Battlezone 2000, Atari Lynx

Battlezone 2000 is a conversion of the classic Atari arcade game Battle Zone, although in truth it is much more than just a conversion. The game actually has two distinctly different play modes, one of which is hidden and must be unlocked.

Battlezone 2000 doesn’t have its own Wikipedia page, and is only mentioned in passing in the ‘Legacy’ section of the original Battlezone page, which is strange. It deserves better than that.

The regular game features wireframe graphics, like the original, but with more detail and colours, and playing at a much faster speed than the original arcade game. At the beginning of each stage you’re given objectives to complete and told how much time you have to do it in. There are fuel and power-ups to collect during missions and this is simply a case of running over them on the ground, when you see them. You can also use credits earned on missions to upgrade your tank.

The hidden game features colourful landscapes and filled 3D polygons and is different to the regular game. Before starting a mission you’re presented with a 21 wide by 17 tall map of (357) coloured dots, each one representing an individual level. To the right of the coloured dots is an information panel that tells you how many tanks that level has, plus how many fuel or equipment pick-ups. The aim of each level (I think) is to destroy the enemy tanks and pick up as many of the power-ups as possible. I say “I think” because, since this is a hidden game, the aim is not explained anywhere, and also because I never made any headway in it. Although the hidden game is interesting, it doesn’t really work that well, which is probably why it wasn’t included front and centre in the main game. It’s not easy (or intuitive) to play; it’s quite slow (compared to the main game), and also clunky. It’s also easy to run out of ammunition and not be able to shoot anything. The solution there is probably to pick up more power-ups, but knowing what is what, and how to do things, is not obvious. Overall, the hidden game is confusing and frustrating. It might have been better to include it in the package properly and explain how to play it in the game or manual.

To access the hidden game, press Option 1 twice on the tank customisation screen, then hold down Option 1 and press Start.

Battlezone 2000 isn’t what I would call an ‘essential’ Lynx game, but it is fun in short bursts. The speed and intuitive nature of the regular game makes it engaging and playable. The hidden game doesn’t add a great deal to the package, unfortunately, but is a somewhat interesting diversion. If you can work out how to play the hidden game properly then you may get more out of it.

More: Battlezone on Wikipedia

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