Tanktics isn’t without its strong points. The backstory introduces us to the vile tanks that have ruled over the nice tanks for thousands of years. With the discovery of time travel the good tanks have a chance to defeat the evil black tanks before their power takes hold. As the player you lead a battle through the ages to eradicate the influences of the dastardly black tanks.
You build an army from your base, a structure called the Part-o-Matic. The Part-o-Matic basically spits out a variety of tank components as resources are fed into it. The tank components are broken up into three primary categories: wheel, engine, and weapon blocks. Each of these blocks has an array of sub-components and each offers a different benefit or effect on play (for instance, various wheel blocks allow access to different types of terrain). When building tanks you can even stack multiple types of engine and weapon blocks on the same tank (with a few restrictions).
The goal is to destroy enemy tanks, receivers (which beam in an endless supply of black tanks), and capture any transmitters present. To accomplish this you navigate your crane (the flying bird that doubles as your mouse) around the map, assigning orders to tanks or picking up/moving objects. In theory, this allows for an intriguing amount of interaction. Sadly, despite a promising premise, things take a wrong turn during actual play.
For starters, when starting a new level you often end up frantically scrolling around the map, scavenging sheep, rocks and spare tank parts before they are blown away by enemy fire. Another priority in the beginning of a mission is to set up a defensive buffer around the Part-o-Matic by blocking choke points on the map with boulders. Throughout the campaign this repetitive routine becomes annoying; each level is a clockwork-like race against time before the first wave of enemy tanks attack.
This complaint is compounded by an archaic control scheme. During play, the screen is always centered on the crane. By default the mouse is set to limited scrolling (a slide in a direction ends when you stop moving the mouse), so scrolling either becomes a series of desperate mouse thrusts or resorting to keyboard commands. The game does support a mouse “auto scroll” option, but this becomes an even bigger nightmare when trying to finesse the crane to select a target, especially a moving one. The game also has joystick support, but I have yet to test this.
The interface sports a mini-map, but strangely enough it cannot be used to travel instantly across distances. This means to get anywhere, even remote parts of the map, you are required to use the time-consuming and awkwardly implemented scrolling feature. This definitely makes the starting moments of a level the most annoying aspect of this game. Selecting tanks also grates, as there is no lasso unit(s) function. If the tank you want to select is moving you risk sending the previously selected tank awry if you miss click. Even with a grouping command, selecting multiple units becomes a time consuming affair, as each tank must be clicked while holding down the Shift key.
The game lacks any type of multiplayer ability. Also missing are skirmish scenarios, or even the ability to play different time periods outside of the campaign. This restricts your ability to explore the full depth of the game unless you want to suffer through the lengthy campaign.
System Requirements: Pentium 90 MHz, 32 MB RAM, Win98
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