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njs
21-11-09, 02:42
As per SoCal's request, here is my BZ strategy guide. I'm going to try and keep this as short as possible, which means it's still going to run pretty long. Battlezone is what we would call, in board game parlance, a game of mistakes. This is a polite way of saying that if you die, it's because you screwed up. The game, with one noteworthy exception, does not cheat. These types of video games died off fairly early on because people could play far too long on a single quarter.

Starting with the basics, the map is a rather small extended universe, with a decorative horizon, which is why you can never get to the volcano. The field, in theory, can be mapped. I have a friend, Al Warner, who I believe told me he could actually draw a map of it. Being dyslexic (cartography is not a good career path for me) I can't do that. I do, however, have a rough idea in my head of "good" and "bad" areas of the map. One of the especially bad areas is the region around the two tall obstacles that are next to one another. The best area is the open region with one short obstacle in it. If you can memorize the map, I would highly recommend doing it as it will probably make playing the game a lot easier for you.

Units come in five varieties: saucers, basic tank mark 1, basic tank mark 2, supertanks and missles. While the game doesn't cheat, that doesn't mean it doesn't play dirty. Saucers exist to get you killed. Saucers will either try to drag you into a bad map area (like right in front of an obstacle so that if missle drops on you, you can't back up) or get you lined up with the gunsite of the current enemy tank. They should best be avoided until you get comfortable with the other units.

The basic tanks have two different AIs to them which is what I refer to as the mark 1 and mark 2 basics. The mark 1s are what you get out the gate. They aren't terribly good and they can't hit you if you drive in a straight line (or, basically move at all). The mark 2s are a little more manuverable but, if I rmember coreectly, they still can'thit you if you go in a straight line. I honestly don't remember because I tend to blow through the basics pretty quickly.

The supertanks show up after a missle wave somewhere around the 30,000 to 60,000 mark. These guys are very good. They can hit you running a straight line or if you take too much time moving around an obstacle. They also try to ram you and hold you (the mark 2 basics try this as well but, don't have the speed to be a real threat). Overall tank strategy for me is basically play by radar. I will only look at the main screen to avoid obstacles and line up for the kill. I have a whole method of driving that I could explain but, this article is already too long. The reader's digest is that you never have both tread controls going in the same direction at the same time.

The missles are the toughest part of the game to deal with. My best advice here is practice, practice, practice. I'm one of those players who can fire a shot off as soon as I hear the buzz and tag the missle on touchdown. It basically involves pulling slightly to the left of the shadow and firing at the right time. While I'm pretty good at this, I would bet my hit ratio here is only slightly over 50%. I also stop doing this around the 200,000 level as it gets tough to get two shots off at that point. The first three (or four, depending upon when they start) missles all default to a straight in pattern so, they are pretty easy marks. After that, the missles seem to follow three possible patterns. Also, unlike the early missles, the later missles don't have perfect accuracy. I have sat stationary and had missles completely miss me on the first pass. Learning the three patterns gets back to the practice statement I made earlier. The hardest pattern to recognize is the one where the missle will miss you completely as you can still drive your tank in such a way as to get hit. The other two patterns are basically a matter of how and when you shoot. The most common pattern involves me backing away on my left tread and firing as this will pull the missle into your shot. The other pattern involves shooting the missle broadside and, it's pretty much a matter of just learning the pattern and timing of the shot.

Well, that's about it for now as this post is already pretty huge. If you have any further questions Mike please feel free to ask.


Nick

RetroPom
21-11-09, 10:54
I was only having a blast on Batlezone on MAME the other day.

Thanks for the tips - I shall try them out - Think the highest I've ever got was around 60K - and that was pretty much a fluke I'm sure :)

miner2049er
21-11-09, 11:38
I had no idea your placement on the map mad such a difference.

Like I mentioned in the show, I usually spin on the spot and get blown to hell.

RetroPom
27-11-09, 09:27
I had no idea your placement on the map mad such a difference.

Like I mentioned in the show, I usually spin on the spot and get blown to hell.

I'm with you there Mike. Map-wise I always sort of imagined it'd be randomly generated as that would be less memory intensive back in the day.

I've revisited with some of your tips Nix......but I REALLY think I need to practice. I'm using MAME with a Saitek game pad that has dual-analogue thumbsticks like a PS2 - Having a bit of difficulty lining up for precise kills, so think I may need to tweak the sensitivity. I would love to be able to crack 100K - 200 would be AWESOME :)

Note to The Team - a feature on how to beat certain games - like maybe the classics would be cool for the podcast - you could maybe interview experts like Nix - If he'd not be too wary of appearing with you drunkards ;)

PS. I just saw the Thanksgiving show (No. 11)......What are you doing to me???? I'm only an hour into Show 10!!!.....Cheers for the bonus......though I hope you'll have an Xmas show :D

miner2049er
27-11-09, 10:12
We WILL have a Christmas show.

http://pics.jamesonline.net/images/rgrup/iraqiminister.jpg

njs
28-11-09, 12:13
Before you insult a man, walk a mile in his shoes. That way, when you insult him, you'll be a mile away, and have his shoes.

This is one of my all time favorite quotes.


Nick