BattleZone is an awesome arcade video game made by Atari in its heyday.

Battlezone uses a vector-graphic based display. It uses real 3-D math, and perspective imaging to give you a "realistic" view of a first-person-shooter as a tank.

The Environment

There is a background of mountains, a cratered moon, and a volcano.

On the playing field itself are a number of objects, cubes and tetrahedrons. This provide objstacles to run into, but also keep salvos from penetrating.

There are 3 kinds of shooting opponents in BattleZone, and also one opponent who is a distractor. The 3 opponents are Tanks, Super Tanks. and Cruise Missiles. The non-shooting opponent is the Saucer In non-arcade versions you can also find the elusive Helicopter, which shoots and is difficult to target.

The Tanks try to shoot you. The Super Tanks are faster than the ordinary Tanks, wedge shaped, and also try to shoot you -- usually with more success. The Cruise Missiles come after you and chase you down. Unlike the tanks projectiles, the cruise missiles will jump over intervening obstacles or steer around them. The cruise missiles also will try to evade your shots, they are difficult opponents.

The Saucers drive around. The often fly between you and opponent, destroying themselves but keeping an enemy shooter alive. Also, since they are worth a lot of points, they try to distract you ... and lead you into the guns of a shooting opponent.

Helicopters fly along, descend to hover and launch a projectile, then quickly climb away, then do it again. You can't shoot them while they are flying, and their touchdown to launch the weapon is brief.


The old standby of driving backwards in a half turn or so works amazingly well. Just keep moving, lead and shoot targets. If the random scenery generator and tank placement doesn't become too bad, you can get quite a few points with just using the firing key.

The real backward driving technique is to drive backwards past an opponent at close range, and then turn to bring your weapon to bear. This works because they aren't leading you and you zoom past. This fails when you run into somehting; if you do move quickly!

The 45 technique mentioned in Beating Battlezone works very similar to the driving backwards technique. The difference is two fold

  1. You have more control because you see where you are going.
  2. If you time the manuever wrong you will die.
What timing? Well, after they are behind you then need to reverse and turn to bring the weapon to bear. If your range or timing is poor, you die. However, you can control what you run into!

With real Battlezone it is fun to use the obstacles to help keep you alive. However, with multiple shooting opponents on the board, that technique doesn't work well; you are exposed to the other opponent. You are dead meat if you don't keep on moving quickly. Obstacles are also great for reversing direction behind -- when you stop to reverse the lack of lead puts you in the enemy sights. However, the obstacles takes the salvo instead of you!

Saucers are targets of opportunity. Don't let them distract you, and keep your eye on the radar for tanks. Otherwise, you may surprised when you die. Occasionally a saucer takes a hit you intended for a tank. Usually it isn't a problem; however If it comes in close, you may die. That is because you needed to kill the other tank before it fired to kill you, and that is no longer the case.

Cruise Missiles I used to hate these things and still do; they usually cause me to die. The best solution seems to be driving towards them so that if the attack you from the side, their zig goes past the end of your tank and you live. The straight-in ones are easy to get, drive backwards if you need more aiming time. If you are close to obstacles when the missiles come, you may die. That is because they detour over or around obstacles, and change their approach faster than you can correct for. If there are zig-zag paths, trying getting them close in one one of the L to R or R to L passes, they are predictable then. If you miss and are using the drive forward strategy, there is a good chance you will live.

Helicopters are the spawn of the devil himself. Which is similar to how they act in real life! They sweep down upon the battle field. Release a munition which comes straight at you, and then climb back up where you can't shoot them. Evading the straight-line missile is easy, but trying to kill the helicopter isn't. The best technique I have found is to turn just enough to evade the first projectile. THen, quickly turn back towards the helicopter and launch before it descends. If your distance and timing is correct, the helicopter will be destroyed before it launches its projectile. If you don't time it right you will die, because putting yourself in a place to kill the helicopter puts you in a perfect place to be killed by its projectile -- without any time to clear its path.

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Last Modified: Sat Feb 23 19:12:23 CST 2008
Bolo (Josef Burger) <>