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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 features three games:

  • 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.

In these games, the player spawns right next to their base, represented as a bird. The enemy tanks start appearing from the edges of the screen and moving semi-randonly towards your base. To win the round, all enemies in the level have to be defeated. Game over is not only when all lives are lost, 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.

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.


This series provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Chain Reaction Destruction: The AK series supertanks and the final boss in Tank Force.
  • 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 : You can take down the enemy projectiles that way.
  • Easter Egg: In Battle City, credits is shown that way.
  • Endless Game: Tank Battalion and Battle City. Levels just loop.
  • Every 10,000 Points: Tank Battalion and Battle City.
  • Flash of Pain: Enemies with multiple hitpoints and bosses in Tank Force.
  • Flunky Boss: Every boss except the last one in Tank Force.
  • Frictionless Ice: In a few levels of Battle City.
  • Hitbox Dissonance: Both in Battle City and Tank Force have tanks actually snapping from one tile to another even though the movements seem smooth.
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  • Hold the Line: Early example. And in Tank Force, things can get intense while you do so.
  • Invincibility Power-Up: Subverted. 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 the base too.
  • Level Editor: One of the earliest examples in the NES.
  • Maze Game
  • 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. Although it's still possible to see through. 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 : At least without powerups.
  • Protection Mission: The whole game is based on this.
  • Regenerating Health: Armored tanks in Tank Force
  • Shows Damage: Armored tanks in Battle City and Tank Force and bosses in Tank Force change color when they're damaged.
  • Smart Bomb: Grenade powerup in Battle City and air strike powerup in Tank Force
  • Tank Goodness: Bosses and large flame tanks in Tank Force.
  • Time Stands Still: Clock powerup in Battle City and Tank Force.
  • Turns Red: The final boss of Tank Force turns red gradually.
  • Yet Another Stupid Death: A rare non-roguelike game where you get plenty of these.


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