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Video Game / Pocket Tanks

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Pocket Tanks is a semi-freeware 2-tank Artillery Game. It's based on a game called Scorched Tanks (which itself was based on Scorched Earth). It features numerous weapons and expansion packs. Currently, with all expansions, the total number of weapons available is 320. Unlike the most tank artillery clones, the objective of this game is not to destroy the opponent. Instead, each player gets to choose 10 from the 20 randomly chosen weapons at the start of the game. The player who has more points when all weapons are fired, wins the game.

This game provides examples of:

  • Abnormal Ammo: Pretty much most of the arsenal. Fleas, submunitions, hailstorms, shots that bury their target, shots that make the terrain bouncy, oddly shaped explosions, slow explosions that hit several times, and much much more.
  • Allegedly Free Game: Did this before it was cool: the vast bulk of weapons are sold in expansion packs that sell for a dollar or two. Granted there’s enough free packs that it mostly avoids Bribing Your Way to Victory, and buying everything will run you about $20 and not the hundreds or thousands of dollars usually associated with this trope.
  • Always Accurate Attack:
    • Cheap Shot, which immediately spawns a bomb right on top of the other tank, dealing a guaranteed 20 damage without needing to aim.
    • Sneak Attack is similar to Cheap Shot, sending a snaking projectile out from under the enemy tank. It also does a guaranteed 20 damage, with the added effect of doing more knockback.
  • Amazing Technicolor Battlefield: There are weapons that remove dirt, create dirt in various colors, color existing dirt, and apply thin layers of color to existing dirt; so 80% of the maps end up being this by the time the fight is over.
  • Area of Effect: Most weapons are area of effect in the sense that they're explosions and generally do more damage the closer the target is to the center, but many weapons like the popcorn, hailstorm, and napalm also cover an area, but instead of specifically trying to hit dead-on, the goal is to make them as concentrated as possible, which often requires a near miss instead of a direct hit to maximize their potential.
  • Artificial Stupidity: The AI has several flaws, even on the highest setting:
    • It's smart enough to know to use dirt-clearing weapons such as Dirt Mover and Mountain Mover when it's been buried... but if it's able to move, it doesn't take ceilings into account. Use a Blockade or Plasma Orb and watch it blow itself up.
    • It sometimes saves a non-damaging weapon like the Tracer for the last round, where it's completely useless.
    • It doesn't know how to use certain weapons that don't follow the normal arc, like the Laser or Bubble Gun, which it ineffectively fires straight into the air 99% of the time.
    • Conversely, it does aim the Freeze Ray right at you... even if there's an obstacle in the way. This often results in it losing loads of points while burying itself in ice, when aiming straight upwards would result in a wasted turn, but at least it'd avoid those consequences.
    • It always tries to aim directly at you, even with weapons that are more effective on indirect hits such as the Hot Potato, Popcorn, and Phase Missile (which can orbit around a target if it passes nearby without hitting, increasing its damage).
    • It might use a dirt weapon to bury you, but doesn't take into account how many points you have: it might even bury you as an opening move, when you don't have any points to lose while blowing away the dirt. And it also doesn't understand weapons that synergize with dirt attacks: it might bury you on one turn, then shoot a weapon with a large explosion to unbury you on the next turn, even if they have a weapon like the Toaster or Shadow Blast (whose explosions don't get rid of dirt, making them perfect for attacking buried foes without helping them).
  • Awesome, but Impractical:
    • Mass Driver. It's a gigantic meteor that causes 200 damage with a direct hit - one of the strongest single hits currently possible in-game. It also hits a completely random spot on the map.
    • Golden Bullet. It fires a series of 'blanks' that do Scratch Damage at various angles, and one of them will be randomly chosen as the Golden Bullet, which does HUGE amounts of damage and knockback.
    • Sky Strike is a lesser example, being both cool and highly damaging, but requiring a direct hit.
    • Lead Balloon is one of the highest damaging weapons in the game, but it flies like, well, a lead balloon.
