BattleTanx Global Assault – N64
Platform: Nintendo 64
Release Date (NA): August 31, 1999
Nerd Rating: 7.5 out of 10
Don’t forget to also check out Jitszu’s review of the first game, BattleTanx!
I remember thinking highly of BattleTanx Global Assault when I first played it at my friend’s house. We didn’t do anything in the campaign mode, instead we played multiplayer and destroyed each other over and over again! That was fun then… and it’s still fun now! Developed and published by the dreadful 3DO company (yes, the same group that brought you the powerful yet unsupported Panasonic 3DO home console system), BattleTanx Global Assault is a true sequel to the original BattleTanx, which was released roughly 1 year prior to BT Global Assault. BattleTanx Global Assault would prove to be a success for the 3DO company, but would not be enough to keep the company afloat, and 3DO found themselves, once again, in deep water and struggling for air.
When I first started the game, I found it to be extremely annoying trying to use the joystick on the main menu screen. It was barely functional and couldn’t recognize me mashing left, right, down, or up over and over. I got annoyed and switched over to the d-pad, which worked flawlessly. A little odd and strange, but nevertheless, let’s blow some shit up.
There are a multitude of game modes to choose from, and plenty of cheat codes to put in! The variety is great and the missions are somewhat unique and generally fun. In each game mode, you will be given a task or responsibility and you must complete this task in order to win. You get to choose whichever city you want to play in across the US and Europe (including Washington DC, Texas, San Francisco, London, Paris, Germany and more).
Each game mode (with the exception of Campaign) is single or multi-player mode.
- Deathmatch – Depending on the difficulty, you will be required to defeat a certain number of tanks in order to win. It’s not at all a very original game mode, and it plays similarly to all of the other game modes, except all you do is “kill 10 tanks” or “kill 15 tanks” in different cities. It might be the most insipid game mode.
- Battlelord – Sort of a like a capture the flag type battle. You have to get all of the queenlords back to your base without getting killed too often or them getting killed. I think this mode is pretty fun! But in a couple levels I noticed some exceptionally stupid A.I. with the enemy tanks getting trapped in corners or stuck bashing themselves against a building wall over and over and over. It was a little difficult to get past the large tank that was protecting the base. But first you have to kill the tank, then destroy the base, then grab the Queenlord (all you do is roll over the floating picture and you will “pick her up”), and get back to your base without getting killed! It’s a solid entry and really gives that fun “capture the flag” feel! One of my favorite modes.
- Frenzy – “Be the first to rescue 10 queenlords” is the task provided to you by your C.O. It’s a similar style of play to Battlelord, but you have to get 10 queenlords instead of the 1. It’s a fairly fun game mode! And adds a level of longevity that’s missing from a few of the other game modes.
- Hold-em – The task that you’re given is “Keep the queenlord safe in your base.” But after killing 30 enemies right in front of my base, I wasn’t sure if it would ever end. It seemed extremely familiar to Battlelord game mode, except they never said to me “Go steal the other queenlord.” – It’s confusing and feels like it will never end (does it end??). If I’m wrong about this folks, please let me know. After speaking with some other gaming experts, I discovered that you’re supposed to rescue the queenlord, return to the base, and then hold off the enemy for a period of time. This is never made clear and it’s wildly frustrating considering I fought off 30 enemies the first time around!
- Family Mode – I’m not entirely sure what this is! It says “Defeat 10 enemy tanks”- I didn’t get to choose what city to fight in. It starts and tells me what to do. Then I discovered that I couldn’t change my weapon OR fire my tank rounds. I was stuck firing lasers and that’s all I could do! My friend tells me this game mode is an alternative mode to Deathmatch. It’s a single-button fire mode, and you go through your weapons arsenal as you use them up. It’s possibly the weakest game mode of all and the “challenges” of firing with a single button are pointless and unnecessary!
- Tank Wars – You and your gang of tanks (tanx?) take on a group of other tankers as you attempt to kill them more times than they kill you in the allotted time frame (3 minutes). This game mode is crazy chaotic and fun! Don’t be surprised if you get killed every 30 seconds! Just make sure you kill 2 enemies to each time you get killed! Other than campaign mode, it’s my favorite single player mode. There’s a good balance of chaos mixed with some strategy. Use the buildings for cover when you can, but you may also want to destroy some buildings to open up the battle area.
- Convoy – You and your gang are tasked with protecting a convoy as they attempt to reach one end of the stage or the other. In addition to protecting your own convoy, you can destroy their convoy to win. Holding off the enemy long enough results in a win. Some of the levels are so short, it’s boring. In Texas, I held off the enemy and won the “event” in 1:06 two times in a row. Exact same time. I’m not sure I did anything. I didn’t kill anybody. It just randomly finished and I won. I was a little disappointed. The next time, I ramped up the difficulty and found myself much more challenged.
All of these single or multi player modes provide identical game engine and mechanics throughout each, but there are different rules and responsibilities for each one. Some are similar, such as deathmatch and hold-em, and others are more unique, such as convoy and tank wars. Each mode provides some great experiences, but they’re pretty shallow from a single player perspective. Playing any of these modes with some friends is pretty awesome! The best mode for 4-player is Tank Wars! It doesn’t require too much thought or effort! Just running around shooting each other and blowing up tanks! What more do you need??
The creme de la creme of BattleTanx Global Assault is the Campaign mode. The story is: “It’s 2002, and the world is now a diseased post-apocalyptic wasteland. There is a young boy who possesses the power of telekinetic abilities and he alone holds the key to rebuilding society. Using a variety of tanks and with a varied arsenal of weapons, you are tasked with rescuing this boy from the evil Queenlord and delivering him safely to the allies.”
I think the story is pretty gnarly and somewhat original. If you think post-apocalyptic movies and video games are cool, then there’s no reason you won’t find yourself completely immersed in the campaign mode of BattleTanx Global Assault. This sequel provides a much needed reboot of the original game and 3DO did a great job fixing the old problems. The gameplay moves fast (sometimes too fast) and the controls hold up very well (even with the rise in popularity of dual joystick controllers). One of the best features of the game is the much-needed save capability. The campaign mode can be quite lengthy, deep, and challenging. Some of the levels are frustratingly difficult and will put you on the verge of wanting to quit. But if you power-through, the end result is worth it. The campaign mode has bits and pieces of the other game-modes scattered throughout, so gaining some familiarity with controls might be a good idea and can easily be achieved by playing some of those modes.
I think the graphics are phenomenal and everything is textured very well. There’s never any confusion about who the enemy is (due to having tanks colored in blue, yellow, red, & green and the great shading and color separation). The ground texture is simple and the buildings all have doors and windows, but there was no attempt to make each wall look 3D (which works well for this game). The graphics, sound, music, and controls really set the game apart from its predecessor in all of the best ways.
Overall, BattleTanx Global Assault is a pretty gnarly game, STILL. The campaign mode is by far the best part of the game as it is rich and deep with a great rolling story that builds upon itself as you progress loaded with great cinematics paired with the story text. The nuclear explosion is just badass, even today in 2013. I hold this game close as it was one of the very few Nintendo 64 games that I owned that I could really dive deep into from a single player perspective (aside from Super Mario 64 and The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time).
I was excited when I found this green cartridge in the bottom of my Nintendo 64 game/accessory box last week! There’s no reason for me to give BattleTanx Global Assault a low score, but I can’t go too high on the rating because it’s not entirely flawless. BTGA did a great job creating a game that could be fun, playable, and enjoyable 15 years later, and it’s too bad this game is all but forgotten by most.
Reviewed by NerdBerry
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