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Battleship Review

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Developer: Mindscape Publisher: Mindscape
Release Date: 1993 Available On: NES, Game Gear

Board game conversions are nothing new, but as Battleship proves, the idea probably should have died long before it was imagined. In theory, it would be possible to create an interesting mix of thinking and action out of it, but it would end up being like any other strategy game, and on the NES you have Desert Commander and Gary Kitchen’s Battle Tank, so there wouldn’t be that much point, though a battleship game of this type would have been interesting at least. Battleship, well, it does little to really impress, you’re better off pulling the old plastic pieces out and saving electricity.

Graphically, Battleship is appalling for a release this late in the NES’ life. Really, this is stuff that would have been better off on the Atari 5200. All you get in this game is a horrible opening, the main game screen, and some horrid cutshots whenever you miss and hit ships. That’s it, incredibly minimal. The animations are fluid, but then again they didn’t use much memory to make them. When it comes down to it Battleship doesn’t give much to look at.

Argggh, the sound is even worse. Battleship deals out an incessant, and highly annoying track, coupled with a small amount of sound effects that do very little to provide any sort of atmosphere. It’s all so repetitive it makes the gameplay troubling to the soul, to the point you’d rather sell it to the devil. Yet another minimal approach, it’s like it was programmed by a recent high-school grad who dabbled in assembly.

Battleship attempts to recreate the classic board game while adding a few features. None of them, however, do anything to excite. If you know the game, you know what to do. Place your ships and then take your time trying to be careful where you decide to strike, aiming for hits. You get a variety of missile types throughout the game that give different spreads, as well as a different ship type here and there, but it’s pretty superficial. Plus you have tons of stages to go through.

That wouldn’t be so bad, if the computer offered any sort of challenge, which it most certainly does not. The AI in Battleship is horrible. You can cause it to focus too much on one side of the screen by purposefully placing a bulk of your ships in the corner, and it will often take shots in areas where it would be impossible to even find a ship. Let’s say you have the battleship left, it has five shots before going down. Why in the hell would the computer take a shot at a single space in the middle of misses? It makes no sense. What’s even stupider is the tally at the end of every level. It tells you the number of shots and includes a hit percentile. Why? It serves no actual purpose and because the majority of the game, at least at first, is guessing anyway, why have it? Why in the hell does it matter? It doesn’t, just look at this trash:

You have to give Battleship at least a little credit for attempting to take the board game and do something new with it, even though the additions are so minor. It’s shameful, because they could have turned the license into quite an interesting strategy game, perhaps something with the depth of Koei’s series (Genghis Kahn, etc.). But for what it is, they really haven’t provided much.

Battleship has a password feature, if you’re actually interested in coming back to it more than once. But, seeing as how the computer never gets more difficult and seems stupider as the levels progress, there’s really not a point. I got so sick of it I simply found the final round password online and beat it, finding it essentially the same as the first freaking level, minus the fact you have different missile types and more ships. What a waste. There are eight rounds overall, and if you actually sat down to play this through, I could only imagine the disappointment.

Battleship was a total waste of a license and atrocious on so many levels it’s not even worth discussing further. If you’re lonely and looking to play Battleship with a worthless computer, go ahead, otherwise there isn’t really a reason to own this game. Hell, even if you’re a collector it’s a stretch to say you should. It doesn’t even have rarity factor going for it, it’s just bad all over. A real disappointment and shocking in certain regards.

Graphics: 4.5
Sound: 3.5
Gameplay: 5
Creativity: 5.5
Replay Value/Game Length: 4
Final: 4.5 out of 10
Written by Stan Stepanic Write a User Review