  • Bee-Bee Gun: The Beehive fires a projectile that explodes into a swarm of bees when it passes by the opponent.
  • Blow You Away:
    • The Tornado and Whirlwind weapons create a tornado that travels along the ground, launching the opponent into the air when it hits them.
    • The Cyclone is a blade of wind that flies around the opponent, dealing damage and sucking them in whenever it hits them.
  • Blown Across the Room: Most weapons will move the target somewhat, but a select few will send their ass clear to the other side of the map. One weapon, Backfire, actually invokes this as a huge jump that unburies the user, but leaves them in a random spot.
  • Boring, but Practical:
    • Single Shot and Big Shot, which fire single area of effect explosive projectiles that do moderate damage. They're much less exciting than weapons like Pineapple or Crazy Ivan, but they're still quite effective.
    • Tracer, which doesn't do any damage, but shoots shots from the exquivalent of -10 degrees of your current aim to +10 degrees, helping you zero in on your target.
  • Bubble Gun: The Bubble Gun fires a stream of bubbles, which start floating upwards after a certain distance. It's a pretty difficult weapon to use, as it requires a clear line of sight and does not go through terrain, but it can deal good damage if it hits.
  • Buried Alive: Using dirt-creating weapons such as Dirtball to bury your opponent is a good strategy: unless they have a terrain-clearing weapon, they'll have no choice but to blow themselves up to free themselves, which costs them points.
  • Charged Attack:
    • The Hot Potato's damage increases the more times it bounces before hitting.
    • When aimed properly, the Phase Missile will orbit around its target. The longer this happens, the more damage it deals when it finally hits.
  • Difficult, but Awesome: The rule of thumb is that the more difficult a weapon is to hit with, the more powerful it is. Big explosives with a massive Area of Effect tend to deal less damage than similar weapons with smaller radii: the Single Shot does more damage than the Big Shot, 3-Shot, and 5-Shot, the regular Nuke is more damaging than the Mega Nuke, and the Sniper Rifle, one of the few weapons to not have any splash, scores a whopping 100 points if it hits.
  • Dishing Out Dirt: PLENTY. Some examples include Dirt Flinger, Dirtball, and Mudpie. Although dirt-based weapons don't usually deal damage, they can sometimes force your opponent to use a splash weapon to dig themselves out if they lack terrain-clearing weapons, which subtracts points from them when they're caught in their own blast radius.
  • Emergency Weapon: Dirt-clearing weapons are useful if you've been buried, as they can free you without costing you any points.
  • Fixed Damage Attack: Several, including Sniper Rifle and Cannon Ball, which either do 100, or miss. Laser, Super Laser, and Phaser have the same effect, but wildly different other properties. Cheap Shot also does 20 damage, no questions asked.
  • Floating Platforms: Elevator, and Showdown invoke this. Also, several weapons negate the effects of gravity on dirt that they dislodge, creating these.
  • Flechette Storm: Many, MANY, of the weapons split into multiple projectiles at some point. Notable ones include: Streamers, which launches an incredible amount of bouncy projectiles for a short time; Lodestones, which launches homing flechettes; Burning Coals, whose projectiles burst into flame when near the enemy; and Nanobots, whose projectiles hover around the enemy, shooting lasers.
  • Homing Projectile:
    • The Heatseaker attempts to correct its aim towards the enemy once it gets within a certain distance.
    • The Homing Missile and Homing Worm immediately lose all horizontal momentum and drop/climb to the enemy once they're right above/below, respectively.
    • The Gamma Blaster fires several semi-homing projectiles that ignore terrain.
  • Joke Item: The Lemon, which ignores your chosen trajectory and is instead fired in an unpredictable arc. Even if you're lucky enough to hit with it, it only does 1 damage.
  • Kill It with Fire: Flamethrower, Napalm, Meltdown; it goes on.
