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Overview

Battlezone's main menu doubles as an homage.

Developed and published by Activision, and released in early 1998 for the PC, Battlezone is a traditional real-time strategy game which is controlled from a first-person perspective rather than the isometric viewpoint more common to games of its type. The player performs all of the normal imperatives of the RTS genre from this vantage point, including base and unit construction, resource gathering, and attacking fortified enemy positions, but in addition to these actions, the player is able to partake in battles personally using controls similar to those of twitch-based first-person shooters. The game shares some thematic consistency with the 1980 arcade game with which it shares its name, as evidenced by its use of the first-person, heavy emphasis on tank combat, and its green wireframe minimap, although aside from these similarities, it does not resemble its forebear overmuch.

Battlezone was well-received critically upon its release, and made enough of an impact to spur the development of several more titles in the franchise. Two official expansion packs to the main game were released by Macmillan Publishing in 1998: Battlegrounds, which added a plethora of new scenarios from various authors, albeit with no overarching story or additions to the core mechanics, and The Red Odyssey, developed by Team Evolve, which introduced a third faction, the Chinese, and a new story-driven campaign. Late in 1999, developer Pandemic Studios released a full sequel to Battlezone entitled Battlezone II: Combat Commander, although reception to it was decidedly mixed when compared to that of the original game. Finally, Battlezone was ported to the Nintendo 64 in 2000 under the guise of Battlezone: Rise of the Black Dogs, which featured a significant amount of additional content.

Plot

Setting

The events of Battlezone are staged as a fictionalized retelling of the mid-20th century Space Race between the United States and Soviet Russia, which the game reveals was only the public's perception of a very real war between the two superpowers. The impetus for this conflict was a meteor shower that occurred in 1952, a seemingly innocuous event whose significance the world at large would fail to ascertain. Without drawing undue attention, both American and Russian scientists are able to recover small amounts of an unknown material from the Bering Strait that fell during the meteor shower. Through years of dedicated research, this substance, which would be dubbed "Bio-Metal 11," was found to have astounding properties which led to the design of military vehicles far beyond what was previously thought possible, while its unique nature also puts space travel within reach. Fearing the implications were their foes to gain control of such a resource, both the Russians and Americans dedicate themselves to keeping Bio-Metal 11 out of the hands of their enemy.

With only limited quantities of bio-metal available from the initial shower, it is deemed prudent to use it to pursue additional deposits of bio-metal. Researchers discover that the initial samples which fell to Earth were propelled there by some unknown cataclysmic event, possibly a planetary-scale explosion, and furthermore that the likelihood of this event having left deposits of bio-metal on other celestial bodies is high. With this information, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration is commissioned by President Eisenhower, although this is only the public façade which hides the activities of another more secretive government program: the National Space Defense Force, or NSDF. The NSDF's first and most important priority is to find and secure any extraterrestrial deposits of bio-metal before the Soviets can, and it is with this objective in mind that the NSDF covertly relocates an entire army to the surface of the moon under the pretense of man's first landing on the moon.

NSDF Campaign

The view of Earth from Outpost 3...

As the game begins, the player character assumes command of a small bio-metal salvaging operation on the moon, where they are asked to investigate "strange radar signatures" on the planet's surface. Before long, it becomes clear that these unknown readings are signs of Soviet activity; unbeknownst to the U.S., the Cosmic Colonist Army, or CCA, Russia's equivalent to America's NSDF, has already established a significant presence on the moon, and begins to attack the NSDF's holdings there. The player is successfully able to fend off an attack against Outpost 3, but shortly thereafter is recalled to the Americans' main base at Eagle's Nest 1, where the Soviets are concentrating most of their efforts. Despite the arrival of reinforcements, the NSDF is routed decisively, forcing the remainder of their army to flee the moon entirely, leaving it in the hands of the CCA. While the Americans ponder how the U.S.S.R. had been able to build such a strong presence without drawing attention to themselves, they next set their sights on Mars.

After touchdown on Mars, the NSDF is dismayed to find that the Russians have already entrenched themselves there. Choosing to contest the CCA's control of the Red Planet rather than retreat again, the NSDF soon finds that the planet holds mysterious alien relics in addition to the expected deposits of bio-metal. Through these artifacts they discover a disused factory, prompting the realization that bio-metal was created by a long-dead alien race known as the Cthonians. The NSDF furthermore divines from the relics that the Cthonians had intimate ties with the civilization of ancient Greece, and that much of Greek mythology references the Cthonians. There is even evidence to suggest that the Cthonians shared some of their knowledge with the Greeks. However, the Cthonian race met an abrupt end after two warring factions within their civilization waged a conflict which destroyed them all. One of the last creations of the Cthonians referenced in the artifacts is simply referred to as "The Furies."

