Battle Tanx: Global Assault Review
One of PS' biggest franchises is without a doubt the Twisted Metal series. Sony and Single Trac first released the title back in '95-96, first PS owners were thrilled when the played the game. The game was later followed in '97 with Twisted Metal 2, arguably the best Twisted Metal, TW2 had much improved visuals better gameplay and far more variety. A few things went a little crazy, Single Trac departed from Sony and went to GT Interactive (who is now owned by Infogrames). Sony/989 Studios went back to work on the TW series, since they owned the license, and while all of the was happening Activision decided to jump into the vehicle combat genre with Vigilante 8. This new title wasn't as new as we though it was, V8 was just a title with Interstate 76 characters battling each other. So now that 989 Studios is working on TW3, the new V8 being released by Activison, where does this leave Single Trac, just like the other developers Single Trac was hard at work on Rogue Trip, their TW clone. The game ran on an enhanced version of TW2 and in my opinion was better than TW3 and V8.
Wow look at all of these vehicle combat titles on the PS and that leaves its competitor N64 with none. Until one day a little company called 3DO decided to make their own version of Twisted Metal, except with tanks. The game was appropriately titled BattleTanx, the title (like all of the 3DO's games) was pretty lackluster, so 3DO went back to work on the sequel. When that was released the game offered more but it still sucked. So 3DO had nothing to do and they went to work on a PS version of BattleTanx: Global Assault (Oh no!), see what the result is after 3DO spent about 6-7 months on developing the game.
BattleTanx suffers from many things and the graphics is one of them, particularly the fog effects (which try to obviously hide the games horrendous pop-up) really make everything hard to see. There are many times that I find myself searching for my enemy while he is shooting at me non-stop, that is definitely the aspect that makes the game so un-playable. Tank detail is pretty lacking, the tanks look like they have been processed through a metal eater, frankly first generation titles look almost as good as this. The worst feature about GA is the textures, ohh the horror. These are by far the ugliest textures I have ever seen the PS do, the trees are pixely, grainy and super flat. Buildings are very stale looking, they have very little detail put into them. Now, on the back of the game's cover 3DO claims that GA has "amazing effects", sure you can blow up almost every single building in your path, but saying that the effects are amazing is an over-exaggeration. They explosions look "okay" for the most part, but every thing else like fires and lasers need a lot more work. The visuals in BattleTanx are below average, 3DO is seriously going down the drain. Before I go to the gameplay, what will happen if I throw the game disk into the garbage the disposal machine? Too late, I know now.
The PS version offers three new tracks that were not included in the Nintendo version, wow! Now we have 40 arenas that are cookie cutters, all of these stages give me no reason to play the game again. You have locales such as Moscow (the perfect place for tanks battling each other), San Francisco, London, Paris and more. To decrease the value even more, 3DO has pulled out the 4 player mode. The point of BattleTanx is to start a campaign with a gang, a lot like Road Rash, and do everything that you are told to do. There are ten gangs to choose from, with different tanks in each gang. Speaking of tanks, you have 13 to choose, all with unique abilities and weapons. The arsenal of power ups is 20, but they aren't anything that you haven't seen before so you don't need to get excited. The menus remind me of those I would see in a SNES game, believe it or not it's true. 3DO may describe this game to be deep, but is far from that, I suggest picking up a used Twisted Metal 2. The controls are many times unbearable, to drive a tank you have to hold up on the pad or left analog stick and steer at the same time. The camera views are also stupid, and they get me dizzy. Gameplay is pretty close to the N64 version, since they both share the same crappy camera views, control and gameplay mechanics. If you get dizzy from games with very fast moving cameras then stay away from GA.
The worst aspect is its sound, the N64 version had pretty good sound and when I heard that BattleTanx will be ported to the PS, right away I thought the sound will be the best thing over the N64 version. Was I dead wrong, 3DO managed to put some of the worst sound quality on a CD, the cartridge medium is not made to do quality things the only thing the medium is good for is no loading times. And to see the cartridge version of a title have crisper and better sound quality is a disgrace. The soundtrack is stale, just like the rest of the game.
BattleTanx: Global Assault never raised my hopes, mainly because it is a 3DO title. I have said it before and I'll say it again, if anything is developed or published by 3DO to today, watch what you buy, the company has now given itself the worst reputation in the video gaming industry. BattleTanx is not worth a purchase, a rental, even a second of eye contact. The game gives nothing, to keep someone coming back.