Release Date: February 28, 1998 Publisher: Activision Platform: Windows
Battlezone got a refresh in 1998 as a FPS/RTS hybrid(aka Action-Strategy). The genre combination sounds odd but worked out extremely well. You play as a commander in the first person view, while building a base in a similar manner to other RTS on the market. The game was released in 1998, but after shutting down the multiplayer servers Activision released the game under GNU license. The game is available for free at: http://www.Battlezone1.com
The story in based in an alternate cold war era universe in which the moon missions are a cover up for a much larger campaign. The US and the Soviet Union have moved an entire military to space in the pursuit of a extraterrestrial material called “Bio Medal”, which had landed on earth via meteors. This “Bio Medal” was created by an ancient alien civilization called the Cthonians.
The single player is divided into two campaigns; one following the United States(NSDF), the other follows the Soviets(CCA) forces. Throughout each mission you will build up your RTS style base, offensive and defensive units in attempt to defeat the opposing forces.
The multi player system includes two modes: Strategy and Deathmatch. Strategy plays like the single player campaign and allows two or more players to collect resources, build units and the winner is determined by the last man standing. Deathmatch gives two or more players a map with power-up to kill each other. The winner is determined by the highest score.
An expansion pack know as “The Red Odyssey” was released that featured the US, Soviets and Chinese. This expansion contains an entirely new Single Player story arc pitting the Chinese Red Army forces against both their allies, the CCA, and their enemies the “Black Dogs”. This expansion was also released under the open source GNU license, but has not yet received the compatibility updates for the latest versions of Windows that the original campaign has been given.
Whats new in the open source v1.5
- Bug fixes
- Windows compatibility updates
- Multiplayer exploits closed
- Xbox 360 controller support
- Support for HD and widescreen resolutions
This classic games from the 90’s has held up very well over time, and to this day still has active players on the multiplayer servers. The compatibility fixes for the latest versions of Windows made avaliable thanks to the fact that Activision released the source code under the GNU license. The game play has also received small tweaks to improve game play. Multi player exploits have been closed to make sure that Battlezone’s multiplayer afterlife is just as fun as the original.
Both the original and Red Odyssey campaigns can be legally downloaded for free at: http://Battlezone1.com/downloads.index.htm