“The smoke bomb looks like a big turd.”
– from the full review, which you can read here.
I really wanted to like Battle Tank.
I mean, I still kinda do, I do not loathe it exactly, but it just pushes too many of my buttons. Didn’t I just review another NES game in which you have to manage fuel consumption?
Speaking of NES games I recently reviewed, I like my games to combine both thought and action. I think a game can definitely be too intellectual, but I also firmly believe that if it is 100% oriented on action, it will ultimately be a more shallow, less fulfilling, less worthwhile experience. When you hear someone describe a game as “empty,” I bet they want something more, although that could be referring to an emotional connection too.
Anyway, here is my point: Great games seamlessly blend elements of both thought and action from the player with an emotive story. Consider the Legend of Zelda series, as a whole really, as a wonderful example there. Now, a lack of emotional plot can be forgiven in the name of fun, sure.
On paper, Battle Tank seems like the perfect mix (in addition: TANKS!). I really liked MechWarrior games on PC back in the day. I like the idea of piloting a complex machine capable of widespread devastation. I like, in theory, being able to command many separate options for weaponry and maneuvers alike. I like turn-based stuff, but doing this in real time has a more gut-punching appeal.
But Battle Tank has failed me. With its A.I. tanks that seem to too readily revert to a “run away” strategy (which is Hell on those fuel reserves, by the way), the way it magically seems to ignore my controller input just at the moment I need a precise shot, the smoke bomb that simply looks like a piece of poop… too many little negative ingredients add up to equalize the positive.
Battle Tank is not bad. But it is not nearly as great as I want to be. And I do not want every game to be great, if that makes sense. Some, I am quite satisfied to let them reside in Mediocre Land.
Battle Tank is the kind of game I could have loved had it been given just a little more love first.
NES Gameplay Tips For Battle Tank: Move as little as possible, treat your 150MM shells as precious artifacts, apply small-arms fire liberally, use the map to your advantage (in other words: use the map a lot), @#$% those helicopters, and avoid mines (duh right).
Read The Full Review For: Thoughts on game design that I am not qualified to have, my unfairly simplistic take on game designer Garry Kitchen’s legacy, additional gameplay screenshots, and a couple pathetic attempts at jokes.