First Impressions: G.G Series: D-Tank
Posted by Sean Aaron
Tank-tastic arcade fun!
Tanks feature in some of the earliest arcade games, from vector graphics classics like Battle Zone and Armor Attack to "newer" sprite-based games like Vindicators and Tank Force. As with the latter D-Tank sees players controlling a tank and trying to defend a base from attack by incoming waves of enemy tanks: a fairly simple premise, but as with other G.G. Series titles, developer Suzak has added some nice details that make for a compelling budget release.
D-Tank is a pretty substantial entry in the G.G. Series, which is normally known for a simple bit of arcade fun. Your tank is moved about with the D--PAD whilst your turret is rotated using the shoulder buttons, freeing the face buttons for firing your main gun and dropping bombs. Each stage is a closed area with different doors that get blown open at the start from which enemy tanks will emerge in groups of three. They initially roll out slowly and can be taken out with a single shot when sufficiently bunched up, but quickly spread out and pick-up speed as they make a bee-line directly to your base, which resembles a R.A.D.A.R. installation complete with rotating dish.
Various weapon types can be picked up by rolling over a matching icon: a 3-way "shotgun," long-ranged and rapid-firing "railgun," a 3-round machine gun and finally a powerful cannon shot. Each of these has a limited amount of ammo, indicated by a counter next to your tank. These weapons will make short work of normal tanks, but as you progress through the stages you'll also see some larger vehicles make an appearance which are best taken out with the bombs. You can drop these in the path of the larger enemies like mines and watch them explode when they run into them or drop them on their route like claymores and remote trigger them with the Y button if you want to avoid their big guns.
Every half-dozen stages or so you'll take the fight to the enemy and invade their base to take out a giant cannon surrounded by smaller gun emplacements and walled-in with sandbags. It certainly keeps the game fresh between tank waves and features the added jeopardy of a time limit for extra challenge.
Over time you'll find the play area grows a bit larger and you'll need to destroy more and more enemies to clear each stage. Tanks are eventually joined by floating saucers which bob around and evade your shots and the number of large enemy vehicles increases until they eventually surround and destroy your base, thus ending the game. You never run out of tanks, rather you'll have 1000 points deducted from the stage score for every tank you lose (plus a graphic of your female commander asking what your "major malfunction" is when they get destroyed). If your base does get destroyed you can continue your game, but your score will reset to zero so it's really best to simply vow to do better next time.
If you need further challenge you'll find two additional, more difficult missions to choose from which are presumably the same as playing until later portions of the first mission. The harder missions have far more enemies to start with (the hardest one starts out with 112 tanks to destroy in the first stage!) and larger areas, which greatly ups the challenge. It certainly makes the game feel more substantial than its 200 Point price-tag would lead you to believe.
As with the other games in the series there's some nice attention to detail: your tank turret animates smoothly and on larger playfields the camera shifts in the direction your cannon is facing. The cannon itself changes to reflect the special weapon type enabled and recoils when firing, though it's so subtle you'd almost miss it. The cherry on the sundae is a 16-bit audio loop that nicely complements the old-school feel of of the game. All we can say to Genterprise and Suzak is tanks again for another great budget DSiWare release!