Taking a page from their Jaguar game development plan, Atari introduces BATTLEZONE 2000 for the Lynx portable video game system. As the name implies, this is an updated version of the classic arcade game BATTLEZONE. The player is placed behind the steering yolk of an armored tank, and dropped into a number of war zones. In each, he must destroy runaway tanks, flying saucers, and cruise missiles, while evading on-field obstacles and snatching various powerups. Customization options allow players to tune their tanks for each battle, and up to four players can be ComLynxed together for cooperative or competitive play.
Like most other early video games, the strength of the original BATTLEZONE was in providing a challenging, strategic conflict in an uncomplicated environment. BATTLEZONE 2000 preserves this tradition well; New weapons and limits to fuel and ammunition add to the player's responsibilities and strategy options, but are offset by the luxuries of a protective shield and rapid-fire capability. The end result is a game that adds new details to the original, without overburdening the player or sacrificing the uncomplicated action.
Each level of BATTLEZONE 2000 has a goal that must be completed, such as destroying a number of tanks or scoring a number of points. Some levels give bonuses for rapid completion, while others can't be completed without finding the extra ammunition hidden in the battlezone. While there are no difficulty levels, the layout of each stage varies from game to game, preventing players from memorizing patterns and improving the card's replay value.
The enemy tanks in BATTLEZONE 2000 are not especially intelligent; they have a few simple evasive maneuvers, whose patterns are easy to learn. But greater numbers and fast speed are used well, keeping things challenging. Adding extra players increases the fun further; the game can be played with or without computer tanks, allowing friends to gang up against the computer or blow each other apart. The biggest gripe against the game is its repetitive nature. Since each level consists of simply destroying enemy tanks. Fans of classic games won't mind at all, but others may lament the lack of variety in objectives.
The graphics and sound on BATTLEZONE 2000 are very close to those of the original arcade title; veteran gamers will enjoy the nostalgic tribute, but younger players are sure to find them on the bland side. Visuals consist mostly of transparent wireframe graphics, done in various shades of green. Animation and scrolling is fast and smooth, and enemies, power-ups, and obstacles are nicely distinctive. Sounds consist mainly of tank engines, cannon fire, and explosions, with a few chimes for various events. Finally, the only music in the game comes from an elaborate and haunting title theme.
Whether with one player or four, BATTLEZONE 2000 is a fast-paced and challenging upgrade of the original arcade game. There's enough variety and excitement to keep most players entertained, though some might find it a little repetitive. The traditional graphics and sound don't have the flash and sizzle of modern titles, but the pure and uncomplicated action will keep gaming purists glued to their Lynxes for hours.
GAMEPLAY: 8.5 GRAPHICS: 7 SOUND: 7 OVERALL: 8