I always like it when a game can surprise me with a clever story or a unique fashion in which it is played. There have been quite a few examples of this in the past, such as EVO: The Search for Eden on the Super NES with its great story and fascinating gameplay. There was also Blast Corps on the Nintendo 64 which had one of the most interesting stories and game mechanics I've seen in a while. Tanktics tries to etch itself into this category of strange but inspiring games. While it may not have the full belt of tools to put itself into the record books, it certainly does have a unique story and approach for which it deserves credit.
The game is played in a 21D, strategy format that is reminiscent of WarCraft or Total Annihilation in both style and color scheme. The story revolves around the evil Black Tanks taking over the world with their vast power and brutal tactics. Over the centuries, their grip has become ironclad and has shown no signs of relenting. Eventually, a resistance builds up and you go back in time to stop them.
You play the game through the control of a pterodactyl, bird, helicopter or flying saucer, depending on what era you are playing. The purpose of the "eras" is that you need to progressively stop the enemy from gaining its roots. The four eras in the game are the stone age, medieval times, modern day and the future. Each era contains six different missions for you to complete before you can advance to the next one. Training and time trial modes also await you so the game doesn't seem foreign or difficult. Although, thanks to difficulty setting and an easy interface, having a hard time navigating or playing the game shouldn't be an issue.
As stated earlier, the game takes place in a style and view similar to WarCraft. This isn't a big problem, though, and was probably the designer's best option in handling the game. It might also have worked in a 3D, action style but it worked this way all the same. You control the "navigator" by pointing and clicking on certain objects like you do in the WarCraft games. All the basic functions are there, including attack, movement, actions and commands.
An interesting feature in the game involves a giant, magnet-crane that your "navigator" carries. Since you are building tanks, you need to assemble them quickly and efficiently. You must use this magnet-crane to put together your tanks -- the tracks, middle, weapon and radar-top. Because changing features of a tank can take away experience points or ranks earned in its current state, ramifications must be considered before making wholesale changes. This feature is unique and I admired the ideas and wacky choices made by the developers in order for this game to have its own style.
I will, however, put down the game on a few areas. It is lacking a multi-player mode that could have added to the replay value even though it is already bursting with it. I just feel that strategy titles, like this one, should have that feature. Another aspect that is only average is the sound. Voice acting isn't noticeably in the game nor is a solid soundtrack; the tunes you hear are neither catchy nor inspired. Sound effects are just a passable effort as well, with nothing spectacular. It's just a "ho-hum" grade for the audio department.
When you consider the game as a whole, though, you do see it shining with many qualities but with faults pertaining to several issues. It has quite a bit of value, even without the multi-player mode, so you will be playing and playing until you get to the future era and make it to the end. It also has the merit of being extremely original and unique in its own way. I definitely enjoyed the approach the game took in handling gameplay issues and the story. Even with its few faults, including average sound and graphics and the fact that the designers seem to have a fetish with killing and maiming sheep, the game is brilliantly original and worth a look.
Graphics: Simplistic, 2 1/2 dimensional look to the game. Common for strategy games of this era but it still serves its purpose.
Sound: Not much voice acting, simplistic sound effects and the music isn't very catchy or appropriate. Only average in this category.
Enjoyment: One of the most unique stories and innovative gameplay mechanics in a title that I have ever seen. The idea somewhat grew on me after a while.
Replay Value: Eight time trial and training missions, plus a total of 24 campaign missions is great! Could've used a multi-player mode, though.
People who downloaded Tanktics have also downloaded:
Sudden Strike, Sudden Strike: Resource War, TacOps, Sudden Strike 2, Tegel's Mercenaries, Two Thrones, Three Kingdoms: Fate of the Dragon, Syndicate
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