Battlezone

atari_battlezone-gameplay-screenshot

Ahhhh…Battlezone. This game really takes me back. A 1980 Atari product, and a fine one it is. I can remember when this beauty of a cabinet showed up in my arcade. I had never seen anything like it. Not only did it have some pretty cool side art and marquee, but the controls looked outer-worldly. With the dual-joysticks and the periscope viewer, I felt like I was actually a tank-gunner. Battlezone was always lined with people awaiting their turn, so I spent more time with the Atari 2600 port (awesome on its own), but I was always willing to shove a couple of quarters to try and be all I could be (I normally failed miserably).

atari_battlezone-gameplay-screenshot
For the few of you who haven’t played Battlezone, it’s a 1st-person, vector tank-shooter set on the freaking moon, of all places. Although gravity doesn’t come into play anywhere in the game, so they could have just set it on Earth. But, two aspects of the game probably will explain why they did it this way; One, the background is constant black, giving it a “30 Days of Night” feel to keep you on edge, but I’m sure the reason for this was for the bright green vector lines would show better. Two, they decided to throw flying saucers and tank-sized guided-missiles at you as an extra slice of variety of just shooting other tanks. Anyway, it works well and I now wouldn’t want it any other way. The HUD is all in red, which has your score, number of tanks left, and most importantly, a radar showing you exactly where the next tank is. When it appears directly behind you….MOVE YOUR ASS!! This brings me to…..

atari_battlezone-gameplay-screenshot
…..The object of the game is to manuever your tank around huge geometic shapes, like squares and triangles (that can also be used as shields), all while avoiding tank-fire and setting yourself in a perfect line of fire to blow your cannon up the dirty Panzer’s caboose, making a splended looking explosion of green line-segments. Manuevering takes some time to master, which was difficult to do in the arcade days, having a line of other pimple-faced kids wanting to stick their sweaty, greasy foreheads on the same viewfinder I was using. The dual-joystick controls were designed to move the left and right tank treads. Both forward to move forward, both back to move back, then a combination to veer left or right.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zo4bSrD4ZDQ[/youtube]
Points were earned for the destruction of the other tanks, with special bonuses for the flying saucer (which doesn’t shoot back and always scoots on the ground..never really flies) and the “appear out of nowhere” missiles, which you had better shoot before they get on you.This game was ported almost everywhere in those days, so if you never had the arcade experience you may have picked it up on the many consoles and computers in the early ’80s. The arcade version is also on Microsoft’s Game Room, which plays very well with the dual-joystick 360 controllers, and can be picked up for just a couple of bucks. Well worth it. Happy hunting!

Overall 8/10

Mechwarrior 2 Soundtrack

Mechwarrior 2 Soundtrack

What can I say about the music to Mechwarrior 2 except that this IS how you write the best soundtrack to one of the ultimate PC games of all time!

MechWarrior 2 Cover
MechWarrior 2 Cover

Mechwarrior 2 blew me away in such a manner and the music was so chillingly good that this was the game that made me mothball my Amiga in the closet in favor of PC gaming. This was a whole new experience and this was the future of gaming.

Here was an inmersive 3D giant robot simulator and after having played years upon years of Battletech, this game was heaven-sent. Yeah, I played a ton of Cyber Empires but this was lightyears ahead of that. Not only did they make an amazing followup to the original Mechwarrior that a few handful of people got to play online as one of the first MMOs but what a most successful sequel did they create using the Clan factions (The Jade Falcons, my old favorite Clan) rather than the Inner Sphere kingdoms.

Check out the amazing intro, although there’s no way a Thor would stand a chance against any configuration of Mad Cat, especially my builds:

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The game played in such a way that made it seem like you are in control of a real of a 20-100 ton fully equipped Battlemech. It gave you a feeling of piloting a damaged vehicle and taught you how to manage heat and ammo religiously.

For fun, you might want to know that this same engine tweaked to hell was used in other Activision games such as BattleZone (a superior game to the Mechwarrior games) and also Interstate 76 (the grandfather of AutoAssault). Mechwarrior 2 had an expansion called Ghost Bear’s Legacy as well as another game based on the Mechwarrior 2 engine called Mechwarrior 2 Mercenaries, which I also have (and its soundtrack; if you guys want, I can post it).

I didn’t really play Mechwarrior 3 and I played and have Mechwarrior 4, which I loved. I even heard that you can download it for free, so I will post links for that if I find them.

All Battletech and Mechwarrior fans are dying for Mechwarrior 5 to come out but because the Battletech universe used robots from Robotech and somebody owns rights to them and is being a baby, that won’t let the release the game until they settle the lawsuit, the game is on hold. Rather than release the game with an agreement to reach an agreement, the game just gathers dust. Who knows if it’ll ever come out.

In the meantime, here is the amazing trailer (eyecandy) for Mechwarrior 5:

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Ho Ho Ho, Now I have a machinegun!
Ho Ho Ho, Now I have a machinegun!

Anyways, enjoy the Mechwarrior 2 official soundtrack! Christmas is coming early this year since I found a box of my old PC games and I’m ripping a ton of music for you guys! HO HO HO NOW I HAVE A MACHINEGUN!

Ben Bradley: Ben Bradley

Ben Bradley logo
Ben Bradley logo

Name: Ben Bradley

Company: Ben Bradley

Profession: Indie Game Developer

Favorite Classic Game: Battlezone

Quote: There have been several games called Battlezone released at different times so I’d better be clear that my favorite classic game is Activision’s 1998 “Battlezone” game for the PC. This was a blend of real time strategy and first person shooters – it took the two most popular genres on the PC at the time and combined them in their entirety. Add to that an amazing outdoor graphics engine and a story which was so clever I almost believed in it myself. After being gripped by the game I got into designing levels for it in my evenings after school. Eventually I made a full mission pack with new weapons and units. That was the point where I realised I wanted to be a professional game developer, so I owe a lot to this game!


Bio: I’ve been working as a game programmer for four years, but in 2010 I made the jump to living off my savings and developing my own indie game. This has certainly been an adventure and I’m really enjoying working on Substream and I’m looking forward to getting it out there.

Substream logo
Substream logo

Project: Substream

Project Info: My current project is a 3D flying shmup which is currently being developed for PC, with other systems to follow. What sets it apart is an ambitious approach to music synchronization – the game has a fully dynamic environment which constantly morphs and reform to fit the mood and themes of the music; and enemies act upon the melodies. All this animation is designed by hand, so the game is like playing through a carefully crafted interactive music video. Substream also features a spatial distortion where the universe repeats like a hall of mirrors. This means enemies appear in multiple positions simultaneously and can attack or be attacked from multiple angles, which gives an interesting twist to the gameplay.