Battle City (video game)
Front cover of Battle City (Famicom)
Dempa Shinbunsha (Sharp X1)
Nova Games (Game Boy)
|Release date(s)||Family Computer
|Genre(s)||Action, Multi-directional shooter|
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.
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.
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 symbol gives an extra life, star 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 and 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, though these custom levels cannot be saved unlike in similar modes such as the one in Excitebike.
Several unofficial hacks of Battle City were produced by the Chinese company Yanshan Software in the early 1990s, the most common being Tank A 1990. They featured more levels, new level layouts, new power-ups like a handgun which maxes up the tank's firing power, the ability to cross water, and other modifications. These hacks became popular in China and other countries where Famicom clones were widely distributed, and are frequently found on pirate multicarts.