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Video Game: BattleTanx
aka: Battletanx
2001 A.D. — The world as you know it is no more. A deadly virus has wiped out 99% of the female population and the few surviving women are now worshiped as QueenLords. You are Griffin Spade, warrior and Battlelord in a post-apocalyptic future. With only the BattleTanx at your command, you must save mankind from extinction! Fight your way across the wasteland that was once America and rescue the QueenLords from roving gangs of mercenaries and thugs.
— The game's box, and a fair summation of the first game.

BattleTanx is a 1998 game for the Nintendo 64 by The 3DO Company, which was followed a year later by a sequel that also appeared on the PlayStation. The premise is simple: a plague has killed nearly every woman on the planet, forcing the worlds' governments to cloister the surviving females away in heavily-fortified quarantine zones. In the mayhem, a nuclear war was sparked, reducing much of the Earth to rubble and leaving the survivors to fight over the species' few females, who are now worshipped as "QueenLords". For reasons unexplained (save by the Rule of Cool), all of these tribes of brigands and freaks managed to get their hands on tanks. Lots and lots of tanks.

In the original BattleTanx, the player controls Griffin Spade, a tough guy from Queens whose fiancee Madison is one of those taken by the U.S. Government to a secure facility. After surviving the apocalypse, and armed only with an M1A1 Abrams, Griffin begins a mechanized trek across the remains of the United States, blazing westward through Chicago, Las Vegas, and finally San Francisco, crushing rival gangs, rescuing other captured women, and forging his own army in his search for Madison. The two are finally reunited when Griffin storms the Quarantine Zone on Alcatraz Island, incidentally leaving them in command of the most sizable and least malevolent faction in the former United States. A port for Game Boy Color was released in 2000, which featured the storyline and gangs of the first game, but with music taken from the second.

The sequel, BattleTanx: Global Assault, is set five years later and involves a rival QueenLord named Cassandra who has taken an unhealthy interest in Madison and Griffin's son Brandon. Using her mind-controlling powers to turn Griffin's army against him, Cassandra kidnaps Brandon and flees across the country, two angry tank-driving parents in hot pursuit. The chase ultimately leads through Great Britain, France, Germany, and back to Alcatraz. Along the way we learn that Cassandra was the one who unleashed the woman-killing plague as a way to wipe out those women lacking the psychic "Edge," and ends with the seemingly-killed villainess being revived by a mysterious magician who mentions a "chosen one."

And after that, nothing. 3DO had already been in decline when the BattleTanx series came out, and went bankrupt in 2003. Still, the BattleTanx games are fondly remembered: the story was simplistic, the graphics basic, but the gameplay was solid and conveyed the visceral joy of grinding the ruins of Western civilization under your armored treads as you stalked your opponents like steel-skinned predators.

The games provide examples of:

  • Action Genre Hero Guy: Griffin Spade.
  • Action Mom: Madison in the sequel, an upgrade from her role in the first game.
  • Amazon Brigade: The Storm Ravens and Iron Maidens gangs.
  • Apocalypse How: Humanity gets hit with a double whammy here, with World War III being the minor one. The real problem was a plague that wiped out 99.9% of the female population (with the scarcity of females being the reason for the war). This means that what was previously a Class 1 catastrophe has a very real possibility of developing into a Class 3 (human extinction), given that there is only a single woman for every thousand men.
  • Apocalyptic Logistics: Somehow, biker gangs and other rag-tag groups acquiring many, many, fully functional tanks, a wide range of weapons, including nukes and experimental energy weapons isn't uncommon in a world that was devastated by a population decimating plague and a nuclear war.
  • Area 51: One of the battlegrounds of the first game, complete with a trio of destroyable UFOs.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: The Nuke. It damages everything within the stage. Including you.
    • Averted if there's a subway tunnel to hide in after firing the nuke. Surface to find a wasteland with all your enemies dead.
      • Using the Teleport powerup in the second game just when the shockwave is about to hit can save you from any damage.
    • The "Bouncing Betty" mines are a bit like this; they're capable of dealing out massive damage, but the delay between them bouncing up and firing their lasers makes them only effective against the slowest tanks.
  • Awesome McCoolname: Griffin Spade.
  • Badass
    • Badass Army: ALL of them in both games!
    • Badass Biker: The Skull Riderz, who roam the highways in Mototanks and other light vehicles.
    • Badass Family: The Spades, in spades.
    • Badass Longcoat: Griffin picks one up right at the end of the first game's introduction.
    • Badass Normal: In comparision to the other gangs, Griffin's Army is the most normal of the bunch, and still is to a degree in the second.
    • Four-Star Badass: Essentially what a Battlelord is.
  • Big Applesauce: Where the first game begins. It's seen better days.
  • Bottomless Magazines: You can give everyone unlimited ammo for their default weapons in the options.
  • Capture the Flag: Most of the first game revolves around rescuing Queenlords from other gangs and returning them to your own base while protecting them from attack and holding onto your own Queen(s). Battlelord mode in both games is this.
  • Color-Coded Multiplayer
  • Confusion Fu: The sequel introduces the Teleporter item. Where it sends you is random, but it's still useful for getting away from (or behind) enemies quickly.
  • Covers Always Lie: The huge, impossibly cool-looking tank on the second game's cover? It doesn't appear in the actual game.
  • Critical Existence Failure: When a tank is brought down to about a fourth of its health, it changes to look heavily damaged, but it'll still work just as good until it takes another shot and is destroyed.
  • The Empire: Cassandra has one spanning most of North America and Europe.
  • Escort Mission: Brandenburg Gate and Escape From Berlin, as well as the Convoy multiplayer mode, in the second game.
  • Every 10,000 Points: ...Gets you a 1-Up in the first game. Averted in the sequel, though, where The Points Mean Nothing.
  • Everything Trying to Kill You: With the exception of the Iron Maidens in Global Assault, every gang you encounter in both games wants you dead.
  • Excuse Plot: Really, this game's plot mostly exists to give you a reason to drive around in a Cool Tank and blow stuff up. Not that anyone's complaining.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: An early cutscene in the first game has four Moto Tanks destroy two M1's and a Goliath with no trouble. Granted, the tanks seem to be unoccupied, and one of the four Moto Tanks crushes himself under the Goliath.
  • Gay Paree: Several missions in the sequel involve you flattening what's left of France. The Eiffel Tower is converted into a laser weapon, for starters.
  • Gender Rarity Value: The misogynist virus in the game's backstory.
  • Heal Thyself: Health powerups, which can be stored for later use if you already have full armor.
  • Hold the Line: Assault on San Francisco in the second game.
  • I Don't Like the Sound of That Place: The first game's Run the Gauntlet levels have such charming names as "Stranglehold Bridge", "Armageddon Highway", and "The Crimson Gate". Also, The Tunnel has the In Universe Nickname "No-Man's Land", because no man has ever crossed it and lived (of course, being the second level of the game, it's piss-easynote ).
  • Invisibility Cloak: The Cloaking Device power-up. It can also make an illusory double of your vehicle to lure the enemy.
  • Luck-Based Mission: More of a Luck Based Bonus, but one of the levels in Global Assault has a group of powerups sitting tauntingly behind an indestructible barrier, including a Nuke powerup. The only way to get behind it and grab the powerups? Using your limited supply of teleport powerups, which give you no control over where you end up. If you happen to use your last teleport to get IN the box you can't get out without dying.
  • Mama Bear / Papa Wolf: Madison and Griffin in the sequel.
  • Mass Hypnosis: Cassandra does this twice. First with movie projectors, then with the Eiffel Tower, which she's converted into a radio station.
  • Monster Clown: The Psycho Brigade, a gang of mechanized Joker-wannabes.
  • Monumental Battle: It's like a tour of American and European landmarks getting blown up.
  • Mutants: Urban Decay, the resident gang of New York City.
  • Next Sunday A.D.
  • Port Town: San Francisco in both games.
  • The Power of Love: The motivation of Griffin and his army in the first game. The later Game Boy port lampshades this by naming its last level "Love Conquers All".
  • Power-Up: Lots of them.
