Last time I delved on my favourite role playing game, Betrayal at Krondor. I wrote it to pass the time, as ideas for posts have been scarce lately. I think I’ll keep on going and write about other favourite games that have inspired me somehow.
Let’s categorize them somehow. Last time I took on roleplaying games, this time I’ll take a gander at 1st person shooters. The easy way would be to just declare Half-Life 2 as my favourite FPS, but that feels like a cop out. Let’s take a game I that really liked, still like and that has felt unique: Battlezone.
Battlezone is an old FPS/RTS-hybrid. The game takes place on the planets of our solar system. With the discovery of bio-metal, a susbstance that can be easily forged into floating tanks and such, the Americans and Russians have spread to space to find some more. The player takes the position of a field commander, whose duties include both managing bases and resources and taking part in field operations inside a hovertank.
The game controls like a typical FPS, with WASD and a mouse, though with little traction. The player can usually command a Recycler, a mobile field factory that can create tanks from biometal scraps. The units and commands are keyed to number and function keys. The player can create tanks and customize them by creating different weapons. Commanding units happens by selecting a unit, pointing at something and pressing space. If the thing is an enemy, the unit attacks. If the thing is ground, the unit moves there.
What makes Battlezone great is that the game works. The strategy part works like any other: Find base location, create resource-gathering units, find resource fields, defend base, create army, attack enemy. But in addition, the player can perform scouting, defense, hit-and-run tactics by himself. A tank rush feels more exhilarating while you’re spearheading it. And you can exit your vehicle. Walking around is quite hazardous, but if your aiming is accurate, you can snipe a pilot from an enemy tank and commandeer it yourself. Or you can sneak to a vantage point and relay targets for your artillery with your scope.
In addition to biometal, pilots are also a resource, and a limited one. Pilots eject themselves from destroyed tanks and traverse back home where they can re-tank themselves. Killing opposing pilots is a nifty way to disrupt the opponent’s production.
Then the missions. There are lots of different missions, from typical seek-and-destroy, to desperate defenses, to escorting a convoy, to finding a relic and transporting it home. One of the most memorable missions was infiltrating a Soviet base by first sniping a sentry, commandeering their tank and flying in, while trying to dodge other, suspicious Soviet units. The plot was also quite interesting, though I do not recall any of the details.
Battlezone showed me that with a bit of ingenuity you can make anything work. I really hope that Good Old Games will release them (there was a sequel), so I can experience being Grizzly 1 again.