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Video Game / Battle City

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Battle City is a series of four-directional shooters developed and released by Namco, featuring tanks. This series consists of:

  • Tank Battalion (1980), released in arcades and on the MSX.
  • Battle City (1985), released on the Nintendo Entertainment System. Some consider it only a port rather than sequel.
  • Tank Force (1991), released in arcades. A rarer 4-player version also exists.
  • Tank Battalion Blitz (2012), released on iOS, but delisted shortly after.

In these games, the player spawns right next to their base, presented as a bird covered in brick walls. The enemy tanks start appearing from the edges of the screen and moving semi-randomly towards the bottom, and they all have to be defeated to win the round. Game Over is not only if player runs out of lives, but also if the enemies (or the players, either by accident or on purpose) manage to shoot the base down.

The first game, Tank Battalion, featured simple graphics, clunky movement and only one type of obstacle. Battle City improved it with much smoother movement, different types of enemy tanks, more varied scenery, different powerups and most importantly two-player co-op mode. Tank Force further improved the game by adding boss levels, more powerups, more enemies and increasing the pace of levels even more.

Namco has also released Shingun~Destroy! Girl's Tank Battalion in 2014, which is sometimes considered to be part of this series, though aside from its title and having tanks in it, the game has little to do with any of the aformentioned games.

This series wasn't quite popular, with the exception of Battle City, even then, it was most popular in places where it wasn't officially released. Along with Road Fighter, its almost impossible to find an unlicensed multicart that doesn't have this game on it. It's even gotten to the point where unofficial remakes have been made for clone systems.

Not to be confused with one of the arcs from Yu-Gi-Oh!

This series provides examples of the following tropes:

  • 1-Up: Occasionally, a tank item is spawned in Battle City and Tank Force. Collecting it gives an extra life.
  • Anti-Frustration Features:
    • Clock power-up stops all enemy tanks for few seconds. The effect also applies to those that spawned after the power-up was picked up.
    • Game Boy port of Battle City doesn't fit the whole screen, which is compensated by a radar on the bottom showing where you and the enemy tanks are.
    • In Tank Force, player's bullets are made more distinct from the ones shot by the enemies. Notably, they have no effect on the headquarters, which means that you won't get a game over by accidentally shooting it. They also now just push friendly tanks away, instead of freezing them in one place for few seconds, meaning that you're less likely to get screwed over by another player while trying to avoid enemy attacks.
  • Art-Shifted Sequel: While the original games were more or less cartoony, Tank Battalion Blitz goes for more realistic approach, with its selection of tanks being heavily based on World War II machines.
  • Color-Coded Multiplayer: Player 1 is yellow, Player 2 is green. Tank Force changes things up a bit, with yellow and green now being colors of Player 3 and 4, first and second slots are used by red and blue.
  • Company Cameo: Round 29 of Tank Force has red walls in the center that are made to resemble Namco's logo.
  • Company Cross References:
    • Some levels in Battle City are shaped after characters from other games by Namco, including Libble Rabble Hoblin, Mappy, Pooka and a Galaxian.
    • Round 16 of Tank Force is shaped after Pac-Man.
  • Cores-and-Turrets Boss: Tank Force has a final boss which is comprised of four 3-barreled turrets which fire projectiles at fast rate and speed, considering the genre of the game.
  • Destructible Projectiles : If there's an enemy projectile heading towards your tank, you can stop them with your own bullets.
  • Easter Egg: In Battle City, credits are shown that way. Open and exit Construction mode 7 times, press A 8 times on Controller 2, while holding Down on Controller 1, press B 12 times on Controller 2 while holding Right on Controller 1, then press Start. Then you'll get a message "THIS PROGRAM WAS WRITTEN BY OPEN-REACHnote  WHO LOVES NORIKO....." and an animation of green droplet falling down.
  • Endless Game: In Tank Battalion and Battle City, the levels just loop.
    • Tank Battalion has total of 8 unique maze layouts, 7 of which loop around each other until Round 22, which is the last 8th one. The game then continues looping between previous maze layouts.
    • After 35th stage in Battle City, the second goaround begins, but with tank spawning patterns and speed of the last stage. After completing the second loop, the game resets back to stage 1.
  • Every 10,000 Points: Tank Battalion and Battle City give the player extra life after reaching certain score. In Battle City, it's 20000 points.
  • Fast Tunnelling: For a tank, players can dig through brick walls surprisingly fast. Even more so if you have collected 3 star power-ups.
  • Flash of Pain: Enemies with multiple hitpoints and bosses in Tank Force flash white when hit.
  • Flunky Boss: Every 4th round in Tank Force is boss battle against either a train cannons, AK-1 or AK-2 accomplained by up to 20 regular tanks. Final boss is the only exception to this.
  • Frictionless Ice: Several levels of Battle City feature ice tiles. Should player stop moving on it, their tank will continue sliding forward for a bit.
  • Hitbox Dissonance: Battle City and Tank Force have tanks actually snapping from one tile to another even though the movements seem smooth.
  • Hold the Line: The line in this case is a bird-shaped headquarters. The goal is to keep 20 enemy tanks from it, while trying to stay alive yourself.
  • Invincibility Power-Up: A variation. Although helmet/shield power-up grants invulnerability to the player, it's still possible to get game over due to the base still being vulnerable. Of course, there's a shovel/fortification power-up to protect it as well.
  • Level Editor: Construction mode of Battle City provides one of the earliest examples on the NES. While you can't save it or select enemy tanks, you can chose all of the 5 available environment tiles, change base's defence blocks and play your creation in co-op. After completing it, the game starts playing pre-built levels.
  • Megamix Game: Many stages in Blitz are the remakes of levels from Battle City and Tank Force.
  • Nintendo Hard: Tank Force. Even at the easiest difficulty. Especially if you don't have a friend.
  • Obstructive Foreground: Done deliberately in Battle City and Tank Force with tree tiles. It's still possible to see the tanks through them, but the bullets they fire is a different story. There's also an inversion of this in the form steel tiles that can hide the bullets the enemies shoot, which you would normally counter with your own bullets.
  • One Bullet at a Time: By the default, your tank can only fire one bullet, and you won't be able to fire another until previous one hits something. Getting two star power-ups in Battle City will allow you to fire two bullets at a time, and such is a default tank in Tank Force.
  • Press Start to Game Over: The fact that your bullets are just as effective as the enemy ones against the headquarters mean that you can shoot it down as soon as the round starts. Tank Force avoids this by making it invulnerable to player's bullets.
  • Protection Mission: The whole game is based on this. Protect the bird located in the bottom middle of the field from enemy tanks while staying alive as well.
  • Regenerating Health: If not hit for a while, Armored tanks in Tank Force will slowly start regaining their hit points. They are the only enemies in the series to do so.
  • Scoring Points: The series has a score counter.
  • Shows Damage: Armored tanks in Battle City and Tank Force, as well as the bosses in the latter game change color when they're damaged.
  • Smart Bomb: Grenade powerup in Battle City and air strike powerup in Tank Force wipe out every single enemy on-screen.
  • Tank Goodness: The series as a whole is about tanks, but a honorable mention goes to player's tanks for being essentially a One-Man Army, as well as bosses and large flame tanks in Tank Force.
  • Time Stands Still: Clock powerup in Battle City and Tank Force freezes all of the enemy tanks on the screen for several seconds.
  • Yet Another Stupid Death: A rare non-roguelike game where you get plenty of these. Have you shot your own base on accident? Game Over, even if you done so after destroying all enemies just as round ends. Tried to recklessly go into a huge pile of enemy tanks? The most likely outcome is that you will lose a life from their pile of bullets.