Later in the campaign, the NSDF and CCA are forced to cooperate.

In pursuit of the lost Fury technology of the Cthonians, the NSDF travels first to Venus and then to Io, while the CCA hounds them at every turn. With the Russians seemingly one step ahead of them at all times, it is perhaps unsurprising that the NSDF would find a Soviet spy in their midst, although this only becomes abundantly clear after the mole absconds with one of the Americans' Cthonian relics. This last artifact turns out to be the final key for the Soviets, who now possess enough knowledge to begin producing Fury technology. Desperate to gain any sort of advantage over the CCA, the NSDF infiltrates a Soviet base on Europa and taps into CCA communications, leading them to their main base on Titan. Unfortunately, the NSDF does not arrive on Titan in time to prevent production of the Furies, however the Soviets are caught completely off guard when the Fury weapons they produce turn out to be sentient machines, and begin to attack both American and Russian forces indiscriminately.

Forced to cooperate in order to ensure their own mutual survival, the NSDF and CCA fight back against the Furies on Titan, and are successful in destroying the machines' primary production facility there. It comes to light that the main source of the Furies is located on Achilles, a fictional moon of Uranus, and both the Americans and Russians travel there in order to prevent the Furies from overrunning the entire system and destroying all life. Their combined forces prove sufficient to defeat the Furies there as well and to destroy their means of production, however in doing so the moon becomes dangerously unstable, as the production plants had been drawing power directly from Achilles' core. Before leaving, the NSDF tracks down and destroys the last Fury transport vessel in order to prevent any of the Furies from surviving the blast. In the game's final cinematic, a shattered fragment of Achilles is seen hurtling toward an unknown planet, suggesting that the legacy of the Cthonians may yet live on.

CCA Campaign

The CCA scenario, which is roughly half the length of the NSDF campaign, is intended to be played after completing the American missions, as it not only assumes the player's familiarity with the game's basic concepts in a way that the NSDF campaign does not, but its story also picks up in medias res as the Soviets seek out Cthonian relics for their Fury program, making its plot more understandable if the player has completed the U.S. scenario. The primary action of the CCA campaign is focused on the Russians' ongoing conflict with an American military force known as the Black Dogs, who not only force the CCA to flee Venus, but also claim responsibility for the destruction of their main base on Io. If the player is successful in completing the campaign, the CCA earns a somewhat Pyrrhic victory as their Fury weapons decimate the Black Dogs just moments before turning on the Russians themselves.

Gameplay

Controls

Constructing a Comm Tower unlocks Sky-Eye, an isometric camera view.

Missions in Battlezone typically feature familiar real-time strategy gameplay mechanics such as base building, resource gathering, and unit production and management. The main wrinkle in this formula is introduced by way of the game's first-person perspective, which dictates how the player performs these imperatives, while also providing a more intimate means with which to interact with the game environment. The game is controlled through a combination of keyboard and mouse inputs that is not dissimilar to the WASD control scheme popularized by twitch-based first-person shooters, in which the W, A, S, and D keys are used to move forward, left, backward, and right, respectively, while the mouse is used to control the player's point of view. The left mouse button is used to fire the currently selected weapon, while the right mouse button cycles between all currently available weapons. Lastly, the player's vehicle can be made to jump short distances by holding down the E key, which comes into play during combat and a small number of platforming sequences within the campaign.

In addition to these basic movement controls, the player can also control all of their base structures and units directly from the first person. This is done primarily through a numerical hotkey system which allows important construction units such as Recyclers and Factories to be selected with a single button press, and offensive, defensive, or utility units to be selected by first striking the hotkey for their respective unit catergory followed by the hotkey for the individual unit. A unit hotkey menu is displayed in the upper left corner of the screen at all times, and by pressing and holding the shift key, the player can also navigate this menu with the mouse. Once selected, a unit can be deselected with the tab key, or the player can issue orders to the unit through a similar hotkey system. Alternately, a unit can also be selected simply by pressing the spacebar when the player's view is centered on it, and similarly a unit can be ordered to interact with an object in the environment once selected by pressing the spacebar while the player's view is centered on something it can interact with.

Gameplay

Gun Towers make short work of would-be Scavenger harassment.

As in many RTS games, a large portion of Battlezone's gameplay revolves around resource management. The primary resource of the game, and the only one which must be actively gathered, is bio-metal scrap. Scavenger units are built from the Recycler specifically to harvest scrap, which they will do automatically provided that there is adequate storage for it. All units and structures are built from scrap, so maintaining a steady supply is crucial to success. Pilots are the game's secondary resource. Unlike scrap, which must be gathered, pilots exist in a finite amount at the beginning of a scenario, and each manned vessel the player builds reduces the total number of available pilots by one. If the number reaches zero, no further manned vehicles can be built even if the play possesses sufficient scrap to do so. Pilots from destroyed craft can return to base in order to be reassigned, and it is also possible to build Barracks structures, which increase the total number of pilots at the player's disposal.

