We first had a look at this way back in May '97, and came away with scarcely any more idea of what it's about than when we started. It clearly involves tanks, but apparently not in the traditionally dull way, as the game is peppered with all manner of comedy antics. Essentially, the idea is to wage war against the so-called Evil Black Tanks and annihilate them for ever. To do this f you are sent back in time to an age before the Evil Black Tanks had , established their grip on ' the world, your overall mission being to fight I your way through rime, destroying their A influence in every era of history. B How are you W supposed to do this?
By using a magic crane, of course. The cranes hover above the landscape, which features grassy plains, rocky mountains, lakes, lava, quicksand, forests, snow, ice and, hilariously, sheep. The crane is controlled with the mouse and swoops across the landscape at speed. Each crane has a magnet that enables you to manipulate, pick up, assemble and control your forces. By constructing armies of tanks, you can protect your home base as well as have a pop at the wicked machinations of the Evil Black Tanks.
Face The Machine
Every tank in the game is modular, with tracks, engine blocks, weapons and radar control dishes that can be fitted together in different configurations. You begin the game with a few assorted tank parts and a magical machine called the Part-O-Matic. In order to create the tank parts, your Part-O-Matic needs a supply of resources, and can use pretty much anything on the landscape, without the need to mine for ore and all that bollocks. A set of tracks is a good starting point when building a tank, followed by an engine block or two. The more engines you fit to your tank, the more weapons it can wield, and the game features more than 50 unique types.
The way you construct your tanks affects how you play the game. For instance, a dozen huge, ferocious tanks are able to chew their way through almost any obstacle, but a small, zippy tank could be more useful for dodging past an enemy rocket launcher and blagging some much-needed resources.
Tanktics features four distinctive eras for you to battle through, and consequently the tanks created in each are very different. Stone Age features huge tanks carved out of massive chunks of granite. They're slow movers, but more than capable of mass destruction. Medieval tanks are constructed like castles, made out of stone and wood, with all the heraldry and frilly bits. Modem tanks are mean, no-nonsense, cold-war mobile death machines. Future tanks have options such as hover bases and long-range weapons. Each era contains enough tank parts to offer millions of possible combinations, and no era has a particular advantage over another. For instance, the Future tanks still have a hard time beating the Stone Age tanks.
Pigeons In Flight
As for pigeonholing, Tanktics is a slippery little twat to pin down, so rather than scratch our heads for a convenient soundbite we simply asked the people who made it what it's all about. Producer Brian Lawson is as good a place to start as any. So, Brian, what are the primary influences behind Tanktics?
"The game has so many different aspects, it's hard to say. The one that sticks in my mind most is the old Zombie games you used to get on ZX81s and other old home computers - you remember those? Try to stay ahead of the zombies and lead them into waiting traps while they relentlessly follow you. That was the way we wanted the player to feel as streams of enemy tanks kept rolling towards their base - facing an enemy that is mindless, merciless, relentless."
Programmer Craig Stewart cites a more recent inspiration: "Being the first of the RTS games to make it big, obviously C&C did catch our interest. But there are so many clones of that genre out there, we didn't go down that road. Tanktics is fresh, it's like no RTS ever played before. We think people are bored with the C&C clones, and we've done something just that little bit different and, dare I say it, original. There is nothing out there like it. And unless someone clones DMA there never will be, because only DMA could have produced this game. I think they put mindexpanding drugs in our coffee." Brian Baglow, head of Propaganda & Indoctrination, appears to ratify this, claiming that the game is inspired by "Vic & Bob's Novelty Island, a wet Wednesday evening in Lewis, and a plate spinner in Trafalgar Square".
Tanktics certainly sounds twisted, but what kind of person will enjoy playing it?
Brian Lawson: "Anyone who wants to have fun. It has humour, panic, stress, triumph, strategy, action, silly noises and, of course, sheep. Something for everyone, really."
Brian Baglow: "We love Tanktics. You love Tanktics. All God's children love Tanktics."
Particularly, it would seem, if they're called Brian.
- PC compatible
- Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP