We first reported on 3D Tank Duel two issues back as a news item, of interest to us at CRASH because Andrew Onions is a local Ludlow person (although Real Time operate from Leeds), and then again in the last issue's 3D article. Now we have a real production copy in its glossy black and silver cover (no hype here!) which incorporates a few improvements on the preview copy first seen. Tank Duel is in the tradition of 'Battle Zone' type games which use 'wire frame' or 'hollow' 3D, and on the Spectrum follows in the footsteps of Artic's 3D Combat Zone and Rommel's Revenge.
A person representing both Artic and Crystal was heard to remark to the people who produced this version that is was good but old hat. When you consider how many pacmen, asteroids and berserks have been released with all the hype and flurry of the bi9gies, arguing that a third version of something is old hat seems rather premature. But in the end it is down to our reviewers.
First off, our report that the game includes bikers drew snorts of amused horror from the programmers - they're supposed to be missiles - sorry! The screen display is split into two areas, a black one at the top containing score, hiscore and radar screen with sweep arm, and the larger, lower area which shows a yellow desert landscape with black background, and on which the enemy materialises. A large squared gun sight dominates the centre of the screen. The game is played against four different types of tank, flying saucers and missiles (which look likes bikes if you don't look properly). In addition to the enemy, the desert is littered with various shaped obstacles which impede progress if they are run into.
Two points incidentally: firstly only one reviewer was aware that one of the programmers is local (so no Ludlow chauvinism should creep in!); and secondly, the programmers' hi-score to beat at present is already 31,700!
Control keys: Tank Duel uses an unusual combination of keys to simulate the movement of a real tank, ie. left track forward and backwards, right track forwards and backwards. Reviewers comment that although difficult at first to get used to, the effect is good
Joystick: Kempston, ZX 2, Protek, AGF
Keyboard play: responsive
Use of colour: limited by nature of game, but more varied than usual
Graphics: wire frame 3D with complex use, fast and smooth
Sound: well used and varied
Skill levels: 1
Screens: continuously scrolling over infinite area
Originality: obviously not all that original, but the best version yet, and scores on trying to outdo the others in look
'3D Tank Duel is the closest version yet to the real thing (Battle Zone). It contains the various tanks, missiles and saucers which explode into chunks and fragments when hit. The movement is very good. Generally this is a very good version of a good arcade game - it even includes new features like a more varied landscape revolving radar dishes etc. This type of game is still very addictive even if it is one of the oldest arcade games about, and this is one of the best versions. The tanks are intelligent - they will dodge behind obstacles; also, watch out for the missiles that leap over obstacles making them hard to hit. Great graphics - as close to the original as the Spectrum could ever manage.'
'I thought that this was another Battle Zone rip-off type game- but no, it is the real thing but with more colour. There are six enemies of varying intelligence although the easiest tank is quite intelligent. Colour and a detailed city in the background has cheered the game up no end. All graphics are detailed in their own particular way, and the sound is the best I have ever heard for this type of game. If you like 'Battle Zone' then you will love this excellent copy of it.'
'If anyone thought 'Battle Zone' was played out on the Spectrum, think again. This is a highly playable, addictive and intelligent piece of software. This type of game usually plays quite slowly, but Tank Duel is fast - enemy tanks reappear on screen after shooting one much faster than any other game I have seen, and they move quickly on the screen too. The 3D effect works excellently. For instance, if you destroy a tank and the chunks fly up into the air, they will pass over your head if you drive forward, and retreat into the distance if you back off. Also, each tank explodes into its component parts in an individual way. Sound is well used, with a realistic 9rumbling noise of your engine ticking over, retying when on the move and idling again when stationary. The missiles are devilish to avoid, weaving as they approach at high speed and leaping over any obstacles in the way. They underline that the speed of these graphics are the fastest yet in this type of game. Very addictive.'
|Use of Computer||80%|
|Value For Money||81%|
Previously titled 3D Tank Duel, this was originally reviewed way back in Issue 7. In fact it was the debut game by Realtime Software (the guys behind Starstrike, Starglider and the imminent Carrier Command), and is a Battlezone-type game.
You take control of a modem tank, equipped with radar. Four types of enemy tank try to sneak up on you and must be destroyed before they destroy you. A sharp eye must also be kept out for homing missiles which whizz towards your tank, destroying it on contact.
Battle-Tank Simulator is a good way to reminisce, but I wouldn't advise you to part with your dosh unless you really love this type of game, as sadly this genre is now a little out of date. However, the wire-frame enemy tanks do move quite smoothly across the horizon, and the game is enjoyable for a couple of hours.
Then: 83% Now: 55%
Yo ho! What's this? Yup, it's just an ornery game with the word 'Simulator' tacked on the end! Will these software companies go to any lengths to flog their products? Seems so, for this, under any other name, is no more than that wrinkly old arcade game Battle Zone poshed up anew for another generation of Spec-chums. In fact, the only real effect of the word 'Simulator' is to make you suspect that Zeppelin would never do anything so dastardly (hem hem).
Battle Zone was a spanky new game which obsessed me and a friend of mine in about 1981, when we poured piles of 10 pees into the blasted machine. It's a wire frame shoot 'em up, set on the ground, from the perspective of someone sitting in a tank and scared half to death. All sorts of things whizz towards you — other tanks, flying boulders, spaceships, missiles - and you have to both avoid and destroy everything that threatens you.