Tertiary and quaternary resources exist in the form of geysers and energy-producing structures. Recyclers, Factories, and Armories, in addition to requiring scrap, must be placed over a geyser before unit construction can commence. These geysers produce no quantifiable resource, but without them construction units are useless, so it is almost always prudent to build one's primary base around one or more geysers. Finally, some structures, notably Gun Towers and Comm Towers, require external power sources in order to function properly, which can be built by Constructors. Like geysers, these power plants do not create any finite resource. Instead, any power-reliant structure within a fixed radius of the plant will receive its benefits. Conversely, the destruction of a power plant will immediately decommission any structures drawing power from it, unless said structures happen to be within range of another plant.

Resource management may be required, but Battlezone still expects the player to fight toe-to-toe with enemy units.

In addition to resource concerns, the player is also expected to manage unit behavior and the hit points and ammunition levels of all units under their control. Certain structures such as Supply Depots and Hangars can be used to restore health and ammo while units are at base, while the Armory unit can also airdrop health modules and ammo to units in the field. If at any point the player so chooses, units can be forcibly recycled in order to regain a portion of their scrap cost, and the player can also choose to commandeer a new ship in the event that their previous one is destroyed, or if they simply wish to pilot a different craft. Manually exiting a vehicle is done with the H key, and while on foot the player is extremely vulnerable. Offensive capability while not piloting a tank is extremely limited, though in dire situations all personnel carry a limited number of sniper rounds that can be used to disable a vehicle's pilot, leaving the vehicle itself intact for the player to use.

The game's campaign encompasses a variety of mission types, and in some cases mission objectives can even change during the scenario as events unfold. Objectives can range from destroying enemy unit-producing facilities, retrieving a valuable item and returning it to base, rescuing stranded allied units before they are captured, preventing a fleeing enemy force from escaping, and even infiltrating an enemy base alone in order to take out a specified structure or gather intelligence. In most cases, though, players are required to build a solid infrastructure in order to be successful in whatever mission they are required to undertake, so the main action on many maps is precipitated by a period in which the player must find and secure a viable base location. In some situations, it may also be prudent to relocate a base later on in order to move Scavenger units closer to scrap deposits, thus allowing them to gather more efficiently.

Multiplayer

Battlezone shipped in 1998 with two multiplayer modes: Deathmatch and Strategy. In Deathmatch mode, which is denoted by the letters DM next to the name of a map, all players are allowed to pilot a single unit, while all base-building capacity is disabled. This method of play more closely resembles the gameplay of a '90s first-person shooter than that of real-time strategy game, as the winner is decided by kill count, and various health, ammo, and weapon pickups can be found scattered across the maps. In Strategy mode, which can be identified by the letter S next to the map's name, each player starts with a single unit and a Recycler, and all of the construction options available during the campaign are unlocked for use against enemy players. Regardless of mode, players are allowed to choose their starting vehicle prior to the match, and in the case of Strategy mode, Comm Towers and Barracks can also be disabled if so desired.

Units & Structures

Aside from the Recycler, all units and buildings within Battlezone can be built by the player. Mobile units are simply built by means of an associated construction unit, materializing out of it once their production cycle has ended. Constructing buildings, on the other hand, is slightly more involved, as the player must choose a position for the structure before commissioning it it. While the game features two playable factions, differences between the two are mostly cosmetic, as all structures on the U.S. side have a Soviet analogue, and vice versa. In the case of offensive units, there are some distinguishing factors which separate two units within the same category, though this is the exception rather than the rule.

Offensive Units

U.S. AppearanceSoviet AppearanceDescription
NSDF Razor
CCA Flanker

Scout / Fighter

  • Build Cost: 6 Scrap, 1 Pilot
  • Prerequisites: Recycler
The Scout tank, or the Fighter, as the Soviets know it, occupies the lowest rung on the offensive totem pole. With two linked Miniguns, it is a useful harassment unit that is particularly well-suited for strikes against undefended Scavenger units. Its speed and maneuverability are also second-to-none, allowing it to retreat quickly when necessary. The CCA version, the Flanker, has a slight edge over its American counterpart with thicker armor, though in practice the difference is somewhat negligible.
NSDF Bobcat
CCA Stoli

