In the not-so-distant future (1999 to be exact), the nations of the world have at last recognized the need for peace to avoid mutual destruction and ensure the survival of the human race. The plan to achieve world piece is strongly reminiscient of the movie The Day the Earth Stood Still: Automated weapons are unleashed, supposedly to exterminate anyone becoming an aggressor. Of course, technology goes awry, and the weapons are starting to exterminate all life on earth. The player jumps into a rusty old tank trying to blow up all the other thanks, fighters and flying saucers which now threaten humanity.
Battlezone is a early three-dimensional shooting game. You can freely move around, turning the full 360° if needed, firing the tank's cannon at basically anything that moves. Conveniently (making the game playable), the tank is equipped with a radar showing approaching enemies as little dots so that you know where to turn to.
Some enemies will also fire back when they get near enough. Just like the enemies, your own tank will not survive many hits. Being hopelessly outnumbered, quick and accurate shooting is a must to have even a slim change to succeed. Also, you'll need to learn about the different types of enemies, in order not to let yourself be distracted by a harmless, but agile drone while deadly tanks sneak up to you from behind...
The game uses flat bitmap graphics (instead of the vectorized-wireframe graphics of the arcade machine) to create the impression of the three-dimensional perspective. It does so quite well. Although you'll actually only rarely get near enough to see the details of an enemy vehicle, your own tank looks good enough. Especially the movements of the tracks when turning are a nice little details.
Battlezone is truly impressive and unconventional for its time, it's the forefather of almost every single game released these days (How many other genres apart from 3D shooters are there left?), and it's more than adequate gameplay-wise. What more can you ask for?
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