Thursday, March 7, 2013

My 100 Most Favorite Video Games of All Time # 97: Robot Tank

What wasn’t there to love about Activision’s 1983 Battlezone “homage” Robot Tank?  You commanded (remotely) a tank and your mission was to seek out enemy tanks and blow them to bits before they could reach … Santa Clara, California!  Of course, they shot back at you, and if they hit you lost some control of your tank or if it were a direct hit, totally lost the tank.  As if that weren’t enough (and in those days, that was often all you got), this game came with changing weather conditions and a transition from day to night.  That innovation is what caused me to purchase the game in the first place.  I figured it would make tank destroying fun, and it did, but what I didn’t realize is that it would also make me very, very nervous. 

Shooting tanks is great, but when your video screen and radar goes out at night and the screen goes black periodically, you can’t help but feel a bit tense when you hear another unseen tank unleash some hell in your direction.  You could try backpedalling or turning, but you didn’t know if you are turning into or away from the shot.  You also had to take whatever shot you could in those rare moments when you could see what was on your screen and hope for the best.  Today’s military has it so much easier.

Graphically, the game was fairly minimalist.  It was Atari back in the early ‘80s, so that is a given.  The graphics, however, still served the game well, though the outskirts of Santa Clara could have been the outskirts of any town anywhere.  Since you were supposed to be remotely controlling a tank, the graphics actually made a bit of sense as you could imagine that what you saw on your television is what you would have seen if you were really commanding a robot tank back in the early ‘80s. 

I’ve played this game again recently, just to revisit it.  I have to say that while it seems less intense these days (or perhaps my nerves are deadened from years of Candoor Root abuse), it still holds up fairly well.  Granted, there are better combat games that have come along, but back then this was about as good as it got for your home console when it came to tanks blasting the snot out of each other.

Mandatory FTC Disclaimer:  I paid for this freakin' game.  Clicking on a link may earn me a commission.

1 comment:

  1. this game frustrates me! but you make a good point about how you become obsessed with unlocking horrible games.