Light Tank

  • Build Cost: 6 Scrap, 1 Pilot
  • Prerequisites: Factory
Existing as a middle ground between the Scout and the Tank, the Light Tank is imbued with most of the speed of the former while still carrying a weapon loadout similar to the latter. The NSDF's Bobcat is fitted with a more traditional payload consisting of an AT-Stabber, Thermal Hornet, and Solar Flare, while the CCA's Stoli is somewhat more specialized, with a combination of Sand Bag Missiles and a TAG Cannon. Once again, the Soviet variant is more well-protected than its competition.
NSDF Grizzly
CCA Czar

Tank

  • Build Cost: 8 Scrap, 1 Pilot
  • Prerequisites: Factory
The bread-and-butter unit for both the NSDF and the CCA, Tanks are all-purpose offensive vehicles with plenty of strengths and no glaring weaknesses. They are reasonably quick and agile, with a fairly diverse spread of armaments. The Americans' Grizzly tank has no less than four weapons: an AT-Stabber, Minigun, MDM Mortar, and the Thumper. The Soviet Czar loses the MDM Mortar, though arguably its increased ammo capacity and armor plating more than make up for its absence.
NSDF Wolverine
CCA Tusker

Rocket Tank

  • Build Cost: 8 Scrap, 1 Pilot
  • Prerequisites: Factory
As its name implies, the Rocket Tank differs from other offensive units in its reliance on missile weapons over traditional cannons. Both types are equipped with lock-on Image Shadowers and Thermal Hornets as their primary ordnance, and both are backed up by Proximity Mine launchers. The CCA's Tusker is slightly more durable and comes with an MDM Mortar, though it sacrifices some of its ammo capacity as a result. Without cannons, Rocket Tanks are somewhat vulnerable at close range.
NSDF Thunderbolt
CCA Grendel

Bomber

  • Build Cost: 9 Scrap, 1 Pilot
  • Prerequisites: Factory
Designed for fast surgical strikes, Bomber tanks are ideally suited for attacking and destroying heavily protected targets before beating a hasty retreat. Both the NSDF's Thunderbolt and the CCA's Grendel are built with linked Rocket Bomb launchers that can make short work of most structures, though if forced into a fight they are less equipped to handle themselves. As is the case with many of its creations, the CCA is able to squeeze slightly greater protection into the Grendel, though it is more sluggish than the Thunderbolt.
NSDF Sasquatch
CCA Golem

Walker

  • Build Cost: 12 Scrap, 1 Pilot
  • Prerequisites: Factory
Walker units are essentially ambulatory death platforms, as they possess superior firepower and extremely thick hides. The Americans' Sasquatch boasts two linked AT-Stabbers as its main guns, whereas the Soviet Golem opts for a single Blast Cannon. Both are supported by fire-and-forget Pop Gun mortar launchers. While incontrovertibly strong, the Achilles' heel of the Walker unit is undoubtedly its excruciatingly slow movement rate, which severely limits its overall utility in many scenarios.
NSDF APC
CCA APC

APC

  • Build Cost: 5 Scrap, 1 Pilot
  • Prerequisites: Factory
While technically an offensive unit, the Armored Personnel Carrier, or APC, is not in possession of any traditional weaponry. Instead, it can carry up to five infantrymen at a time, and upon being ordered to attack, it will deploy them, in turn causing them to attack. While it is very well armored, it is nonetheless extremely vulnerable on its own, and should not travel without escort. In a pinch, APCs can also be used to pick up and protect pilots in the field whose vehicles have been destroyed.

Defensive Units

U.S. AppearanceSoviet AppearanceDescription
NSDF Turret
CCA Turret

Turret

  • Build Cost: 6 Scrap, 1 Pilot
  • Prerequisites: Recycler
As basic perimeter defense units, Turrets will defend any designated point specified by the player. Though their Miniguns are not the most intimidating of weapons, and their health is not exceedingly high, a well-placed Turret is still enough to duly discourage many attackers from committing to an assault. Like all units, Turrets can be repositioned as needed, though in the process of moving a Turret is incapable of firing on an enemy, and cannot regain the ability until it has attached itself to the ground once more.
NSDF Howitzer
CCA Howitzer

Howitzer

  • Build Cost: 8 Scrap, 1 Pilot
  • Prerequisites: Factory
The long-range counterpart to the Turret, Howitzers can rain artillery shells down on opponents from afar, thought they become less useful as foes draw close. For this reason, it is best not to exclusively construct Howitzers when building base defenses, but rather to have some combination of Turrets and Howitzers. They are somewhat better protected than Turrets, and when selected Howitzers can also be specifically commanded by the player to attack certain targets, further increasing their utility.
NSDF Minelayer
CCA Minelayer

Minelayer

  • Build Cost: 4 Scrap, 1 Pilot
  • Prerequisites: Factory
Existing solely to carry and deploy its massive payload of Proximity Mines, the Minelayer is without question the most preparation-heavy defensive unit that can be constructed. Once created, the player must first order the unit to travel to the area they wish to be defended, after which they must order the Minelayer to begin laying mines. The pilot will then begin to lay mines in a random patter around the designated area. Alternately, if the player wishes to have more control over the process, Minelayers can be piloted manually.

