ZX Spectrum Games 3D Tank Duel
Realtime Software burst onto the ZX Spectrum games scene with this unofficial version of Atari's Battlezone, 3D Tank Duel in 1984.
This was the beginning of a long and successful series of games from Realtime, who became perhaps the premier developers of 3D games for the ZX Spectrum with classic games such as 3D Starstrike, Starstrike II, Starglider and Carrier Command.
3D Tank Duel was basically a copy of the famous arcade game, Battlezone and proved that a humble Speccy could be made to animate smooth moving vector graphics on a colourful backdrop.
The aim of the game was ultra simple: destroy an enemy tank before it destroys you. The view of the game was 'looking out' of your tank at the landscape which contained obstacles in the shape of oblong blocks and so on. Your radar at the top of the screen would tell you the location of the enemy tank, so you could home in on it for the kill.
You could move your tank to the left and right as well as backwards and forwards making it relatively easy to move around any obstacles in the playing area. Your display also had a square targetting reticle which would change shape and narrow if the enemy was in your sights.
In true impressive 3D, when you fired a shell you would see it flying away from you towards it's target, and would also see any shell flying towards you, getting larger and larger as it approached.
The game was 'never ending' as in once you destroyed an enemy tank (which exploded in a nice scattering of vector graphics) another tank would immediately appear. Each kill made the next enemy tougher - they were better at evading you and seemed to have a better aim. Every now and again a UFO would appear which could be destroyed for a bonus points.
If the enemy landed a direct hit on you a huge crack would splinter across the screen and you would lose a life. Losing all three lives meant game over - and back to the beginning.
3D Tank Duel was one of the first 'good' 3D games. The enemy tanks were well drawn (at the time) and moved nicely and the hills in the background added a little variety to otherwise pretty plain landscape. It was nice to finally have a playable version of Battlezone for the Speccy and 3D Tank Duel was a pretty big hit, putting Realtime Software on the gaming map in the process.
The test of time:
Here in Spectrum games we realise that those once impressive 3D graphics are now very, very simple. You would never sit and play 3D Tank Duel for any length of time as it is far too repetetive and lacking in variety, but it is a fun way to spend a spare ten minutes. It must go down as a landmark vector graphics title though.
We recommend getting hold of the real hardware but if not then download a ZX Spectrum emulator and download 3D Tank Duel for the ZX Spectrum. You may even be able to play it online.
Ready, aim, fire!
GENRE: 3D vector graphics arcade game
RELEASE DATE: 1984
RELEASED BY: Realtime Software
DEVELOPER(S): Ian Oliver, Andrew Onions and Graeme Baird
PRICE: £5.95 - UK
Odd-ball takes out a couple of enemies before meeting his doom...
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