Armor Battle was originally released in 1979 for the Intellivision
, and was developed by Chris Kingsley of APh Technological Consulting
for Mattel Electronics
. The game takes two sides, Blue and Black, and pits their massive armies of tanks against each other in two-on-two battles on small battlefields full of buildings, water, roads, and forests. Since there is no computer AI to control a vacant side, Armor Battle is strictly a two-player game, and a solo player won't find much challenge in shooting down inactive tanks.
An Atari 2600
version was released in 1982 as a part of the M Network series, and was titled Armor Ambush
In Armor Battle, each side starts the game with 50 tanks. While players could potentially keep playing until one side's tanks have been destroyed, this could take a long time, and the instruction manual instead suggests setting a personal limit outside of the game, either through a set amount of battles or time.
When a round of battle begins, a random map out of over 240 configurations is chosen, and two tanks from the Blue and Black forces are placed on each side of the map. Players take control of one tank at a time, and attempt to destroy both of the enemy's tanks. The active tank can be switched at any time, with the inactive tank changing to a flat, right-facing sprite. Tanks
move sluggishly, though their speed is determined by the surface they are driving on. Roads provide the fastest movement speed, while forests and water significantly slow tanks down.
Tanks can fire shots that travel up to half the screen, jarring the firing tank and any enemy targets it hits. Buildings can be used as cover from shells, and forests will provide a chance to absorb shells. It takes three shells to destroy a tank, leaving a pile of rubble where once a functioning war machine existed.
Once per round, players can opt to plant an invisible land mine at the current position of the active tank. After five seconds, this mine becomes active, and any tank that drives over its location will instantly explode into rubble. This includes the tank that planted the mine, should they be foolish enough to remain in place for five seconds or drive back over the mine's location.
A round ends once both tanks for a side have been destroyed. The winning side carries their surviving tanks into future rounds of battle, so it is always in the interest of players to try and destroy at least one enemy tank in each round, to limit their opponent to a one-tank advantage in the event of a loss.