Utility Units

U.S. AppearanceSoviet AppearanceDescription
NSDF Scavenger
CCA Scavenger

Scavenger

  • Build Cost: 4 Scrap, 1 Pilot
  • Prerequisites: Recycler
As the lifeblood of any base, the Scavenger's sole purpose is to ferry deposits of bio-metal scrap to the player's base from wherever they might rest. So long as they have a receptacle that scrap can be delivered to, all Scavengers will automatically harvest from whichever scrap field is closest to them. Since they are both extremely vulnerable and entirely vital to a base's success, it is important to make considerations for Scavenger defense when building a base. If no Recycler or Scrap Silo is available, or if peak capacity has been reached, Scavengers will sit idle.
NSDF Tug
CCA Tug

Tug

  • Build Cost: 6 Scrap, 1 Pilot
  • Prerequisites: Factory
The Tug is a heavy lifter of sorts, able to carry and retrieve extremely large items that might overburden a Scavenger. Unfortunately, there are very few scenarios in which this particular skill comes into play, making them a waste of scrap a majority of the time. During the campaign, the player will be specifically notified if the nature of their objectives requires the use of a Tug, which all but nullifies any need to build one without specifically being directed to do so.

Construction Units

U.S. AppearanceSoviet AppearanceDescription
NSDF Recycler
CCA Recycler

Recycler

  • Build Cost: N/A
  • Prerequisites: N/A
If Scavengers can be described as the lifeblood of a base, then the Recycler would be its heart. All basic units (such as Scavengers, Turrets, and Scouts) are constructed from the Recycler, bio-metal scrap is stored there, and even advanced units cannot be built until a Factory has first been produced from one. Like all unit-producing structures, it must be placed over a geyser in order to function, and since it cannot be replaced, it is one of the most crucial base components to defend.
NSDF Factory
CCA Factory

Factory

  • Build Cost: 10 Scrap
  • Prerequisites: Recycler
Built through the Recycler, the Factory is an advanced unit constructor which produces most of Battlezone's late-game units. This includes almost all of the game's offensive units, including Tanks, Bombers, and Walkers, and high-end defensive units like the Howitzer and Minelayer. It can be thought of as the military equivalent of the Recycler; while the Recycler focuses mostly on utility and construction units, the Factory deals primarily in hardware that will defend the player's base or assist in attacking others.
NSDF Armory
CCA Armory

Armory

  • Build Cost: 6 Scrap
  • Prerequisites: Recycler
The third and final geyser-powered construction unit, the Armory, does not produce units like its brethren, but rather useful items for existing units. This ability takes a number of forms. Armories can airdrop health and ammo, create new weapons for allied tanks, set up navigational cameras for surveillance purposes, and even deploy the Day Wrecker artillery strike. All Armory creations can be dropped at a point of the player's choosing, though the farther that point is from the Armory, the longer it will take to get there.
NSDF Constructor
CCA Constructor

Constructor

  • Build Cost: 8 Scrap
  • Prerequisites: Recycler
The Constructor is the means through which players create buildings, and it is the only construction unit that does not require geyser power. After selecting the Constructor and selecting what structure to build, the player next must specify where it will be built. At this point, a colored square indicating the building's potential location is painted on the ground, which the player can move with the mouse into the desired position. Once an appropriate locale for the building has been found, pressing the spacebar issues the final work order.

Structures

U.S. AppearanceSoviet AppearanceDescription
NSDF Solar Array
CCA Solar Array

Power Plant

  • Build Cost: 4 Scrap
  • Prerequisites: Constructor
Building a Power Plant does not provide any tangible benefits to the player in and of itself, however they are a prerequisite for a number of other buildings. Depending on what celestial body the player is currently stationed on, these structures may be designed to harvest sunlight, wind, or electricity, though in all cases the function of the Power Plant remains the same. All power-dependent structures within range of a plant will function optimally as long as it remains intact.
NSDF Gun Tower
CCA Gun Tower

Gun Tower

  • Build Cost: 6 Scrap
  • Prerequisites: Constructor, Power Plant
With increased firepower, range, and durability, the Gun Tower is a significant step up from the standard mobile Turret. It does, however, require a Power Plant in order to function, takes up a much larger amount of space, and cannot be repositioned after being built. For these reasons, it is a much greater investment, and cannot be deployed as quickly if the player suspects an eminent attack. When properly built, though, Gun Towers can hold off even large attack waves.
NSDF Comm Tower
CCA Comm Tower

