April 20, 1998

Entertainment

Computer Game Review

  by Rick Brewster
  

Battlezone


   If you've ever played Warcraft 2 or Command & Conquer, you know what a good strategy game is like. If you've ever played Quake or Descent, you know what a good action game is like. And, if you play Battlezone, you'll find out what the perfect mix between the two is.
  
   The game is set in the early 1960s during the space race. An alien bio-metal was discovered in the debris of a meteor shower, and both sides (U.S. and the Soviets) are clamoring to be the first to colonize various planets and moons in the solar system. The areas that are likely to have more of the metal are the first to be colonized. What results is the first war in outer space.
  
   The interface is extremely intuitive. Telling your Recycler to build a Scavenger or a Scout becomes second nature, as every command given is a matter of typing numbers. Hit 5 for the Recycler, then 1 to build a Scavenger. Hit 3 to select Utility Vehicles, 1 for the Scavenger, then 3 to tell him to go gather scrap. It's almost perfect, except that when you're going around with your left hand on the W, A, S and D keys it's a pain to reach the numbers 5 through 9 and 0.
  
   The controls and physics are believable. It really feels like you're driving a near zero-g craft. Vehicles handle differently, too. If you're in a light weight, high speed Razor, control is quick and responsive. In a heavy bomber, control is sluggish and slow, as it should be.
  
   The blend of action and strategy is near perfect. While commanding your troops, if you see an enemy blip on the radar, don't tell your troops to go fight it. Zip on over yourself and take out the opposition. Or, tell your fighting force to follow you as you scour the area on the lookout for Soviets. One great feature is the ability to switch vehicles. If you want to switch the vehicle you're driving, hop out and command a nearby vehicle to pick you up. Or, if you're the adventurous type, use your sniper rifle to kill the pilot of a Soviet vehicle and jump in.
  
   Battlezone is a game I would recommend to most anyone. Its perfect blend of action and strategy will keep you on edge, and the interface will keep you in control at all times.
   Created by: Activision (www.activision.com)
   Publisher: Activision
   Category: Arcade/Strategy
   Price: $50
   System Requirements: Pentium 120, 16MB RAM, 160MB hard drive space, 2X CD-ROM, Win95
   Recommended: Pentium 166 with a Direct3D accelerator, 32MB RAM, 4X CD-ROM
   Highs: intuitive and unique interface; controls; nice graphics
   Lows: minor graphical glitches; navigational AI
   Content Rating: PG - Damage to realistic objects.
   Star Rating: 4 1/2 out of 5 stars