Let me start this review by making it very clear that Death Tank is one of the best names for a game ever. It just sounds so brutal and amazing. With that said, you would expect the game behind that name to be pretty amazing too, and thankfully, the new remake of Death Tank can be pretty damn amazing.
The first thing that most of you will notice when you head onto the Xbox LIVE Marketplace to check out Death Tank, is it’s price, which weighs in at a rather hefty 1200 Microsoft points. Considering most arcade games are around the 800 point mark it will likely put a lot of you off. Try to look past the price point for now, because underneath the expensive exterior lies some real retro gaming gold.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with any of the Death Tank games, the game is set up very similarly to Worms, although rather than taking turns to blow stuff up, you get to do it in real time. What this translates to is a fast, frantic, but also very strategic shooter. Each game of Death Tank starts with you and your opponents (of which there can be up to 7) getting dropped onto a 2D hill/mountain range. From here it is a simple matter of blowing the bejeezus out of everyone else over 20 rounds. To do this you have a range of different weapons at your disposal, although most of them have to be bought in between the rounds with cash, which is earned by killing your opponents, being the last man tank standing, and various other methods. There is a nice selection of weapons on offer, ranging from your standard tank shells, to missiles, mines, nukes, and the crazy Death’s Hand, which is just plain awesome. There are also various weapons that can be picked up during the fight which are quite tasty, although you generally won’t see them all that much.
Like I said above, this game can be very strategic, despite its fast pace. When you are firing your weapons you have to judge the power and the arc of your shot in order to hit your opponent. The higher your shot goes, the more damage it will cause when it hits. However, higher shots also take more time to reach their destination, giving your target time to move out the way. Then there are tactical items which can be purchased, such as jump jets, repulsion shields, and super fuel to make you go faster. So, do you save up all your hard earned money for one Death’s Hand, or arm up with some more defensive items, and rely on your trusty shells to dish out the damage?
I must at this point take a moment to draw back from the gameplay aspects and make you aware of just how pretty this game can look. The environments are beautifully rendered, with some truly gorgeous water. The particle effects are also fantastic for an Arcade game, with explosions sending sparks and debris all over the place. It’s very obvious to see that a lot of TLC went into making this game look the part. The menus are also very slick, and when you first boot up the game you get greeted by a big skull with flaming eyes, which is quite frankly just awesome. The only thing I will say is that the various different tanks that you can choose from could do with a little bit more character, but that doesn’t really impact how well this game is presented on the whole. The audio department is also pretty strong, with simplistic but suitable sound effects, and the rock music fits the game perfectly.
So, we are coming to decision time. Should you get this game? That kind of depends on how much you like playing multiplayer games over Xbox LIVE. If you enjoy hammering in your fellow gamers online then you should get a hell of a lot of game time for your money, as it is far too easy to sink hours into blasting away online. On the flip side, if you prefer to play games on your own then this may not be for you. There are a couple of single player modes that offer a short burst of entertainment, but won’t keep you occupied. This game is all about the multiplayer, and it really shows. There are both free-for-all and team based gametypes, an online ranking system, and it even shows you your friends list on the main menu, just incase any of your friends may be online to play against.
Death Tank is one of my favourite retro game remakes in quite some time and you would do well to pick it up. The price is slightly steep considering the lack of single player content, but you do get a polished and incredibly fun multiplayer experience which deserves to be played.