  • Kill It with Water: A lot of water-based weaponry. Hailstorm releases a small amount of water that deals constant damage, Old Faithful is an upgrade that creates a huge geyser, the Aqua Bomb explodes, spraying water everywhere... in general these weapons are best used when the enemy is at the bottom of a hole, so the water will pool into the same spot and deal more damage.
  • Kill Sat: The Space Laser, Space Cannon, and Ion Cannon shoot a targeting beacon, followed by a beam being shot at it from space.
  • Let's Fight Like Gentlemen: Showdown is an interesting example. It lifts both players onto platforms at the same height in the air, regardless of starting height or if either player was buried.
  • Lethal Joke Item:
    • Burnt Popcorn. Does 10 damage on a direct hit, but if it's shot near an enemy in a crater the splitting sub-munitions and splashes of napalm can deal hundreds of points worth of damage. Similarly, Fireball, Popcorn, Fuzz Ball, Static Ball, and Buzzsaw can all deal more damage with multiple near misses than a direct hit.
    • Also, Solar Flare drops its projectiles over the entire map, dealing as much damage to the user as the target and thus being pretty pointless. However, if the user is buried under dirt or some other protection...
  • Limited Move Arsenal: Each player gets ten attacks per battle, and that's it.
  • Made of Indestructium: The tanks are completely indestructible: explosives, meteors, and even nukes don't cause a scratch. Victory is determined by Scoring Points rather than destroying the enemy.
  • More Dakka: The Tommy Gun and Minigun fire several bullets in quick succession. They're less accurate than most weapons, but the large number of projectiles makes up for it by making it likely that at least a few shots will connect if you aim in the correct ballpark.
  • No "Arc" in "Archery": Completely averted. Nearly every single weapon is launched in an arc. And the ones that don't, either come from above (Solar Flare, Glue Storm, Mass Driver), or are justified (Laser, Super Laser, X-Ray Cannon). And, well Cheap Shot.
  • Power Creep: Inevitable given the sheer amount of weapon packs; Lava alone can do more damage in a single shot than you’re likely to do with the entire Original Pack. It’s far from impossible to win games using only original weapons, but you’re always at a disadvantage and if it ever turns into a slogging match you’re pretty much screwed.
  • Slap-on-the-Wrist Nuke: Mega Nuke and Mega Reaction are substantially weaker than their non-mega counterparts. The advantage is they have a larger area of effect.
  • Slippery Skid: Rubber weapons cover an area in pink dirt that causes projectiles to bounce or slide around until they hit a non-rubber surface or run out of momentum. Mostly useful for defense since it can turn near misses into far misses, but it can also make it easier to bounce shots into enemies in tricky spots. One of these is the Lock Box, which (at the expense of some points) surrounds the targeted tank in a floating rubber box which is thin enough to stick your turret through - the other team had better hope they saved up some homing or Flechette Storm weapons.
    • Sticky Situation: The inverse is glue weapons, which all projectiles detonate on contact with. They can prevent a projectile from rolling or bouncing at a tank - or prevent it from rolling or bouncing away from the tank.
  • Spectacular Spinning: Some weapons, like the Gyro Glue and Spinner, fire their projectiles in a spinning, spiraling pattern.
  • Splash Damage: A lot of weapons create explosions that do more damage the closer the opponent is to the center. The most obvious examples are the simple Single Shot and Big Shot weapons, with the latter having a bigger explosion at the cost of lower damage.
  • Stock Sound Effects: Explosion sounds are from the stock sound effects library.
  • Sweeping Laser Explosion: The Space Cannon weapon starts with a Kill Sat firing a laser across a good portion of the ground. The beam doesn't deal any damage, but after it's done, a series of explosions follows the same path the laser traced.
  • Trippy Finale Syndrome: There are weapons that remove dirt, create dirt in various colors, color existing dirt, and apply thin layers of color to existing dirt; so 80% of the maps end up being this by the time the fight is over. Add in that weapons exist that create floating platforms, and while dirt that has nothing beneath it will fall, certain weapons let dirt hover. By the end of the fight, chances are you're either on a flat, empty nothing, or a crazy, multicolored Platform Hell.