Battle City is a top-down single-screen vehicular combat game that's functionally similar to Atari's Combat. It is the sequel to Namco's earlier tank combat game, Tank Battalion, and would be followed by 1991's Tank Force. It became one of Namco's earliest original Famicom (NES) games, and was later adapted for the Game Boy and for the Arcade as one of the "Vs." series.
Battle City takes place from a top-down view and both the AI and player must navigate through the environment to destroy their targets. The game offers semi-destructible environments - the brick walls that make up most of the levels can be destroyed completely allowing the player's tank to cut a path to its target. Other non-destructible obstacles such as water (cannot be crossed) and foliage (hiding both the player's and enemy tanks from view) make up the rest of the environment.
This game can be played 2-player, cooperatively.
Enemies come in waves, and can range from enemy tanks that can be destroyed in one shot to armored behemoths that take more than several shots to destroy. The game has no boss battles.
The player can completes a level by destroying all 20 enemy tanks on the level or loses the level if they run out of lives, or if an eagle statue (i.e. the base) at the bottom of the map is destroyed by the enemy.
To help defeat the enemy, several temporary power-ups can be picked up after destroying foes. These include invincibility for the player's tank, invincibility for their statue or extra lives.
The game also offers a level creator. However, any levels created cannot be saved.