I tried really hard to love Shellshock but I simply can't. I can like it, I can enjoy playing it, I can even recommend it as a simple, no-brainer arcade romp but I just can't bring myself to think it's as good as I want it to be.
It's a shame, really. The basic premise is just arcade-game/action-movie goofy enough that I'm willing to go along with it for the duration of play. The tank itself is nothing more than the old Battlezone arcade stand-up transferred to your computer. It's hardly realistic in that your tank can take tons of damage before being smoked while most of your enemies can only take one hit. But, hey, I'm willing to suspend my disbelief for these things. I'm willing to accept a hip-hop soundtrack combined with tanks crunching over dead tree branches. I can accept a group of guys owning a tank, an A-10 and a Chinook helicopter working out of an abandoned prison in New York. What I can't accept is a lot of the problems found in Shellshock.
For starters, you are guided in-game by your communications officer, Earshot. He's supposed to tell you the best way to reach your next objective or target but he seems to be looking at different maps than the one on which you are driving. He will only tell you the direction to your target as the crow flies, regardless of intervening obstacles such as rivers! Listening to a constant litany of "Go left, Jack! Go left!" gets to be tiresome by the third mission.
Another problem is the graphics. If you aren't going to give me great depth of gameplay, you'd better knock me over with eye and ear candy. The graphics in Shellshock are passable. They're quite good when you get up close to an enemy but from a distance, the enemy tanks look straight out of the Atari 2600 days. Sharper graphics would make this a much more enjoyable experience.
As it stands, I don't have a problem recommending Shellshock as nothing more than a straight arcade romp. It's a fluff game but it's fun fluff. Just realize that it goes no deeper than ankle depth and you can have a pretty good time with it.
Graphics: Things look pretty good up close but, at a distance, they are blocky and pixellated.
Sound: I've never been a fan of hip-hop but the music is actually really good. In-game sounds are decent but not noteworthy. The big problem comes from the constant and always annoying comments from Earshot who apparently believes that your tank should be able to travel over any terrain, including water.
Enjoyment: More fun than it should be. It's really just Battlezone with funky beats but Battlezone was a lot of fun, too.
Replay Value: No reason to go back, really.
Da Wardenz, an anti-terrorist tank force, is called in whenever there is trouble somewhere in the world. You are a rookie hired by the tank force and must prove yourself in 25 increasingly difficult missions.
'The Pen' is Da Wardenz' headquarters. It has all sorts of locations including the main hangar, basketball court, simulation room, workshop area, briefing room and various lockers (used for loading and saving missions). Before a mission, you can explore the headquarters and interact with each member of the team; you may learn something.
When you start a mission, the action is viewed from a first-person perspective. It has you controlling the M-13 Predator, a highly sophisticated and upgradable tank. The game is arcade-oriented and has much more in common with 'Quarantine' and 'Doom' than serious counterparts like 'M1 Tank Platoon'. Your tank has unlimited bullets, can sustain heavy damage and can destroy enemies but also trees and buildings.
When a mission is successfully completed you earn cash which you can spend on repairing your tank and extra upgrades.
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