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Ocean Software Ltd
1990
Arcade: Shoot-em-up
£10.99
English
ZX Spectrum 128K
Multiple schemes (see individual downloads)

Other Links


54,55
James Leach
Chris Bourne

Hmm, I've got an idea. Let's briefly zip forward to the distant future, shall we, Spec-chums? Okay, hold on tight. Whoosh! There, we've done it. Now let's see what's going down in the next century. Oh dear, there seems to be a bit of a war going on. Tut tut. You'd think in the future people would've sorted out their disputes properly, wouldn't you? But blimey - just look at that machinery!

In Battle Command you're given something called a Mauler. Basically it's a big tank with missiles, mines and a large gun that could have your eye out as quick as, erm, a very quick thing. This rather spanky bit of kit is to help you complete 10 separate missions.

Sounds easy? Well just take that smile off your face right this instant, young man, because it isn't (well, not all of it). It's actually rather reminiscent of that prehistoric coin-op Battlezone. You move round a 3D vector landscape, peeping out of the front of your tank, targetting things and blowing them up. The problem is that many of them want to blow you up instead.

TANKS A BUNCH

So what happens then? Well, the first thing to do (after choosing the mission) is equip your tank. You'll need a turret with a 120mm gun and 80 rounds of ammo, but you can also select homing missiles, mines or duster bombs. There's a fairly wide choice of other dangerous gear, all of which will certainly come in handy for different missions.

Once you've loaded up, you climb in and, yep, things all look pretty tank-like (as you'd expect, really). There's your radar display, a compass, weapons consoles and a speed indicator (as well as a load of other gubbins which will probably come in handy at some point).

Now, if you're ready for warfare, it's time to move out (they always say that in the best war movies). The first impression you get is that it's all very last and smooth. You fairly tear around the landscape, spinning from side to side to avoid the scummy enemy swine who try to blast you with their missiles and shells. To get rid of them, just flick the tank onto the correct heading and open fire. If you've armed up with missiles yourself then they lock on automatically, and you don't need to bother keeping the target in view. This is seriously useful when you're surrounded and you've got to move fast.

All the vector graphics are done well, and anything you hit tends to explode with chunks flying all over the shop. In fact, it's great fun motoring around just blowing up everything willy-nilly. Luckily the map and layout change with each mission, so you don't get bored with the same setting (and if you do, well you can just blow it all up, hem hem).

SHOOTING FROM THE HIP

So it may be very un-snail-like, but is it fun as well? The answer, Spec-chums, is most definitely yes (thank goodness). The enemy are fairly easy to take out one by one, but they still manage to get a hit or two in before you smash them into tiny pieces. What's more, the blimmin' cheaters tend to go round in little groups, so while you're taking out one, the others are sneaking off behind you to fill your behind with hot lead. Very painful indeed!

There's certainly plenty of action in Battle Command. Ten missions, loads of different weapons and enemy tanks that behave differently every time all adds up up to more variety than a large chest packed full of very different things.

So - quibbles? Well, some of the missions are pretty easy as the enemy tanks can be incredibly stupid and just sit there, waiting for you to slam them with a few 120mm shells. And your tank seems to think its much slimmer than it actually is - so you keep colliding with hills and buildings. But that's about it really.

Battle Command could just as easily be called Battlezone '91. The only big difference is all the new 3D stuff like trees and hills. And it's certainly good stuff. If the idea of big pieces of metal chewing up the countryside sounds okay to you then this comes highly recommended.

Fast, fun and, er, flippin' violent. Some of the missions could have been harder though.

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Screenshot Text

Ooh. It's so dark and scary! Your infra-red shows a tank and a chopper buzzing around, obviously up to no good whatsoever. (So let's creep up and pounce on 'em, eh?)

This is where you find out how much damage's been done to your Mauler. Mmm, not too much, by the look of it. (Yet!)

And it's victory for the good guys!

This choo-choo train's racing down the track a bit fast. (Probably cause it knows I'm about to blast it!)