CodeMasters have gone tank mad. Their next two releases involve driving, blowing up and dodging tanks in many shapes and sizes. This is the first one, Super Tank Simulator. You play a tank (what a surprise) and rumble about landscapes shooting turrets, other tanks while avoiding mines that only show themselves when you get near. This may not sound a barrel of laughs, but there is another part to the game to cheer you up, a type of shooting range section where the player must shoot at the enemy bases and even more tanks in Combat School style.
The landscape section is reminiscent of Marauder from Hewson in the way the tank moves about and fires, but that aside the game is really playable. While games of this kind have been around for years, Super Tank Simulator adds the so successful CodeMasters style of music, effects and polish. The shooting range type section is something not included in other companies' versions on the theme and adds lots of playability.
Super Tank Simulator, in the same mould as games like Stunt Man Simulator and BMX Simulator with its aerial view of the action, is almost guaranteed to be a sure fire hit.
It has to be said - CodeMasters have been prett busy lately. Virtually every cheapie this month seems to have come from their Warwick gamelabs, but I don't think any are as good as this. It's a simple enough game. You find yourself (it says here) in the driving seat of NATO's latest and most sophisticated tank, and you got to destory anything that comes in your way. Control is hard at first - Left and Right turn the tank, Up moves it forward - and the gun emplacements are quick off the mark. But if you get used to it, you become determined to outwit the snivelling little gits holed up in them, and there's often a really clever way of doing it. Strategic thinking is just as important as speed of reaction here, and the whole caboodle scrolls smoothly in eight satisfying directions. Apparently you eventually get to see the battle from the tank's eye view (the initial view is from above) but I haven't got that far yet, and to be honest can't see how I'll manage it. "Eight incredible war zones!!" the packaging screams, but I'm afraid I'll just have to take their word for it. Still, this is diverting stuff, based on two billion other games but definitely worth a shufti all the same.
Well knock me down with a neutrino - it's a Code Masters Game not written by the Darling Bros or the Oliver Twins. No, no, no, indeed, sir - the authors of this particular offerette go by the tax dodge of Optimus Software.
I like Super Tank Sim. If it was a wine, poncy types would be calling it, "rough, but full bodied with a vigorous top end,"... but of course it isn't. If it was a car, Tank Sim would be a C Reg Nissan Micra. If it was a cup of tea, it would be Typhoo One Cup. If it were a fruit gum, it would be black. If it were a computer game, it is highly likely that anyone forking out £2.99 on the jobbie would get their moneys' worth and more.
Super Tank starts off being a version of one player Tank Pong, with you controlling a tank, driving it through a maze, trying to avoid being shot by the emplacements and enemy tanks. I say Tank Pong because the shots bounce off the walls, so quite often, if you are of the devious sort, you can wait around corners and blast away at little risk to yourself.
The maze in which the action takes place is about a screen and a half wide (scrolling left right when you reach a boundary) and scrolls up the screen as you move through it.
The emplacements and tanks aren't that clever and behave the same way all the time - but it still takes quite a bit of time to find the right route through the level and the right way to reach the end without losing any of your three lives... although the shield icon that you pick up just before you reach the last bit is a welcome assistance.
When you reach the end, unexpectedly the action changes to an Op Wolf kind of perspective with you having to shoot down Harrier Jets, Jeeps and other military paraphanalia. If you survive this, it's on to another maze level and so on.
With an alleged five levels, Tank Sim will probably keep you going for a few wet afternoons - it's nothing radically new, but very competently programmed, quite a laff, and well worth the minor expenditure if you are looking for something a bit different from the run of the mill, "disengage frontal lobes" thrash.
Author: Optimus Software
Reviewer: John Cook
Oh dear, another dodgy arcade game disguised as a simulator and wrapped up in a load of self-congratulating waffle. This time it's a marginally upgraded version of that crusty old Atari 2600 cartridge, Tank Pong - guide your "super" (ha ha) tank through eight war-torn battle zones, blasting the pants off the enemies which you meet on the way.
The graphics are poorly drawn and monochromatic. That would have been okay if the colour used hadn't been bright yellow. Sound is all but non-existent. And if you think that things can only get better, they don't. Because the gameplay is absolutely dire too. If you can't realise that all the cries of "Absolutely Brilliant" and the rest which is emblazoned across the inlay is hype, then you deserve to waste your money on this complete load of old rubbish, instead of buying one of the other brilliant games reviewed this month.
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