Battlezone was a PC game for Windows released by Activision in 1998. The game achieved an amazing feat of combining a first-person shooter, tank driving sim, and a tactical real-time-strategy game. I remember when my father brought the game home one day after having remembered the arcade game of the same name. As a kid I played it for hours on end and played the multiplayer even longer. The game was different and unique and was an experience that was never really replicated since.
Then, suddenly, out of the ashes arises Battlezone 98 Redux by a company named Rebellion who acquired the license.
Battlezone 98 Redux is the classic release of Battlezone back in 1998 made to work on modern machines of our time.
The main premise of the game is the real-time-strategy element executed through base building from your vehicle perspective. You can deploy your main builder (Recycler) and order it to construct scavengers for resource collection or a factory that makes additional units. You are even able to build an armory to launch weapons and outfit vehicles with different weapons. You can even build and outfit defensive structures as well.
The game also allows first person driving of vehicles such as tanks, scout crafts, and even artillery bombers. All vehicles in this game hover as well so you are capable of traversing even the strangest of terrains. For its controls its your basic wasd keys. But it has things like shift for jumping. Which can be important on terrain traversing or trying to climb a hill. (Except on steep hills those aren’t possible).
The game also offers advanced movement mechanics. For example if you go into options and turn off automatic leveling for terrain you can quite seriously do flips while jumping in your vehicle. (Just don’t land on your head). This allows you to high jump off a hill and look straight at the ground landing a shot on your opponent and then flip over backwards keeping aim at them. Yes. You can flip and strafe to do turns leveling yourself out to keep aim at them. Its quite fun to do.
What may be more surprising than the gameplay mashup working so well is the fact that the game not only has a storyline but a decent one. The games story revolves around a resource called Bio-Metal; and your fight against the CCA (Soviets) in the rush to collect it. As the story progresses you will visit different worlds such as the Earth’s Moon and Mars. The main story is a treat and is rather enriched with quality voice acting.
The biggest treat? Multiplayer. In the original you could play various versus modes ranging from base vs base to unit vs unit. The unit vs battles were in an arena type setup where each player could choose their vehicle. Battlezone 98 Redux is not short of this and includes all of these modes as well and then some. It supports co-op battles with friends against the AI (which is wickedly tough by the way) and a full fledged steam workshop. More maps, more customs, everything. There is also mention about a possible re-release of Battlezone II in the future.
This game gets a score from me of 9/10. It misses a few points for a few basic balance issues such as weapon damage. The chain gun from the CCA is much stronger then the ani tank weapons fired from the Grizzly (American tank) for example. But honestly these are completely minor.
A day back when Activision was an awesome company. What happened?