  • Psychic Powers: The "Edge" from Global Assault, capable of swaying others to your will. Both Griffin and Madison are strong in it, and its presence may explain how Griffin was able to forge an army so easily in the first game.
  • Ramming Always Works: With the Turbo power-up, even a puny Mototank is transformed into a deadly guided missile.
  • Religion of Evil: The Dark Angels, a mysterious cult who apparently wears voluminous robes inside their tanks.
  • Rule of Cool
  • Run the Gauntlet: The Tunnel, Stranglehold Bridge, Armageddon Highway, and The Crimson Gate in the first game, Tower Bridge in the second.
  • Sequel Hook: One of those sad examples that was never followed up on.
  • Slap-on-the-Wrist Nuke: There's usually at least one Nuke item per map, but they can only one-shot the lighter tanks, and can't even flatten all the buildings on their own. That said, they're still fun to throw at each other.
  • Spiritual Successor: World Destruction League: Thunder Tanks, made by the same company and features an upgraded version of the M1 Abrams, among other tanks reminiscent of those from BattleTanx.
    • The story of Thunder Tanks doesn't come out and say it, but it basically implies that it is set in the future after this apocalypse has faded into memory and tank combat is now a rich man's sport (like jousting or golf). The fact that they have a female co-host in the game, as well as several female tank drivers, gives one hope that eventually humanity pulled back from the Class 3 apocalypse somehow.
  • Straw Feminist: The women-only Storm Ravens, who believe men are responsible for every problem both pre- and post-Apocalypse. Averted with the similarly-women-only Iron Maidens, who become Griffin and Madison's only allies in the entire series.
  • Sugar Apocalypse: Some of the ads for Global Assault involved an army of BattleTanx rampaging through what certainly were not the Teletubbies. The first and second commercials, however. . .
  • Superpower Lottery: If you count the secondary weapons as superpowers - Griffin's tanks in the first game's multiplayer modes start off with a random weapon, and the Cold Warriors in Global Assault occasionally spawn with a nuke.
  • Tank Fu: Crashing your vehicles into each other deals at least some damage and also throws off the enemy's aim. It's even possible to crush the lightest ones with the Goliath.
  • Tank Goodness: Really the linchpin of the series. The original only had three, while the sequel introduced many more.
    • Crippling Overspecialization: The Rhino tank-hunter, which sports a huge fixed gun and a heavily-reinforced front which can take more punishment than even the Goliath Tank.. Unfortunately, its sides and rear are extremely vulnerable, and it can't engage targets who flank it. Also strangely susceptible to fire attacks.
    • Death from Above: The PlayStation-exclusive B-6 Bulldog, which uses a mortar as its main gun.
    • Do a Barrel Roll: The FLP-E or "Flippy" tank. It's small, has a light gun, and not much armor, but has modified tracks, a gyro-stabilized cockpit, and angled jets on its flanks. The result is a tank that can flip itself sideways over and over, dodging incoming fire and generally baffling its opponents.
    • Fragile Speedster: The Mototank, a tiny wheeled vehicle with dual machine guns and light armor. Capable of streaking about and running circles around larger tanks, but capable of being flattened by heavier tanks. Also the Hovertank, a flying tank that moves extremely fast, can move in any direction without turning, and doesn't set off standard landmines. A third is the Rattler, which is basically the Mototank with More Dakka.
    • Frickin' Laser Beams: The Marksman, a tank with light armor but a big-honking laser cannon. The vehicular equivalent of a Cold Sniper.
    • Gatling Good: The Rattler, a small tank with a fixed GAU-8 gatling cannon, letting it chew through even heavy armor. Also capable of turning on a dime. The Playstation-exclusive Shredder tank is an even faster, better-armored vehicle with a smaller, turret-mounted 35mm gatling gun.
    • Guns Akimbo: The M2 Hydra, an Abrams variant with two lighter cannons, making up in rate of fire what it loses in punch.
    • Hover Tank: The (wait for it) Hovertank. An Abrams that floats, propelled forward by turbines. Hard to control and sub-par compared to the Abrams, but able to ignore minefields, strafe sideways, and reach an impressive top speed.
    • Jack of All Stats: The right honorable M1A1 Abrams, mainstay of the U.S. military and all-around solid tank.
    • Kill It with Fire: The Inferno Tank, light and fast with a heavy flamethrower.
    • Macross Missile Massacre: The Hornet, a tank capable of spamming rockets, or even firing them around corners.
    • Mighty Glacier: The Goliath, a behemoth with a really big cannon. Slow as Christmas but able to laugh off round after round of enemy fire. Also commonly mounted on a side-scrolling rail in front of fortresses as a sort of detachable gun turret. Also capable of making pancakes out of Mototanks and Rattlers.
    • Suicide Attack: The M-80 Demolition Vehicle. Small, lightly-armored, and lacking in a main weapon besides its self-destruct attack. Another PlayStation exclusive.
  • Unusable Enemy Equipment: "Annihilator-class" Goliaths in Global Assault, which have a pair of sentry guns that can aim independent of the main cannon. You're also unable to use the M2 Hydra, Hornet, or Marksman in the campaign mode.
  • Weak Turret Gun: Gun Buddies, though the campaign features bigger, more powerful ones defending enemy bases.
  • Weaponized Landmark: See Gay Paree above.
  • The Wiki Rule: Has one as well.
  • World of Badass
  • Xtreme Kool Letterz: It's all there in the title, folks.
  • You Gotta Have Blue Hair: The Queenlords have some pretty improbable hair colors, thanks in part to Color-Coded Multiplayer.


Batman Beyond: Return of the JokerNintendo 64 Battlezone (1998)

alternative title(s): Battle Tanx
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