BattleTanx Review

For Nintendo 64

By Contributing Writer Jimmy Payne

Rating: Average
   (Cue Jaws music)  Just when you thought it was safe to start playing 
Nintendo 64 games again... you play BattleTanx and wonder why you ever 
forgot about the dozens of N64 games that have disappointed you in the past
(OK, cut the music).  BattleTanx's ingenious commercial (in which Snuggles 
the Bear was set on fire and run over by tanks) was great, but the game
isn't half as good as the commercial.
   BattleTanx features 17 levels in which your mission is to basically go 
around blowing up other tanks and destroying enemy bases.  It sounds fun at 
first, and it is fun at first, but in the long run youíll be wishing that 
you forgot your wallet at home and were never able to buy the game.  It 
took me only four hours to beat the game on the default difficulty setting,
and one of those hours went to just getting the feel of the game.  If 
longevity is something you value in a game, you should stay far away from 
this title.
   While playing you have the choice of piloting one of three tanks for 
certain missions.  First up is the lightweight Moto Tank, which is really 
fast, but has below average handling.   The second choice is the medium 
tank, called the M1A1 Abrams.  This tank is the best choice for beginners 
since it isnít too slow, and has much better handling than the Moto Tank.  
The third and final tank is called the Goliath, which as the name implies, 
is one big hunk of metal with enough firepower to level a building.  The 
only downside to using the Goliath is its extremely slow speed, which makes
it a sitting duck if a Moto Tank can sneak up behind it.  After playing 
with all three tanks, I can tell you that they are balanced very well, and 
this is one of the two factors that kept this game from getting a Crappy
   I'm not really sure why Iím going to tell you about the story line in 
BattleTanx, but if it bothered me enough to have an urge to do so, then by 
golly, youíre gonna hear about it!  First of all, the story line is 
pointless.  I kept thinking to myself while playing this game, "For the 
love of God, just let me skip through this pointless text so I can blow up 
some freakiní buildings!"  Well, it went something like that, but Iím 
pretty sure there was some profanity mixed in with it.  One of the reasons 
the story is so pointless is because itís about as generic as it gets.  
Hereís my rendition of the plot in short:

The year is 2001.  You are Griffin Spade, a lone warrior who survived the 
terrible explosion that killed off almost all of the women on Earth.  
Yielding a futuristic tank, you must travel across the barren wasteland 
that was at one time your home, fending off evil and trying to bring good 
back to the planet.  Oh yeah... youíre also trying to find your one true 
   OK, someone gag me now.  Moving right along, the multi-player mode in 
BattleTanx is the only thing that keeps the game alive after you have 
beaten the single-player mode.  There are three games you can play in 
multi-player mode.  The first is your basic deathmatch mode in which you 
search out and destroy your enemies.  Next is BattleLord mode, in which you
try to capture everybody else's QueenLords.  Quake and GoldenEye players 
will most likely recognize this mode as a seriously disturbed version of 
Capture the Flag, only much less entertaining.  The final multi-player 
option is called Annihilation mode, which is basically deathmatch except 
you donít regenerate when youíre killed, and the last tank standing (or 
rolling) is the winner.  
   One nice little point about this game's multi-player mode is that when 
three people are playing, one of them gets half of the screen to himself
instead of having the screen split in four with one fourth empty.  This 
feature was sadly missing in a slew of other N64 multi-player games.  
Another cool thing about BattleTanx is the wide array of weapons at your 
disposal.  For instance, thereís a hand-guided missile, much like in Metal 
Gear Solid, which has incredible control.  It's loads of fun guiding your
missile through alleys and then hitting your clueless opponent, who didnít 
even see it coming.   
   This may all sound fine and dandy, but BattleTanx has some serious 
problems.  One major one that canít be forgiven is the physics of the tanks.
The developers had an important decision to make while bringing this game 
to life.  They could either make the game realistic, which means the tanks 
have to be slow, or they could make the tanks fast for the sake of pure fun.
Well, since the market is so bent on realism these days, they chose to make
the tanks slow.   When youíre playing the game and you find a tank, it 
basically comes down to who's the strongest.  And donít even think about 
running, because the other tank will just blow you up from behind if you 
try.  So what this builds up to is whoever can collect the most power-ups 
and then totally demolish the other (less fortunate) tank in a showdown.  
Thereís no skill involved.  Just run around collecting power-ups and 
weapons and hope to God that you have more than your opponent. 
   BattleTanx is the best tank game available for the Nintendo 64.  
Unfortunately, thatís not saying much because it's the only tank game 
available for the Nintendo 64.  Its short single-player game and flawed 
multi-player game prevent it from living up to its massive potential.  If
youíre a first-person shooter fanatic and love tanks, you might enjoy 
BattleTanx.  For everyone else, renting BattleTanx before making a risky 
purchase would be the smartest thing to do.

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