Xbox Live Arcade has become home to a number of decent series of games, mostly having to do with one publisher repackaging all of their classic titles. Sega’s done it, Capcom’s readying to do it, and Atari has been trying desperately to reach deep into their back catalogue and make some of their groundbreaking games feel relevant again.
So far, they haven’t been very successful. And now we have Battlezone, the classic tank battle game that used vector graphics to create a 3D playing field. And you know what? This remake isn’t too shabby.
The basic objective is to roam around a giant battlefield trying to destroy other tanks before they destroy you. That’s it. That’s the entire game. And no, it hasn’t aged all that well.
But it’s still supremely playable, as long as you go in and switch to the dual-analog stick controls right from the start. Even if playing simply to best your high score isn’t your thing, the developers have added a multiplayer mode to spice things up a bit. Of course, you also get the Atari-standard “Throttle-Monkey” setting if the game runs a bit too slowly for you.
One of the biggest issues on these Atari remakes thus far has been the “enhanced graphics.” Generally they look like crap - filled with ridiculous lighting and particle effects. With Battlezone, Stainless took a much classier approach, retaining the spirit of the wire-frame 3D visuals of the original and filling them out with some really trippy textures that actually enhance the look rather than destroy it.
It’s a bit of a shame that the original game hasn’t aged very well. This is a rather sluggish shooter that demands a real love of the old arcade cabinet to really get excited over. But it is a nice trip down memory lane, still extremely playable, features some nice multiplayer options, and the enhanced mode is actually nice to look at and fun to play.
Apr 18, 2008