M1 Abrams Battle Tank
The line separating computer games and video-games began to blur last year when Populous was released for the Genesis. Here was a widely acclaimed computer game, a game of great depth and substance, suddenly appearing on a cartridge for a home videogame system. And most impressive of all, the cartridge version and computer version were almost identical.
Now that line has been breached again — this time by an Abrams Ml A1 tank.
Electronic Arts' Abrams Battle Tankk, originally introduced for home computers, is an almost perfect example of what people think of as a "computer game." It's a detailed simulation of tank combat, not a shoot-em-up. By placing you in command of a U.S. Army M1A1 tank, the game demands that you consider a number of complex mechanical and tactical options at the same time. Abrams Battle Tank is now available from Sega of America for play on the Genesis system, and nothing has been lost in the translation. As was the case with Populous, the videogame version of Abrams Battle Tank is virtually identical to the original.
Your Abrams Ml A1 and crew are assigned to stop the advancing Soviet army in Germany — an advance that could trigger World War III. As the tank's commander, you'll face many critical decisions as you maneuver through the eight individual missions that make up the game. Each mission involves at least one objective (destroy a hidden Soviet base, for instance) and plenty of resistance.
This might not sound much different from the storylines of many other videogames. The difference is in the way you achieve your goals. For example, in most videogames you would proceed from point A to point B as if your tank were moving along a railroad track. You might be able to speed up and slow down, and perhaps steer a bit from side to side, but you'd always follow the same path to reach the end of a mission.
In Abrams Battle Tank, each mission is an open-ended, three-dimensional simulation. There are only a few basic, realistic rules: You can't cross bodies of water, you can't drive up or down slopes that are too steep, and you can't move out of the assigned area (the simulation's "world"). Other than that, you're entirely free to pursue the enemy and search for his bases in any way you please. You can drive your tank anywhere you want, in any direction you want. You can stick to the main roads, which allow you to drive at top speeds. Or you can leave the road to see what lies beyond a distant hill. If you spot an enemy disappearing into a valley, you can follow him. He might lead you to a hidden enemy base or into a deadly ambush.
Although you are limited to a particular area in each mission (represented on a map which can be displayed on the screen), you'll soon find that the mission area is truly vast. It can take as long as 30 minutes of real time to drive from one end of this "world" to the other —and that's on paved roads, moving as fast as 45 miles per hour! A bit of arithmetic, then, defines your mission area as a square that measures about 22 miles on each side, or nearly 500 square miles. Searching for a Soviet base hidden in a hilly, river-crossed area that large can be a real challenge.
On top of that, you can count on facing Soviet armored vehicles and infantry at any time. You'll even be threatened by Mi-24 Hind helicopter gunships, which suddenly appear from behind mountain peaks and dive straight for your tank. Among the armored vehicles you'll fight are SovietT-80 tanks, BRDM-2 and BRDM-3Tank Destroyers, and one of the Soviet Union's most advanced weapons: the FST-1 main battle tank. The FST-1 's size, appearance, and characteristics are still secret. But if you encounter one, you'll soon learn that it's unrelenting and powerful. Abrams Battle Tank differs from shooter-type videogames in another important way: You don't have an unrealistic supply of unlimited ammunition. Your tank can carry up to 40 rounds of ammo for your main gun, depending on the types of shells you choose. There are three different kinds of shells, each with their own characteristics, so the number of each type of shell you choose will depend on the specific mission you're assigned.
Each of the eight missions has its own goals and dangers. You can pick any single mission you want, or choose campaign mode, in which all eight missions are thrown at you in random order, one after the other. It's probably a good idea at first to avoid campaign mode and play each of the missions individually. Until you become familiar with the terrain, you may find yourself driving aimlessly for hours. Even if you keep an eye on the map at all times, you can still spend hours searching for your objective among the game's many hills, valleys, and rivers. The more familiar you are with a mission area's terrain and the locations of enemy targets, the better your chances are of making it back to your own base.
Even when you learn exactly where you have to go and how you'll get there, your mission still won't be easy. The mission can prove deadly if you don't use your guns wisely and run out of ammunition, or if you stumble into a whole armored patrol and begin taking fire from every direction. If you're not careful, you might even run out of gasoline.
Fortunately, you can return to your main base or any friendly base (they're the ones flying the white flags) for repairs and supplies. In some missions, such as Nuremberg Highway, you should return to base for supplies. If you don't, you'll probably run completely out of ammunition just as the fighting gets heavy. Or worse yet, your accumulated damage may leave you crippled and unable to escape.
