AGH Atari 2600 Review:

by Atari

Just about every coin-op translation on the VCS is inevitably a watered-down version of the original. However, the comparison is usually never overstressed by reviewers, since nobody expects a perfect port of an arcade game in the limited confines of a VCS cartridge. In Battlezone's case, it has it even tougher. The game invites comparison to the other VCS tank battle game, Activision's Robot Tank, and it doesn't compare favorably to it either.

At first glance, you'll notice the beautiful vector graphics of arcade Battlezone is replaced by the standard raster display. Most everything else is present, however. The 360-degree radar screen, enemy tanks and high-bonus saucers are all present, as is the zig-zagging guided missiles. Shots from off-screen enemy tanks can also be heard, along with the cannons whizzing pass when they miss.

Unfortunately, some of the finer details that made the original so addicting are missing in this adaptation. The exploding volcanoes in the distance and the eerie moon that looks down upon your plight are some of the visual effects that was lost in the translation. More importantly, the boxy pillars and rocks that turned the landscape into an obstacle course and safety net is nowhere to be found. You're as vulnerable as a piece of chocolate outside an ant hill in this one.

Some other deficiencies also exist. The 3-D effect is marginal at best, especially because the ground colors don't change drastically as you move. In addition, the enemy tanks don't rotate smoothly -- instead, they jerk from position to position, making it difficult to judge how much time you have to sneak up on them.

What you ultimately end up with, then, is your standard first-person search-and-destroy mission. Judging on its own merits, Battlezone is a credible effort. Robot Tank, however, does is better -- while adding the complexities of changing weather, day/night variations and other nice touches that we've come to expect from Activision. As much as I loved coin-op Battlezone, it's Robot Tank that outdoes Atari at its own game on the VCS.

Title Battlezone
Publisher Atari
System Atari 2600 (VCS)
Graphics 7
Sound 6
Gameplay 6
Overall 6
Reviewer Keita Iida

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