Comm Tower

  • Build Cost: 6 Scrap
  • Prerequisites: Constructor, Power Plant
Constructing a Comm Tower enables the use of the Sky-Eye Satellite view. When it is enabled (which is done by pressing the 9 key), the Sky-Eye allows the player to view the surrounding area from an isometric perspective rather than first-person. From this view, which is more akin to the traditional RTS camera perspective, the player is able to perform many of the same activities that are possible from the standard view, albeit with the benefit of a larger amount of situational awareness.
NSDF Scrap Silo
CCA Scrap Silo

Scrap Silo

  • Build Cost: 4 Scrap
  • Prerequisites: Constructor
Building a Scrap Silo serves two purposes. First and foremost, it increases the maximum amount of scrap the player can store by twenty points. In addition, it provides another drop point for Scavengers once they have fully stocked themselves with bio-metal. This last point is notable because of the fact that Scavengers always drop their scrap at the nearest receptacle. Placing a Scrap Silo close to a field of scrap can dramatically increase the rate at which bio-metal is collected.
NSDF Barracks
CCA Barracks

Barracks

  • Build Cost: 8 Scrap
  • Prerequisites: Constructor
Barracks structures are essentially domiciles for the housing of additional Army personnel, allowing the player to increase the number of soldiers at their command. The only tangible benefit this has is that the player is able to increase the number of pilots at their disposal. Since the total number of vehicles the player can command is limited primarily by the number of pilots on hand to man them, this directly augments the player's potential army size. Each Barracks boosts the pilot count by five.
NSDF Supply Depot
CCA Supply Depot

Supply Depot

  • Build Cost: 5 Scrap
  • Prerequisites: Constructor
The Supply Depot is a dedicated building for the restocking and resupplying of any armed vehicles. In order to use it, a tank need only be relatively close to it. If said tank is within the Supply Depot's radius, it will slowly begin to regain ammunition at the rate of one hundred units per second. Only one unit can be resupplied at a time, meaning that the process of restoring the ammo supply of an entire army can take some time, but unlike ammo from the Armory, the Supply Depot has no cost after its initial creation.
NSDF Hangar
CCA Hangar

Hangar

  • Build Cost: 7 Scrap
  • Prerequisites: Constructor
Just as the Supply Depot restores ammo, so too does the Hangar restore health. A damaged unit within its healing radius will slowly begin to restore itself, which is accompanied by a rhythmic chirp to indicate that it is being repaired. Like the Supply Depot, the Hangar is only capable of affecting one unit at a time, and in the case of the Hangar, the rate of restoration is even more gradual, making the process of repairing an entire group of units a somewhat lengthy one.

Weapons

All offensive units come equipped with weaponry upon creation, as well as a preset ammo capacity. It is possible, however, to manufacture weapons through the Armory which can replace or alter the default loadout for a tank. This is limited only by the unit's predetermined weapon hardpoints, so a Razor, for instance, is not able to utilize mortars or specialty weapons, as it only possesses hardpoints for cannons and rocket weaponry. Tanks utilize one type of ammunition for all weapons, and the player's weapon readout on their HUD will not only display the overall percentage of ammunition left in the piloted vehicle, but also shows a numerical display indicating the number of shots left for the currently selected weapon. This last fact is of less-than-trivial importance due to the fact that ammo efficiency varies greatly from one weapon to the next.

Cannon Weapons

Weapon ReticleDescription
MInigun

Minigun

  • Build Cost: 1 Scrap
  • Prerequisites: Armory
With a fairly low damage-per-round ratio, the Minigun is one of the less overtly powerful of Battlezone's weapons. It is a rapid-fire armament, however, causing a decent amount of sustained damage, and furthermore it uses ammunition at a more reasonable rate than most guns.
AT-Stabber

AT-Stabber

  • Build Cost: 4 Scrap
  • Prerequisites: Armory
Short for Anti-Tank Stabber, the AT-Stabber lobs low-impact artillery shells in a straight line toward its target. With each individual round causing a considerable amount of damage, it can typically finish off foes more quickly than the Minigun can, although it uses more ammo in the process.
Blast Cannon

Blast Cannon

  • Build Cost: 4 Scrap
  • Prerequisites: Armory (CCA only)
A signature of Gun Towers and the Soviet Golem, the Blast Cannon emits a laser-like beam that shreds almost anything it touches. It is quite greedy when it comes to ammo consumption, though, so firing judiciously is usually preferable for the purposes of conservation.
MAG

