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Battlezone (Atari 2600) artwork

Battlezone (Atari 2600) review


"Every reviewer has a different set of standards he or she applies to a game when giving it a rating and writing a critical evaluation. Graphics, sound, play control, and replayability are some of the criteria they use in deciding how to evaluate a game. But, these are mere tactics in deciding how to answer the universal question, ''Is this game any fun?'' "



Every reviewer has a different set of standards he or she applies to a game when giving it a rating and writing a critical evaluation. Graphics, sound, play control, and replayability are some of the criteria they use in deciding how to evaluate a game. But, these are mere tactics in deciding how to answer the universal question, ''Is this game any fun?''

The answer to that question, as it applies to the Atari 2600 port of the venerable arcade hit, ''Battlezone'' is, ''Yes, maybe even more fun than the original.''

For those of you unfamiliar with the concept of ''Battlezone'', you are driving a tank that has come under siege by a battalion of other tanks, and their allies, the jet fighter and the flying saucer. You have only a forward view and rely heavily on your radar to spot other tanks before they get the drop on you. One really nice touch of strategy allows enemy shots to harm other enemies. This lets you perform some pretty fancy maneuvering to get enemies to kill each other. A good tactic to remember when faced with supertanks and the flying saucer.

In the arcade version, you had what approximated realistic tank controls, separate joysticks for each tread. Operating them in tandem allowed to to move your tank around the battlefield. This was pretty cool, but proved daunting for the less than coordinated.

In the home port, Atari opted for single joystick control making the game a little easier. They also went for bright colorful graphics, as opposed to the vector graphics of the original. Purists may despair, but the paint job looks pretty good on ''Battlezone''.

Usually, where Atari games weaken is the sound. However, ''Battlezone'' manages to have enough sonic variety to make it not seem so monotone. You have a sound when you fire, and a sound when you are fired upon, in addition to the rumble of your tank's engine and other incidental sounds.

Overall, ''Battlezone'' is a fun game that is a pretty decent approximation of being a tank commander for the lowly Atari 2600. It is a later generation game, and holds up well to it's contemporary competition, and even outperforms some of the first generation NES titles in terms of gameplay.

I'd recommend ''Battlezone'' as a key element of any Atari aficionado's collection, and to any newcomers to the Atari Age who would like to see how good retro gaming can be.


Rating: 7/10

ddsilver's avatar
Community review by ddsilver (October 25, 2004)

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