Death Tank review

April 25, 2010 at 9:34 pm | Posted in Game Review, Xbox 360 Review | Leave a comment
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Death Tank was one of my favourite multiplayer games in my GCSE year at school – only second to Goldeneye. I couldn’t believe my luck when I stumbled upon this remake on XBLA.

Title: Death Tank

Format: Xbox 360

Genre: Strategy

Back in 1997 the ailing Sega Saturn saw a version of the hit PC shoot-em-up Duke Nukem 3D hit the shelves. On top of being a pretty decent port it contained one of the best and most secretive Easter eggs in gaming history, a little bonus game called Death Tank Zwei. It was a single screen multiplayer title in which up to seven gamers (using the Saturn’s multi-tap peripheral) fought against one another using small tanks. It could only be described as a manic, real-time version of Worms and despite having very simple graphics and minimal sound effects it had a pretty robust physics engine applied to the simple weapons and thrusters attached to each tank. It turned out to be one of the best multiplayer experiences on the console. Now this hidden gem has been resurrected and given a bit of spit and polish by developer Snowblind studios for release on Xbox Live.

Not a lot has changed in the tri-generational leap from Saturn to 360, at least as far as gameplay is concerned. The rules are pretty simple: battles take place on a randomly generated level, you can move your tanks left or right (slowly) and aim and fire your selected weapon which takes a set amount of time to charge up fully. For every kill you notch up you get cash to spend on better weapons or equipment which includes things like guided missiles, nukes, shields and turbo thrusters (letting you fly for a short time). The more powerful weapons take longer to charge up so you’ll have to pick the right time to use them or risk being struck down before you can unleash fiery hell.

The presentation has been inevitably upgraded from the Saturn’s simple vector-ish graphics and it now has pretty beefy sound effects to accompany the ensuing carnage, although it does lack the crazy thrash metal title music from the original. For those few gamers who got to play Death Tank Zwei you might be pleased to hear that the Saturn version is hidden away, just in case you have a hankering to revisit the old classic (it can be unlocked by hitting one of the supply ships that sometimes appear at the top of the screen during battles).

Death Tank was really made for online play so this re-release is a welcome addition to Xbox Live, even if the 1200 points are a bit steep for a multiplayer-only title. Still, after you try the hour-long demo it’ll be pretty difficult to resist spending those points on what is one of the most addictive multiplayer games on Live. See you on the battlefield…


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