Magnetic Acceleration Gun

  • Build Cost: 4 Scrap (5 for CCA)
  • Prerequisites: Armory
The Magnetic Acceleration Gun, or MAG, for short, is a chargeable cannon weapon that fires magnetically accelerated projectiles. Depending on how long it is charged before release, the MAG may unleash a stream of particles, a more powerful stream, or a single devastating orb.
Flash Cannon

Flash Cannon

  • Build Cost: 5 Scrap
  • Prerequisites: Armory
The Flash Cannon is a beam weapon that shares some similarities with the Blast Cannon. It differs insofar as it fires a constant uninterrupted beam for as long as the trigger is held, and it is best when used sparingly, as even a fully equipped ammo chamber is only enough to power it for several seconds.
TAG Cannon

TAG Cannon

  • Build Cost: 2 Scrap (1 for CCA)
  • Prerequisites: Armory (under Rockets)
Also known as the Automated Target Gun, the TAG Cannon fires in two phases. Its first shot is actually a homing beacon of sorts, which serves primarily to establish a lock on the target. If successful, this is followed up by a flurry of homing missiles which lock on to the beacon.
SP-Stabber

SP-Stabber

  • Build Cost: 5 Scrap
  • Prerequisites: Armory
The SP-Stabber, or "Super Stabber," as it is often called, is a variation on the venerable AT-Stabber anti-tank weapon. It is fired in much the same way, releasing an explosive artillery shell, however the rounds used by the Super Stabber damage not only the target, but also anything else within five meters.
Rave Gun

Rave Gun

  • Build Cost: N/A
  • Prerequisites: N/A
The Rave Gun is something of a joke weapon, and for this reason it is only available during the first mission of the campaign. It fires extremely powerful orbs, and it also causes the player's view to pulsate with color (accompanied by dance club music) for as long as the trigger is held.

Mortar Weapons

Weapon ReticleDescription
Mortar

Mortar

  • Build Cost: 2 Scrap
  • Prerequisites: Armory
The standard Mortar fires a single explosive shell in an arcing trajectory. When it hits any object, whether it be a tank, building, or solid ground, it detonates, causing significant damage to anything that may happen to be within a five meter radius of the initial impact.
MDM

Manual Detonation Mortar

  • Build Cost: 1 Scrap
  • Prerequisites: Armory
The Manual Detonation Mortar, or MDM, is a variation on the standard Mortar. When fired, an MDM round will only explode if it comes into contact with an enemy. Otherwise, the player must detonate it manually. By holding down the control key, the player can fire additional rounds without detonating the last.
Splinter

The Splinter

  • Build Cost: 2 Scrap
  • Prerequisites: Armory
Another variation on the standard Mortar, the Splinter detonates normally if it is fired into an enemy craft; however, if the player were to miss, its properties change entirely. At this point the Splinter shell rises into the air, spraying a barrage of Minigun fire in all directions for a short period of time.
Pop Gun

Pop Gun

  • Build Cost: 3 Scrap
  • Prerequisites: Armory
Unlike other mortar weapons, Pop Gun rounds are fired straight up into the air upon pulling the trigger. Anything that happens afterwards is out of the player's hands, as Pop Gun rounds will from this point on use their own innate guidance systems to rain down on the nearest enemy unit.

Day Wrecker

  • Build Cost: 20 Scrap
  • Prerequisites: Armory
The Day Wrecker is the only mortar attack, indeed the only weapon at all, which is fired by a non-pilotable craft. When ordered from the Armory, the Day Wrecker strike initiates a massive artillery bombardment which dwarfs all other mortar weapons with its fifty meter swath of destruction.

Missile Weapons

Weapon ReticleDescription
Thermal Hornet

Thermal Hornet

  • Build Cost: 3 Scrap (1 for CCA)
  • Prerequisites: Armory
The Thermal Hornet's missiles lock on to the heat signature of their target, allowing them to easily seek out their victim after being fired. On impact, Hornet rounds are designed to fragment into a hail of shrapnel, causing damage to their primary target as well as other targets within five meters.
Rocket Bomb

Rocket Bomb

  • Build Cost: 3 Scrap
  • Prerequisites: Armory
Missiles delivered by the Rocket Bomb launcher do not come with the same sophisticated targeting equipment that other missile weapons do. However, the space they save on electronics is devoted to additional explosives, which gives Rocket Bomb missiles a greater punch than most.
Shadower

Image Locking Shadower Missile

  • Build Cost: 3 Scrap
  • Prerequisites: Armory
The Image Locking Shadower Missile, or Shadower, for short, is a lock-on missile weapon in much the same vein as the Hornet. The Shadower, however, locks on to its target's image rather than requiring a heat signature, which makes it better suited when fighting faster targets.
Comet Cruise Missile

