Battle Tank



The animation here is beautiful, all the tanks rolling across the plains...

The animation here is beautiful, all the tanks rolling across the plains…

“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.

FIRE!

FIRE!

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.

I really like how the map screen is used in this game, actually.

I really like how the map screen is used in this game, actually.

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.

I love the smell of napalm in the morning?

I love the smell of napalm in the morning?

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.

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