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  Battle Zone
Red Brigade forces were obviously vectored for our base, Ares 6 and here I was standing in the open. Hoisting my rifle, I jogged towards a tank and ran for base watching the red forces close in on my radar. Messages started to flood my comm immediately as the turrets started to open fire. I arrived to see hell breaking loose and red units all over……….
Preamble:

Just think of putting Mechwarrior and Quake in the same engine and BattleZone(BZ) is what you might see. Here is a game that has taken the 3D approach to new heights. Riding around in levitating equipment while building a base is something that I've never really seen before and makes BZ something that is unique and very playable.

Companyline:

"Let them have their ticker tape parades, their 'space races,' and their commemorative packets of dehydrated ice cream. While Von Braun takes credit for his Redstone bottle rockets, I am finalizing plans for an inter-planetary fleet that could plant an American flag on every rock and pebble in this solar system by the end of the next decade. I will be watching the sunrise on the Olympus Mons long before NASA takes their first steps on the moon." -Dr. Wilhelm Arkin's response to the offer of a position at NASA.

The Space Race was a lie. In the late 1950's, a meteor shower pummeled the Bering Straits. In the debris, American and Soviet scientists simultaneously discovered an off-world bio-metal that they could fabricate into amazing vehicles and weapons. They quickly gathered up and depleted all of the material that had fallen to Earth, and both sides were left wanting more. This began the REAL Space Race... The one too brutal to televise. They launched their space programs in their efforts to find additional bio-metal deposits, and it was the military imperative that made the space race so intense -- not Kennedy's "for the greater good of man." Neil Armstrong's walk on the moon was actually the biggest cover-up in American history. Nobody knew that we'd built a full moon base just a few feet away. In fact, it was General Collins, commander of the American moon base at Eagle's Nest One, who took the original picture of Neil stepping onto the moon. It's amazing that nobody ever asked who took that picture. The NSA thought they'd made a real mistake when they released it. Now you are in command! Lead your troops across the galaxy on a mission to control the alien technology before the Soviets do. Only one super-power can survive in the Battlezone.Battlezone Comes Full Circle: The original Battlezone of the 1980's was the first 3-D computer game ever. Remember the view finder? Now Activision presents the next revolutionary Battlezone - the first truly immersive first-person, action-strategy game where you command your troops from the battlefield.

• Full-Blown 3-D Warfare: Pilot one of 20 anti-gravity war machines equipped with weapons of destruction: mortars, mines and the devastating Thumper Device, which launches a Richter-heavy groundquake over the morphable terrain.

• Full Strategic Control: You are the supreme commander of more than 30 unique units, including tanks, infantry and mobile assault turrets. Build bases, deploy forces, manage resources and build your empire, all from the pilot's seat of your tank.

• Realistic First-Person Combat Action: Ship shot down? Bail out, parachute to safety, then use your sniper rifle to take out an enemy pilot and steal the ship for sweet revenge. Switch vehicles right on the battlefield of one of seven distinct moons or planets.

• Revolutionary Technology: The game features full D3D support and a quick software rendering engine which incorporates actual images from NASA space expeditions.

• Multiplayer Melees: Pick your poison: wage multiplayer mayhem in full Strategy Mode via LAN, modem or Internet. Or battle with up to seven others in Deathmatch Mode.

Gameplay and Replayability:

There are many games that have tried to be everything and BZ does make a sincere effort. There is a strategy element and the arcade feel that makes this game a little more than what the competition offers. Like other games, there is a resource to collect, 'biometal', and bases to build but it doesn't stop there. The vehicles you build are extraordinary and each has different facets in gameplay. Some are defense oriented and others are definitely offense. The game engine is smooth and wonderfully integrated with the storyline. The ability to build factories and armories among other units allows you to make units that I only dreamed of in past games. From turrets, tanks to walkers you have a chance to jump into each and fly (or trundle) around accomplishing your missions. Speaking of missions, these can change on the fly and you may find yourself running to save your hide just when you thought you were winning. If things get heated, it's time to eject and have your forces pick you up.

The interface allows fairly easy control of your resources with hotkeys. With excellent sound and superb graphics (especially for 3DFX), BZ is an intense games that demands good control of your vehicle. You have to maneuver into some very interesting places with the jump feature to accomplish some of your goals. Other times, you must set up a decent defense perimeter to hold off incoming traffic.

The Lowdown:

This game is what I think Activision wanted Mechwarrior to evolve into. It has so many gaming elements that will make it successful that I can see many more versions of it being released. I found that there were a couple of things that bothered me like my scavengers kept running into me instead of just going around me. Occasionally my wingmen would go different routes than mine and would get killed as a result. And the most bothersome thing I disliked was having to travel to the spot I wanted my unit to go to. Real pain there.

Review ID Number: 191
  Product Details
Activision
Review Date: 2001-04-20
Reviewer: Nick Sardy
Rating: 8 out of 10
 
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