Death Tank (XBLA)

Review: Death Tank


Multiplayer Shooter

Microsoft price almost everyone out of a multiplayer game.




Death Tank was originally a hidden game on the Saturn version of Exhumed (Power Slave to the yanks) and it’s sequel Death Tank Zwei being hidden on the Saturn version of Duke Nukem 3D. So the question is, is it worth 1200M$P for a game that was given away free to people who bought the previous games?

Thankfully the answer is yes, otherwise you would have one pissed off reviewer. The simple way to explain this game would be to call it a real time version of Worms. It’s actually a lot more complicated than that. You use the left and right triggers to move left and right to traverse the environment. The left stick is used to aim and set the power of your weapons.

Yes, but twelve hundred points?!

Yes, but twelve hundred points?!

After every round the points you have accrued can be used to upgrade your arsenal. This can be in the form of fuel to help you move quicker or jet packs to fly around the arena. There is a large array of weapons,  From the powerful single shot Nuke to the M.I.R.V. which is like a cluster bomb and can hit multiple targets.

A big part of the tactics in this game come from how you spend your points.  You can buy cheaper weaponry and targeting computers. You can also save up for the extremely powerful Death’s Head missile, or the Auto Turret that will fire upon enemies in it’s line of sight.  This is where the real time Worms comparison becomes lazy, due to the tactics involved.

There are also bonus weapon that can be picked up during a round, these are glowing orbs that can be seen hidden in the ground. You have to blow up the ground to unearth these and getting one can turn the tide of a game very rapidly. You also can choose to play random variety rounds where everyone has their weaponry limited to certain things. These rounds add variety to what could easily become rather stale and boring over the 20 rounds that make up a game.

Yes, but twelve hundred points?!

Where's an exploding sheep when you need one?

As well as bonus weapons there are power ups and power downs. The power up is called Bless. This means that your tank has a glowing white aura surrounding it and some weaponry will bounce off you. The inverse of this is Curse where you are surrounded by a black fog and missiles are actually attracted to you.

The single player game seems slightly lacking, nothing more than a glorified tutorial. The game really shines when it comes to the  multiplayer. This is something that the developers seem to know, which is why they added a free hour of on-line multiplayer on the demo. You can play multiplayer with 4 people on the same console and up to 8 people on-line.



Secondary Review

Well it looks like an end of an era,1200 is the new 800. This could be both a blessing and a curse I suppose. I mean the higher price point might convince more quality producers to start creating content for the Xbox 360’s LIVE! Service but at the same time it’s going to hit my wallet hard.

I already knew what I was getting in to when buying this game for 1200 (I’m a Sega Saturn owner!) so it was easy for me but many people will not get the chance to play this with other people even with the 60 minute online trail version which is a shame because Death Tank is one of the best online XBLA titles to date. (It works for a start heh!)

That said from an Death Tank veterans point of view everything that a Death Tank player would want in a new game was given to us in this version, the developers thought of everything. From “nerfing” the missiles to putting cash rewards for kill assists.

Despite being one of my favourite multiplayer games on the Sega Saturn, Death Tank falls 400 points shy of being an impulse buy for most people these days, which is a shame because not many people have played a Sega Saturn let alone Death Tank!

Secondary Score: 7/10

The game has been given a massive graphical overhaul. The plain yellow ground and coloured blocks have been replaced with lush 3D graphics and on some levels pretty reflective water effects. As expected with a game like this there’s lots of explosions, it’s never unclear where you are on the map, due to having your gamerpic above your tank.

If you get the chance during the game then shoot down the supply plane that occasionally pops up and drops money. If you do this then you unlock the original Death Tank. Making a game that was originally an unlockable secret game, an unlockable secret game within the game, which is pretty trippy when you think about it.

My major gripe with the game is the price really. 6 months ago this game would have been 800 points, now the pricing of the majority of new games have gone up. I think this will mean a lot of people will pass up on games they would be more likely to buy if they were 800. I think with this new pricing policy Microsoft are basically pricing themselves out of sales.

So to conclude Death tank is a great game when played against friends, either at home or over Live. This game isn’t for everyone though, so I would most definitely give the demo a try and play some friends over Live. If it was cheaper I would have no hesitation to give it a higher score and recommend the game. As it is I’m going to have to knock a point off due to the price.

Rating: ★★★★★★★☆☆☆

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