Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Game 26: 3D Combat Zone

Name:3D Combat Zone
Publisher:Artic Computing
Developer:Jon Ritman
Genre:Vehicle Simulation
Time:Under an hour

I'm unfamiliar with the ZX Spectrum for the most part. It wasn't released in the US. According to Wikipedia there was something that could be called very much like the ZX Spectrum, but is not the ZX Spectrum. You'll see the odd Brit talking about how the ZX Spectrum had some awesome titles. Because you can't hear my thick Mid-Western American accent, let me point out that I pronounce it the Zee Ecks Spectrum. Zee Ecks. Now that all the Brits have suffered a brain aneurysm, let's talk about...oh, I should have made that joke for the ZX81*. Anyway, 3D Combat Zone. Its Battlezone for the Zee Ecks Spectrum. Kind of.
You see, I couldn't find any way to actually move. I hit just about every key that could possibly do something, but nothing happened. I could turn, via the up and down arrows. Might be something to do with the ZX keyboard. Really slowly I might add. When you shoot, with the space bar, you have a really long reload time. That puts controls in nothing, slow, slow. That's quality I expect from my action games.

Now, the player fights against a single enemy at a time, might be more later, I dunno. The enemy tank ducks and weaves out of your shot accuracy. He's actually smart. Of course, that means he's impossible to hit. Even if he's pointed right at you, you shoot at him, he moves to the left or right. Which is less smart and more straight-up cheating. I don't like it when the game cheats against me and I'm not even smart enough to figure out how to move.

The game fires like a realistic simulation that the rest of the game doesn't really live up to. 0/10

I saw a single tank. A single cheating tank. 0/10

Don't exist. 0/10

Its worse than Battlezone. I guess there's trees or something. 0/10

Player Agency:
Unless someone goes back and tells me that there's a key I missed, there's nothing here. Turning and shooting isn't really my idea of a good shooting time. Even if I missed something, why are the keys for turning and moving front and back so far apart? 0/10

There's none. 0/10

Does crap knock-off have a distinct atmosphere? I think this might have it. 0/10

Its okay. I've seen quite a few ZX games and they all had a distinct look to them. This didn't necessarily have the bad limitations of that system. Not good, but just about average for the time for wireframe. 1/10

Something about a century long war and you're the only one left on one side. Nothing beyond a backstory. 0/10

Bloops and bleebs. Not good ones. 0/10

Now, if you examine this closely, you can tell there are a lot of 0s there. You can only add 0 together so many times before it gets boring. The only thing that isn't a 0 is a single 1. 1. 3D Defender had 3. Nevermind the Japanese, apparently the English can't make a good shooter. I kid, of course, but so far the ones I've had the worst experiences with have all been from England. The Hunt for Red October, 3D Defender and the bad Submarine Commander. That's just 4 games I didn't like at all. America is certainly going to keep pace with its friends across the pond eventually, but man.

*From a purely linguistic reason, I think that while the Spectrum sounds better with British pronunciation, the ZX81 sounds better with the American. Of course, either way the ZX81 sounds a bit lame in 2020.

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