Players choose one of two teams, Squares and Triangles. Each team member starts near their team's base and sets out to destroy the enemy base. Players message each other to coordinate their actions. Each player has an onboard view like Battlezone, and a map view that shows their team, five mountains, and enemy tanks if they are in range.
The game was very advanced for its time, with dynamically generated terrain, hidden line removal, and Ragdoll Physics on the shells. A version with improved graphics called Panzer was developed in 1977 with assistance from the US Army. Atari, which had a PLATO account, created their own version, Battlezone, in 1980.
Panther provides examples of:
- Combat and Support: Possible with messaging. Some players could keep the enemy tanks occupied while others snuck behind enemy lines to destroy the base.
- Epic Tank-on-Tank Action: The second tank game after Atari's Tank, and the first with a first-person perspective.
- First-Person Shooter: One of the first, with very simple vector graphics.
- Lead the Target
- Level-Map Display
- Ragdoll Physics: Shell trajectories.
- Sprite/Polygon Mix: An ancestor of this trope - vector graphics for the tanks and scenery, raster graphics for explosions. May be the Ur-Example.
- Vector Game