Battle City (video game)

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Battle City
Battle City
Front cover of Battle City (Famicom)
Developer(s) Namco
Dempa Shinbunsha (Sharp X1)
Nova Games (Game Boy)
Publisher(s) Namco
Platform(s) Family Computer, Game Boy, Arcade (Nintendo VS. System), Sharp X1, Virtual Console (Wii and Wii U)
Release date(s) Family Computer
  • JP: September 9, 1985
Sharp X1
  • JP: 1985
Game Boy
  • JP: August 9, 1991
Virtual Console
  • JP: September 4, 2007 (Wii)
  • JP: July 9, 2014 (Wii U)
Genre(s) Action, Multi-directional shooter
Mode(s) Single-player, multiplayer

Battle City (バトルシティー Batoru Shitī?) 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, who which is always 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.

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. 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;
  • 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);
  • 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;
  • 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). 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.

Hacked version[edit]

Tank 1990, the well-known hack of Battle City, was developed in 1990 by Chinese company Yanshan Software. Published without a Nintendo license, it became popular in China and/or other countries where Famicom clones were widely distributed, and is frequently found on pirate multicarts. Like for Magic Jewelry, the title has been released in various unofficial remakes on iOS and Android during the 2010s.

In Tank 1990 there are 14 different game options, who which are marked with a letter from A to N (forming a series, the most common being "Tank A 1990"), and featured: more levels, new level layouts, new power-ups like a handgun that maxes up the tank's firing power, the ability to cross water, and other modifications. Finally, are also confirmed the Two-player and "Construction" modes.

See also[edit]


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

External links[edit]