Longbow Digital Arts, the developer and publisher of Tread Marks, describes the game as the "Ultimate Tank Fantasy," combining 3D accelerated off-road racing, tactical deathmatching, classic style and futuristic main battle tanks, and tons of deadly weaponry. They stress the fact that Tread Marks is not a tank simulation, and while some elements of the game world are realistic, they decided to put the focus on "fun" and ease of gameplay.
There are two main game modes in Tread Marks, Race and Battle Match (Deathmatch). In Race mode, tanks race through checkpoints around an off-road race course, picking up weapons and power-ups, with the object of the game being to place first in the race. Tanks can't be destroyed in a Race, but they can have their turrets blown off. If that happens they won't be able to use any weapons until their turret comes back, which occurs once the tank's health reaches 100%. In Battle Match, tanks can be destroyed, and the object is free-for-all carnage. Tanks spawn in random locations on the map, and can drive anywhere to pick up weapons and waste opponents.
The primary single-player game experience is the Ladder Race mode, where you compete in a ladder-style ranking system against 99 computer driven opponents of varying skill levels. The better you do in each race, the higher your Rank becomes (First Rank is the highest rank you can get to), and the worse you do, the lower your Rank. The intent is that if you aren't quite good enough to get to First Rank, you will naturally settle into a Rank that is appropriate for your particular skill level, which will provide an optimal level of challenge in each race. So don't be discouraged if you can't climb to the top of the ladder, the idea is to have fun!
Tread Marks also has its fair share of weaponry and power-ups. Drive under floating power-ups and weapons to pick them up. Bolt-On Weapons will attach to one of three locations: the top of your turret, the left side of your hull, or the rear of your hull. Weapons attached to your turret can be aimed by rotating your turret, but weapons attached to your hull must be aimed by steering your tank toward the target. You can only carry one Bolt-On Weapon at a time, and you can't fire your main gun if you have a Bolt-On.
Power-ups include the Ammo Box (adds six extra Pea Shooter rounds, you can hold a max of 16), Wrenches (repairs a portion of your tank's health when damages), and Super Ammo (looks like a shiny ammo box -- it gives you an extra load of bolt-on weapon ammo).
Weapons that can be added to your turret and hull include Swarmer Pack (deadly at close range), MRL Launcher (large, fast firing, medium-range artillery missiles), Concussion Missile, Dirt Ball, Machine Gun, Plasma Gun, Rocket Grenades, Laser, Avenger (an extremely powerful hull mounted rotary auto-cannon), Plasma Mines, Cruise Missiles, Heavy Flamer, Mass Driver, and more. You can also call in support weapons such as Air Attack and Le Bomb Nuclear.
The Full Version of Tread Marks includes 52 unique maps (104 with Mirroring), 20 turbo-charged racing tanks, 23 explosive weapons and power-ups, and unlimited user customization (you can create and download new tanks, weapons, and maps to add to the full game).
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