It's the game that inspired such works of genius as Elite and Mercenary, but in this version Zeppelin has introduced colour (the original was starkly monochrome) and mucked about with the gameplay, making the whole very much less than the sum of its parts. There's also some dodgy collision detection, and the whole shebang is slower than a snail on sedatives.
A disappointment then, on historical grounds, and for 1989 it doesn't really impress either. Forget the simulator - go for the real thing.
Use of Computer: 80%
Getting Started: 83%
Addictive Qualities: 82%
Value for Money: 81%
Most people are familiar with the 'Battle Zone' type of game first seen in the arcades many years ago. Tank Duel was practically a straight copy of that game except it differed from other Spectrum versions because it used colour quite extensively. The idea behind this game and all other 'Battle Zone' variants is to just shoot anything you see and this goes on forever. There are several types of tank in Tank Duel and each has its own characteristics, so different strategies are needed to destroy them.
To me Tank Duel is the best game of its sort around for the Spectrum mainly because it looks different from all the other versions of the same game. The graphics are good and colour is used well except some times when it obscures your view of an enemy. Personally this type of game doesn't appeal to me but if you do like a 'Battle Zone' type of game then this is the one for you.
I was a little disappointed with 3D Tank Duel as the review of it stated that it was the best 'Battle Zone' type game on the market at the time. I preferred Rommel's Revenge by Design Design as I found it slightly more playable. This game has very good vector graphics which still look good today although it has to be said that they were slightly confusing. The sound wasn't very convincing (only the constant drone of a heavy engine). However, I did enjoy playing 3D Tank Duel as it was a very close copy of 'Battle Zone', one of my favourite arcade games.
(Rob) I don't think the ratings should be changed as the game is as good now as it ever was, and no one has bettered it.
(Ben) I thought the ratings were quite fair except for the Addictive Qualities which should go down by about 8%.
BATTLE OF THE TANKS
IT WOULD have been better if Atari had not given its permission to Quicksilva to produce Battle Zone as the game is no better than the original arcade version. Many companies at least try to add a new element to such games or put something extra into the graphics.
If by now you have not heard of the game the object is to move your tank around a landscape in which other tanks, space craft and flying saucers are on the prowl.
The bare instructions, found in the game and not on the cassette insert, tell you to hide behind objects which are littered around so that the enemy cannot see you before you make your move. The movement of your tank is difficult to master as the tank is on tracks. If you press the lefthand side of the keyboard the left track moves forward, shifting the tank right, and if you push the righthand keys the tank moves left. Time to reach for the Kempston joys- tick.
Forward movement shows the clumsiness of the 3D graphics which are inferior to the original. Outlines crack up, objects jerk when they move and missiles on target do not always score a hit.
While no better than Battlezone the Real Time Software 3D Tank Duel does have a coloured landscape, the former being only green and black. The standard of graphics is slightly better than the Quicksilva version and the action is smoother but the tanks, spaceships and flying saucers move faster than your gun sights which will cause a problem if you are lucky enough not to have played the game before.
The instructions and key layout are better than the Quicksilva version so at least you can use the cassette insert if you need reminding about controls during play.
Neither of these games have much to recommend them except that you do not have to pay 50 pence a time to play in an arcade. If you are after classic original arcade simulations then both games are good buys. If you want excitement from your computer then just pass them by.
Joystick: Kempston, Sinclair, Cursor
"The games astonishing 3D realism will have you jumping out of your seat as shells and missiles whizz about you."
You what? Eh? You sure?
In truth. Battle Tank Simulator is a re-release of the prehistoric 3D Tank Duel. This was probably the first of many wire frame 3D games for the Spectrum. The main problem with this game is the speed (although even the recent FREESCAPE games have not solved the problem of slow 3D). The shell mentioned above seems to be a bit hung-over and struggles over before producing a fair sized crack down the screen.
Still, this is an original "golden oldie" and is okay for a couple of quid - just don't expect what's promised in the blurb...
Author: Real Time
Reviewer: Steve Mahony
Battlezone was originally an Atari arcade game.
You are in charge of a tank and your mission is to destroy the enemy tanks.
Like the original, the graphics on the Spectrum version are made up of straight lines which are used to draw all the banks and missiles.
Some clever programming means that the objects come towards you in 3D, with the computer performing what's known as hidden line removal. This means making sure that if one side of a tank is obscured by something, the invisible part is not drawn on screen.
With Quicksilva's game, the graphics are all drawn in green on a black screen with the background the same colour. At the top, the score panel is in purple but still on black.
Realtime's version is called 3D Tank Duel and has different background colours for the land and the sky.
The 3D movement is the key to a good version of Battlezone and I found Realtime's the smoother. Both games have blocks which you can use as shields and moving in and out of them produced some good effects.
Realtime's also has some special features. Pressing the 4 key will copy the screen to a printer which will give you a print of the high score table if you want one.
Control for both games is via keyboard or joysticks. You look at the radar at the top of the screen and manoeuvre your tank accordingly. There are four keys used to move the tank - two for each track. Each can be moved forwards or backwards so to turn round at double speed you move one track in each direction.
So which one to buy? Frankly, I think that Realtime's 3D Tank Duel just comes out on top and, at £1.45 less than the official Quicksilva offering, it's better value.
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