Follow TV Tropes


Video Game / BattleTanx

Go To
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.
  • After the End
  • 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 Mc Coolname: Griffin Spade.
  • Badass Biker: The Skull Riderz, who roam the highways in Mototanks and other light vehicles.
  • Badass Longcoat: Griffin picks one up right at the end of the first game's introduction.
  • 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. . .
  • Suicide Attack: The M-80 Demolition Vehicle. Small, lightly-armored, and lacking in a main weapon besides its self-destruct attack. Another PlayStation exclusive.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.