Battlezone was originally released in 1980, where the object of the game was to rack up a high score by killing any enemy in sight. 28 years on and Atari have decided to bring back this wire-frame arcade classic, with a new next-gen version of the game.
The game features two modes, Evolved and Classic, which both feature two difficulty settings, Normal and Throttle Monkey – Throttle Monkey being the fastest and hardest. For those of you who have played the 1980’s classic arcade version it will come at no surprise that the Classic gamemode remains the same. For those of you who haven’t, the idea is simple. A basic wire frame world, where the idea is to rack up as many points as you can by destroying the enemy tanks.
Created specifically for the Xbox Live Arcade, the Evolved version of the game is an update of the original game. It features the core mechanics of the classic mode while adding new Xbox LIVE features including Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch, Capture the Flag modes and support for the Xbox LIVE Vision Camera.
Both games are very simple to play. Move the Left Stick to allow your tank to move around, while the Right Trigger will allow your tank to shoot missiles. Unfortunately however simple the game may be it will certainly become boring, and quickly – 10 minutes in fact. There’s very little animation on the game with the background practically staying constant throughout. You will notice the odd red blip appear on your radar showing you where your next enemy is, but if you see the red dot show that the tank is behind you, the tank is so slow in turning it becomes an impossible task, in-turn becoming very frustrating and annoying. You can change the game difficulty to Throttle Monkey mode, which in doing so makes the tank faster to turn, but you get less life’s and the AI opponents are more accurate with their missiles which causes your high score not to be so, high. If only Atari combined the speed found in Throttle Monkey and the difficulty used in Normal mode then this game might actually be ok to play. Best thing to do, predict where you think the next enemy will appear by changing the direction of the tank constantly.
The next step away from attempting to achieve a new high score in single player is attempting to actually find a match on Xbox LIVE. After plenty of waiting and waiting you might be lucky enough to find a match. It is fun however especially when using the Xbox LIVE Vision Camera as you can see your opponent squirm as you kill their tank with a long range missile, but as with the problems in single player, the tank is extremely slow in moving and you will begin to yawn.
Overall Battlezone offers little life span and just feels outdated. Comprised with the difficulty in finding a game on Xbox LIVE and the speed of the tank in the game, I suggest you use the ‘try before you buy’ method by download the demo first. However if you were a fan of the original, at 400 MS points it could be a steal for you.