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Battlezone - The Atari Times


Wage war in the post-apocalyptic year of 1999
by Brendan Onfrichuk

November 2, 2006
Well, the year 1999 has come and past and this war that takes place in Battlezone sure hasn't happened. But that doesn't hurt Battlezone, if anything, it makes the whole experience more fun to play through. And while the guy who wrote Battlezone's story should have chosen a year that he wouldn't see in his lifetime, this game still holds up against the test of time. But can the 2600 successfully reproduce the same fast and furious arcade gameplay that made the original so popular?


In the year 1999 (still funny), earth's nations have implemented a world peace plan. But not everybody agrees with the new plan and resistance groups unleash tanks and hover planes across the countryside. They will destroy the entire world if you don't stop them. You quickly take an out-of-date tank from a museum and fight them off with only your cannon and a radar. This game is played from a first-person perspective. At the top of the screen is your radar that quickly begins to display a bunch of blips surrounding you. You have to decide when it is a good idea to run or fight. If tanks get too close to you they will open fire and you lose one life in a single hit. When facing an enemy, your crosshair will light up if they are in your sights, but you will have to determine where they will move to and shoot ahead of them. There are tanks and hover planes and this is especially true to the hover planes because they zig-zag, making it hard to hit them. Every 50,000 points you get another life, so replenishing your supply of lives become increasingly easier as you get better. This is a prime example of almost perfect gameplay and it is this classic arcade game that has withstood the test of time.


This is one of the 2600's few games that effectively makes use of 3D perspective. The draw distance of the enemies is very good and they can scale up to be really big next to you. You see your tank's cannon in front of you and that isn't exactly like the arcade game but still works fine I guess. Unfortunately this version has no obstacles or volcanos like the arcade version and that is my biggest problem with the graphics. Of course I never found the structures to be all that helpful in the gameplay and that is why it is more of an issue with the graphics.


There is music at the beginning of every round. With alot of 2600 games not even having music, when one does, it is usually hindered by the 2600's ability to actually produce music, but it never sounds bad. The sound effects in the game are firing your cannon, explosions, the tanks' treads moving and those hover planes zooming around. The sound is very well done in Battlezone.


Controls are very simple. You use the stick to direct your tank and you use the button to fire. But the tank moves a little slow for my liking, making it near impossible to move the tank out of a bullet's way. Otherwise the controls work fine.


Battlezone is a fun game that shouldn't be missed by 2600 owners and fans of the arcade game alike. It's graphics are great and the gameplay isn't like any other on the 2600. So do yourself a favour and pick up a copy.


(c) Atari

Another Atari coin-op smash comes to the 2600.
(Insert old west face-off theme here)
Enjoy the colorful decour, then kill everything!
"He's dead, Jim!"
System: 2600
Publisher: Atari
Genre: Action
Graphics Score: 80%
Sound & Music Score: 100%
Gameplay Score: 100%
Control Score: 80%

Final Score: 90%

Reader Comments for Battlezone

Tanks for the memories by Atarifever on 2006-11-02 17:59:15
I remember my brother and my father getting addicted to trying to top each other's scores in this game. I was pretty young when this one first came into the house, but I remember dad and my brother rushing to finish dinner after school/work and then dad saying "let's see if I can take top score today", and then they rushed off to play. My dad got somewhat addicted to Qix and Dr. Mario on the Gameboy, but I never saw him play a game like this again. He really hasn't played any other console games, or even shown any interest in any other 2600 games. I've always wondered what it was about this one.
One of the best 2600 games! by Randy Johnson on 2014-07-24 16:19:43
This is without doubt one of the best games that was made for the Atari 2600. The graphics are amazing for a 2600 game. It's also fun. Everybody who owns an Atari 2600 or 7800 should have this game.
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