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Review: Battlezone: Combat Commander

March 11, 2018 2 min read

Detention was my favorite place to be after school. I was a bit of a smart ass back then, which I suppose hasn’t changed much, and my mouth got me into trouble more often than not. I frittered away a lot of my time goofing around, and frankly, the struggles I am having as an adult to transform myself into useful pond scum from the bottom feeder I am shifting away from reflects that. But, in my first year of high school, I didn’t mind. Because for whatever reason, they let us use the computer lab for detention in the hopes that we would get some work done. But the second no one was looking, which was most of the time, I’d be playing Battlezone.

The original Battlezone is much older than I am, originally released in 1980. It’s pseudo 3D line graphics and first person view were certainly not impressive by the time I was playing it on a computer monitor in the early 2000’s, but there is an addicting charm to the game and its simplistic abstraction that feels timeless to me. As long as the game is fun, I can get just as engaged, even moreso, than something with photorealistic graphics, and I played Battlezone a lot.

The remake of Battlezone that came out in 1998 was essentially the diametric opposite of everything I just described. In fact the only real thing it had in common with the original was the presence of tanks. Battlezone ‘98 was a real time strategy game crossed with a first person vehicle shooter, emphasis on RTS. It was quite well liked upon release, and in February 2016, was remastered for Steam as Battlezone 98 Redux. It’s sequel, the 1999 Battlezone II: Combat Commander did not garner the same praise. It was a bug-ridden affair that was too demanding for most systems at the time, although it did have its followers and the modding community behind it. 

I was excited to try it after missing out on Battlezone ‘98 and its remake, despite being unfamiliar with anything past the original Battlezone. I will say this right off the bat; despite being a modernize remaster, Battlezone: Combat Commander is a game from 1999 available on Good Old Games and Steam with a bit of an up do, and all the fiddly bits that come along for the ride.

Review: Battlezone: Combat Commander screenshot