Comet Cruise Missile

  • Build Cost: 3 Scrap
  • Prerequisites: Armory
While the Thermal Hornet relies on heat signatures to seek out foes, and the Shadower's tracking technology is based on visual recognition, the Comet Cruise Missile Launcher tracks targets via satellite. Simply put, Comet missiles can achieve a lock on any target within radar range.
Sand Bag Missile

Sand Bag Missile

  • Build Cost: 1 Scrap
  • Prerequisites: Armory
The Sand Bag Missile is something of a specialty missile weapon, as it is not designed for sheer damage. When struck by Sand Bag ordinance, the target will be slowed by a magnetic anchoring device delivered by the missile. This is most useful against vehicle types that rely heavily on speed.

Specialty Weapons & Countermeasures

Weapon ReticleDescription
Proximity Mine

Proximity Mine

  • Build Cost: 1 Scrap
  • Prerequisites: Armory
When fired, Proximity Mine rounds will attach themselves to the ground and activate automatically after two seconds. From this point on, any enemy vehicle that comes within seven meters of the mine will activate it, detonating its payload and ideally causing significant damage.
M-Curtain Mine

Magnetic Curtain Mine

  • Build Cost: 1 Scrap
  • Prerequisites: Armory
The Magnetic Curtain Mine, often shortened to M-Curtain, is deployed much like a Proximity Mine, but its effect is dramatically different. It creates a twenty-meter magnetic field wherever it is placed, preventing projectiles from penetrating its area of effect but allowing those within it to fire without restriction.
Solar Flare

Solar Flare

  • Build Cost: 1 Scrap
  • Prerequisites: Armory
The Solar Flare is dropped like any other mine, but instead of an explosion, it produces an intense gout of flame which lasts a short period of time. The effect it produces is somewhat similar to that of the M-Curtain Mine, though in its case the Solar Flare attracts thermal-guided missiles for the duration of its effect.
MITS

Magnetic Inverting Tethering Snare

  • Build Cost: 1 Scrap
  • Prerequisites: Armory
The Magnetic Inverting Tethering Snare, or MITS, as a heavily modified version of the M-Curtain Mine. Rather than projecting a force field, the MITS creates an intense field of attraction, causing all projectiles within two hundred meters of its resting point to be drawn toward it.
Thumper

Thumper

  • Build Cost: 1 Scrap
  • Prerequisites: Armory
A unique armament to say the least, the Thumper quite literally shakes the ground, distorting the landscape directly in front of the player and generally disorienting those on the receiving end. Oftentimes foes will be hurled into the air as a result, making them vulnerable to followup attacks.
RED-Field Generator

Radar Echo Dampening Field Generator

  • Build Cost: 1 Scrap
  • Prerequisites: Armory
The RED-Field Generator produces a passive effect that nullifies its echo signature on enemy radar detectors. Not only does this make the vehicle harder to notice outside of visual range, but it also prevents radar-dependent targeting systems such as that of the Comet Cruise Missile from achieving a lock.
SITE Camera

Sensory Image Terrain Exposing Camera

  • Build Cost: 1 Scrap
  • Prerequisites: Armory
Activation of the SITE Camera exposes additional information about the surrounding area to the player. When in use, the player's view becomes a wireframe interpretation of their immediate surroundings, which is mostly notable for allowing the pilot to see through solid terrain objects.
Phantom VIR

Phantom VIR

  • Build Cost: 1 Scrap
  • Prerequisites: Armory
The Phantom VIR is another passive system that cloaks the player's visual presence. This can be quite useful, especially in bypassing static defense, though it should be noted that the player cannot fire while invisible, and that furthermore the player's radar signature can still be detected.

Reception

Battlezone was extremely well-received at the time of its release, and frequently was awarded scores at or above the ninetieth percentile. These reviews were oftentimes accompanied by additional accolades such as Editor's Choice awards from the likes of GameSpot and PC Gamer. GameSpot would also nominate the game for their 1998 Strategy Game of the Year, while PC Gamer nominated it for multiple categories in its end-of-year awards, including Game of the Year, Best Action Game, and Best Real-Time Strategy Game. Positive review comments often commended the game for seamlessly melding first-person action with real-time strategy mechanics while keeping the controls system simple enough to be grasped quickly by a wide variety of players. Negative reactions, which were often qualified in reviews by the game's overall strengths, typically centered around Battlezone's somewhat lackluster unit A.I., as well as difficulties in remapping keys. Despite nearly universal acceptance among critics, though, Battlezone did not sell particularly well at retail.

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