Abrams Battle Tank is a complex game, but it's not so complex that you can't begin playing it right away. You probably won't do very well at first, but you can start playing. And although it's an uncompromised translation of a computer game, Abrams BattleTank is so good that it should attract fans of all ages.
Download M1 Abrams Battle Tank
- PC compatible
- Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP
- Game modes: Single game mode
- Up, Down, Left, Right - Arrow keys
- Start - Enter (Pause, Menu select, Skip intro, Inventory)
- "A" Gamepad button - Ctrl (usually Jump or Change weapon)
- "B" button - Space (Jump, Fire, Menu select)
- "C" button - Left Shift (Item select)
Use the F12 key to toggle mouse capture / release when using the mouse as a controller.
- Manufacturer: SPECTRUM HOLOBYTE
Central Europe. The Middle East. Fort Knox.
Welcome to the battlefield. You are now in command of 60 tons of high-tech firepower: The M1 Abrams Main Battle Tank.
Check the battle plans and topographical maps - call for reconnaissance... Tank brings you all the action you can handle. It's the only tank simulation that lets you control an individual tank, or lead a small army of up to 24 vehicles, including tanks, artillery and aircraft.
Experience the action as commander, gunner or driver while crushing through rugged land-scapes at 50 mph. Peer through the darkness with the aid of thermal imaging. Pound at the armor of a Soviet T-80 tank with your sophisticated weaponry.
And for a limited time, you can order a free Tank VHS video tape (small handling fee applies) when you purchase TANK. You'll see actual footage of the M1 Abrams in action. Plus, you'll have the option of a free introductory membership to Compu-Serve, the world's largest personal information system.
So strap on your helmet and be all that you can be - with TANK, from Spectrum HoloByte.
- Theme: Sim.
- Players: 1
- Difficulty: Hard
The most advanced combat tank of the American army is now in your total command! Use your devastating weapons to take out the enemy that is trying to take control of the world!
These days, simulations are the big thing on home-computer systems. "Games" like SimCity, Railroad Tycoon and the brand-new SimEarth have changed computer gaming into something more sophisticated and rewarding. Your Sega Genesis is a computer too, and even though it's dedicated to games, there's no reason why it shouldn't be capable of good simulations. As a matter of fact, I've got a good one for you right now: Abrams Battle Tank.
In Abrams Battle Tank, you get to climb aboard one of those mighty metal monsters of the battlefield and try to seek out and destroy enemy forces. You play several roles simultaneously, including commander, gunner and driver, and you'd better know all positions well if you want to survive.
When you begin the game, you can choose to play a single scenario or take on an entire campaign, one scenario at a time. After making a selection, you get your orders, load up on ammo (you can choose from three types, each specially suited for a particular type of enemy) and head off to battle.
In each scenario, you are given a particular goal, such as guiding a convoy to its destination. You then attempt to complete the mission, all the while taking out enemies as they appear. Enemies come in all types, including ground vehicles and even helicopters. As soon as they get into range, they start firing, and unless you blast them quickly, they'll turn your tank into hot scrap.
During your mission you can choose from four different main displays: commander, driver, gunner and cupola. Each display has its own command menu from which you can control your tank's many functions. The tank's movement and fire functions are accessed from the control pad, but other functions, such as choosing the type of ammunition, changing to turret control, checking for damage, setting off a smoke screen and many others, are controlled by activating menu items.
The displays themselves show not only such helpful items as overhead-view maps and damage summaries, but also a full frontal view of the terrain from the viewpoint of the soldier at that station. When in the driver's display, for example, you look through the slot in the front of the tank (whatever they call that thing), with the turret above you, which you can see firing and turning. The commander's view, on the other hand, is taken up mostly by the overhead map, although there is still a "through the slot" view of the terrain.
Although the graphics are not as well rendered as one might expect for a Genesis game, they are detailed enough to sustain the simulation. What's really stunning is the movement of the display as you drive the tank. The simulated 3-D is almost as good as many of the flight-simulator programs on "full-scale" computers. The sound effects are also especially well-done. From the sound of your tank's engine cranking over to the detonations of shells, the aural qualities of this game add much to the realism.
Abrams Battle Tank is an engrossing simulation, a game every serious Genesis owner must own. It seems to this reviewer that, with the addition of games like Populous and Abrams Battle Tank, the Genesis is slowly acquiring a software library that may someday rival the "big boys" such as PC compatibles. Let's hope this trend continues.