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Reviews (N-Z)

Tank (Japan)

985 (1-2 Players)



Overview and game play


Tank is a vertically scrolling shooter for 1-2 players in which the player takes control of a tank that can move in 8 directions over a landscape depicted from an aerial viewpoint. The attract sequence of tank rather usefully explains by a series of animations how the player can control his/her tank. Pressing button 1 fires a cannon to blow up large objects such as other tanks and buildings. Pressing button 2 fires the tanks twin guns in the direction the tank is facing. The objective of the game is for the player to drive his tank along a landscape littered with buildings, enemy tanks and regiments of soldiers who all attempt to cut short the players mission of completing the game and accumulating the highest score possible. If more than one coin is deposited, players can select 2-player mode and each player will take turns to steer their tank towards the end of the game and obtain the highest score.



An energy bar representing the structural integrity of the players tank is displayed at the bottom of the screen. As the players’ tank is hit by enemies’ bullets and missiles, the energy depletes. When all the energy is gone, the players’ tank explodes and one of the 3 tanks the player starts with is lost. Fortunately, the player will restart the game at the point where s/he reached after loosing a life, and the energy level can always be replenished by driving the tank over a “V” symbol that appears on the terrain throughout the game. The difficulty curve in tanks is not too steep, although in later stages a novice player may encounter problems as the game provides a stronger challenge as progression is made. Enemy tanks increase in both size and their numbers and are equipped with 3-way firepower in the final few stages. The terrain also becomes more restricted by natural or artificial barriers that require thought by the player to navigate while successfully avoiding an ambush from oncoming enemies.

Tank was developed by SNK and it predates another SNK game, Ikari Warriors. It appears that Tank was the forerunner of Ikari Warriors and that the theme of Tank was developed further by SNK in the Ikari series of games. The Ikari games by SNK were very popular at the time of their release and inspired many other games for home computers such as “Leathernecks” for the Atari ST.



The background graphics in Tank are varied enough to give the player a sense of progression through the games 11 stages: start; woods; lake; statue; town; station; highway; city; park; parking and last.  Little graphical touches to the sprites in the game enhance the game considerably: when the energy bar reaches a certain low point, the turret of the players tank flashes red to show it’s about to explode unless some more energy is found quickly. Landmines flicker when the players’ tank approaches them as a warning of danger. There is a pleasing variety of enemies to confront, ranging from submarines in lakes that sporadically dip up and down firing missiles to aeroplanes that buzz around in formation before dropping their lethal payload of bombs.



Enemy tanks and soldiers vary in their colour and attack patterns. When the players tank runs over an enemy soldier, the soldier will be squashed flat with a little blood shown to let the player know that particular enemy won’t be getting up again. Although this may sound gruesome, the actual in game event is not so horrific as the soldiers are represented in a cartoon style with berets and little black sunglasses and not in a photo-realistic manner.



The in-game chip-based music consists of an introductory tune prior to starting and sound effects only during game play. It’s a great pity there is only a small tune at the start of Tank, because what is played is enjoyable and highly appropriate for the game. Some pleasant sound effects play for each action on the screen which are above average for a mid-eighties game.



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