Battle City (video game)

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Battle City
Battle City NES cover.jpg
Front cover of Battle City (Famicom)
Dempa Shinbunsha (Sharp X1)
Nova Games (Game Boy)
Producer(s)Takefumi Hyoudou (Famicom)
Programmer(s)Ryoichi Ohkubo (Famicom)
Composer(s)Junko Ozawa (Famicom)
Norihiko Togashi (Game Boy)
Platform(s)Family Computer, Game Boy, Arcade (Nintendo VS. System), Sharp X1
ReleaseFamily Computer
  • JP: September 9, 1985
Sharp X1
Game Boy
  • JP: August 9, 1991
Genre(s)Action, Multi-directional shooter
Mode(s)Single-player, multiplayer

Battle City[a] is a multi-directional shooter video game for the Family Computer produced and published in 1985 by Namco. It is a successor to Namco's 1980 Tank Battalion, and would be succeeded itself by the 1991 Tank Force.[1]

An arcade version for the Nintendo VS. System would follow, and the game would eventually end up with the Virtual Console release for the Wii and Wii U. There was also a related Game Boy game of the same name dating back to 1991, which was also published by Namco but developed by Nova Games.


The player, controlling a Tank, must destroy enemy tanks in each level, which enter the playfield from the top of the screen. The enemy tanks attempt to destroy the player's base (represented on the map as a bird, eagle, or Phoenix), as well as the human tank itself. A level is completed when the player destroys all 20 enemy tanks, but the game ends if the player's base is destroyed or the player loses all available lives. Note that the player tank's weapon can destroy the base as well, so the player can still lose even after all enemy tanks are destroyed.

Battle City contains 35 different stages that are 13 units wide by 13 units high. Each map contains different types of terrain and obstacles. Examples include brick walls that can be destroyed by having either the player's tank or an enemy tank shoot at them, steel walls that can be destroyed by the player if he has collected three or more power-up stars, bushes that hide tanks under them, ice fields that make it difficult to control tank and pools of water which cannot be crossed by tanks. There are four progressively harder types of enemy tanks, with the toughest one requiring four shots to kill (while other tanks only require one shot). The game becomes more challenging in later levels, as enemy tanks may act as decoys to lure players away from their base so that another tank can destroy it. In addition, flashing tanks could be destroyed for power-ups. There are several types of power-ups:

  • Tank: a symbol that gives an extra life. Player also earns one extra life by reaching 20000 points;
  • Star: it improves player's tank (having one star make shots faster, having two stars allow two simultaneous shots, having three stars allow the player to destroy steel). Player's tank carries power-up across levels unless being destroyed, which resets its stats;
  • Bomb: destroys all visible enemy tanks;
  • Clock: freezes all enemy tanks for a period of time;
  • Shovel: adds steel walls around the Phoenix for a period of time. It also repairs any prior damage on the wall, unless the human player destroys the steel wall with their highest level tank;
  • Shield: makes player's tank invulnerable to attack for a period of time.

Battle City was one of the earlier games to allow two players to play simultaneously. Both players have to defend the base together, and if one player shoots the other, the friendly fire victim would be unable to move for a while (but can still shoot). In two player mode, at most six enemy tanks are spawned at the same time, compared to four in one player mode, and the player who kills more tanks at the end of a stage is also awarded a 1000 bonus points. It was also one of the first NES games to allow players access to an edit mode where they could create custom levels (called "Construction"), though these custom levels cannot be saved unlike in similar modes such as the one in Excitebike.[2]

The Game Boy version is more challenging, as the screen is too small to display the whole map and only enough to display one part of it; for this reason, a radar was added.


  1. ^ Japanese: バトルシティー Hepburn: Batoru Shitī?


  1. ^ Tank Force arcade game
  2. ^ [1] Battle City description

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