all the robots as quickly as possible without dying. By completing earlier missions, you unlock later and more challenging missions to take on in the menu. That said, I wouldn’t say that Berzerk: Recharged has a lot going on. Between Arcade and Missions, it’s easy to see everything the game has to offer in fairly short order. Even if it’s a remake, it’s still a classic arcade game, after all.

Chicken! Fight like a robot!

Evil Otto chasing the player in Berzerk: Recharged
Source: Atari

Berzerk: Recharged is on the sleeve about what it is. It’s one of the more influential arcade classics of the 1980s with a fresh coat of paint and a few new bells and whistles. It’s pretty, and it plays smooth as butter, but there isn’t a lot past the surface of shooting robots and dodging Otto in an endless maze. If you’re a seasoned arcade enthusiast and like chasing high scores, it could very well be up your alley.

This review is based on a digital PC copy provided by the publisher. Berzerk: Recharged launches on November 9, 2023, on Atari VCS, PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, and Nintendo Switch.

Senior News Editor

TJ Denzer is a player and writer with a passion for games that has dominated a lifetime. He found his way to the Shacknews roster in late 2019 and has worked his way to Senior News Editor since. Between news coverage, he also aides notably in livestream projects like the indie game-focused Indie-licious, the Shacknews Stimulus Games, and the Shacknews Dump. You can reach him at and also find him on Twitter @JohnnyChugs.

Review for
Berzerk: Recharged
  • Solid visual and mechanical overhaul
  • Evil Otto's constant threat makes for fast-paced fun
  • Solid new power-ups
  • Missions add a little variety to the arcade action
  • Very short and limited game
  • Extremely easy to get a game over
From The Chatty
  • reply
    November 8, 2023 6:00 AM

    TJ Denzer posted a new article, Berzerk: Recharged review: Evil Otto in HD

    • reply
      November 8, 2023 8:27 PM

      I was super excited until I watched the trailer and read the article.
      I hate the art style, I hate the character having more than one shot onscreen, I hate HATE nuOtto, I hate the robot arm waggling as they aim (because they are firing so fast).

      I like the different color bots taking more hits (I think they did that in Frenzy - Berserk 2), I like that Otto still teases you (though you used to be teased constantly, especially during Attract mode), I don't hate the time- (or ammo-?) limited weapon upgrades (still too many rounds on screen though).
      The colors and glows are nice.

      They should have added humans (or even cats/dogs/birds) to rescue. Though saving Humanoids is really more of a Williams thing.

      • reply
        November 8, 2023 8:29 PM

        It looks like may still play well, but the art style does strike me as uninspired.

        • reply
          November 8, 2023 9:21 PM

          A friend had a good point:
          "The bullet is a pretty obvious change
          And it turns it from a tactical type game into a bullet hell put as much as you can into the air"

          While I was saying:
          "yeah it's not methodical now
          that's what made "OTTO COMIN'" so scary"

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