Tank Wars is an artillery video game developed and published by Kenny Morse on 1990-10-28 for MS-DOS. The game can be played by 1-10 players, each controlling a stationary tank trying to destroy each other on a randomly generated playing field. The program was written in Turbo Pascal and Intel 8086 Assembly and was released multiple times with various upgrades; the last version was 3.2.
This was an impressive artillery game for the time. The genre had mostly been forgotten by the end of the 1980s, but Tank Wars helped revive it. Although it took inspiration from the many artillery games before it (looking similar to Night Fire), Tank Wars became the inspiration for Scorched Earth which was quite successful, and possibly influenced Worms indirectly.
In the early 1990s, my mother got me a copy of Tank Wars version 2.5 at a shareware swap. I played the game many times alone in my parent's basement and really enjoyed it.
I do not own this game, but I have played it a lot. I can beat the game playing against the weakest AI.
Best Version: DOS v3.2
— This section contains spoilers! —
- In addition to having the typical artillery features like power/angle shooting, wind, and destructive landscapes, the game introduced several features that were previously unseen in the genre, and new features were added with each additional release.
- I like how the game rewards the best players with more money so they can improve their arsenal. Although, this does cause the more skilled players to more easily keep their advantage.
- The game has a nice variety of weapons and defenses which allow for different styles of play.
- The various walls (rebounding, sticky, accelerating, etc.) are a great addition which really affects game play.
- There are alternate AIs which function differently to give the game more variety.
- The various death explosion animations are a lot of fun, although they often hurt bystanders as well.
- For the time, the game looks extremely dated, and, by the time version 3.0 came out, the SNES had already been released in America.
- The green tank blends in with the grass too much, and the blue tank blends in with the sky too much.
- The gradient palette-swapping backgrounds introduced in version 2 are pretty ugly and very distracting.
- There isn't very much depth to the game. You'll see everything the game has to offer on your first play-through.
- The game has very limited audio. By 1990, decent music and sound effects were the norm, and PC speaker beeps just don't cut it.
This download includes versions 1.2, 1.5, 2.0, 2.5, 3.0, and 3.2. It's still missing a few known versions.