Monday 4 July 2016

Challenger Tank (Supervision review)

Developer: Watara
Publisher: Watara
Released: 1992

Challenger Tank is a top-down action game that's reminiscent of Jackal (1988, NES).

It consists of five stages and your mission is to protect Earth from the evil Star Men who are trying to take control. The A button rotates your turret for directional attacks while the B button fires in the direction you're facing. Power-ups are also available and similar to TwinBee (1985, Arcades) the one you gain depends on how many times you shoot the icon; these additional weapons include rear defensive fire and multi-diagonal blasts. However, if you take any damage your weapon resets back to the default single shot. Your health bar is located in the top right and you have three lives per stage and unlimited continues. Unfortunately the scrolling is slow and the action almost non-existent. The level design is obnoxiously dull with little variety or intruige; power-ups always appear in the middle of the screen and you can pretty much guess what's ahead at every point. The controls are atrocious as sometimes your inputs are ignored, leaving you wide open to taking damage. Likewise, manipulating the turret is cumbersome and imprecise, as swinging it round in the heat of the moment is impossible as it either moves too fast or too slow. Weirdly, enemy bullets disappear into thin air once you've destroyed their tanks, and sometimes their vehicle sprites glitch and corrupt at the top of the screen! Power-up icons also have a tendency to vanish before you've even had chance to collect them! The bosses are excruciatingly tough due to them firing multiple bullets that move much faster than your tank. It's demoralising trying to avoid them (mainly due to the severe LCD ghosting) and to make matters worse you'll often take damage from invisible bullets! The music is okay but every time you fire your weapon it interferes with the track.
Challenger Tank is almost unplayable due to its severe control issues, unbalanced difficulty and general lack of polish. To top it off, the gameplay and level design are utterly appalling and my advice is to stay well clear of this game and try Jackal (1988, NES) instead.
Random trivia: In 1992, the game was also released on a 4-in-1 cartridge along with Brain Power, Hash Block, and Jacky Lucky.

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