1984
Arcade: Shoot-em-up
£5.50
English
ZX Spectrum 48K
None

88,89
Chris Bourne

We first reported on 3D Tank Duel two issues back as a news item, of interest to us at CRASH because Andrew Onions is a local Ludlow person (although Real Time operate from Leeds), and then again in the last issue's 3D article. Now we have a real production copy in its glossy black and silver cover (no hype here!) which incorporates a few improvements on the preview copy first seen. Tank Duel is in the tradition of 'Battle Zone' type games which use 'wire frame' or 'hollow' 3D, and on the Spectrum follows in the footsteps of Artic's 3D Combat Zone and Rommel's Revenge.

A person representing both Artic and Crystal was heard to remark to the people who produced this version that is was good but old hat. When you consider how many pacmen, asteroids and berserks have been released with all the hype and flurry of the bi9gies, arguing that a third version of something is old hat seems rather premature. But in the end it is down to our reviewers.

First off, our report that the game includes bikers drew snorts of amused horror from the programmers - they're supposed to be missiles - sorry! The screen display is split into two areas, a black one at the top containing score, hiscore and radar screen with sweep arm, and the larger, lower area which shows a yellow desert landscape with black background, and on which the enemy materialises. A large squared gun sight dominates the centre of the screen. The game is played against four different types of tank, flying saucers and missiles (which look likes bikes if you don't look properly). In addition to the enemy, the desert is littered with various shaped obstacles which impede progress if they are run into.

Two points incidentally: firstly only one reviewer was aware that one of the programmers is local (so no Ludlow chauvinism should creep in!); and secondly, the programmers' hi-score to beat at present is already 31,700!

CRITICISM

'3D Tank Duel is the closest version yet to the real thing (Battle Zone). It contains the various tanks, missiles and saucers which explode into chunks and fragments when hit. The movement is very good. Generally this is a very good version of a good arcade game - it even includes new features like a more varied landscape revolving radar dishes etc. This type of game is still very addictive even if it is one of the oldest arcade games about, and this is one of the best versions. The tanks are intelligent - they will dodge behind obstacles; also, watch out for the missiles that leap over obstacles making them hard to hit. Great graphics - as close to the original as the Spectrum could ever manage.'

'I thought that this was another Battle Zone rip-off type game- but no, it is the real thing but with more colour. There are six enemies of varying intelligence although the easiest tank is quite intelligent. Colour and a detailed city in the background has cheered the game up no end. All graphics are detailed in their own particular way, and the sound is the best I have ever heard for this type of game. If you like 'Battle Zone' then you will love this excellent copy of it.'

'If anyone thought 'Battle Zone' was played out on the Spectrum, think again. This is a highly playable, addictive and intelligent piece of software. This type of game usually plays quite slowly, but Tank Duel is fast - enemy tanks reappear on screen after shooting one much faster than any other game I have seen, and they move quickly on the screen too. The 3D effect works excellently. For instance, if you destroy a tank and the chunks fly up into the air, they will pass over your head if you drive forward, and retreat into the distance if you back off. Also, each tank explodes into its component parts in an individual way. Sound is well used, with a realistic 9rumbling noise of your engine ticking over, retying when on the move and idling again when stationary. The missiles are devilish to avoid, weaving as they approach at high speed and leaping over any obstacles in the way. They underline that the speed of these graphics are the fastest yet in this type of game. Very addictive.'

COMMENTS
Control keys: Tank Duel uses an unusual combination of keys to simulate the movement of a real tank, ie. left track forward and backwards, right track forwards and backwards. Reviewers comment that although difficult at first to get used to, the effect is good
Joystick: Kempston, ZX 2, Protek, AGF
Keyboard play: responsive
Use of colour: limited by nature of game, but more varied than usual
Graphics: wire frame 3D with complex use, fast and smooth
Sound: well used and varied
Skill levels: 1
Lives: 3
Screens: continuously scrolling over infinite area
Originality: obviously not all that original, but the best version yet, and scores on trying to outdo the others in look
General Rating: Playable, addictive and very good value.

80%
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Screenshot Text

Good, blocky, realistic explosions.

An entire army of tanks to face..