Scorched Earth is a simple, yet very exciting artillery combat game, based on a long line artillery games that began with Atari's classic arcade game Lunar Lander. At its most basic level, Scorched Earth is a 2-player tank action game which requires you to learn only a few basic keys to play. You adjust the power and angle of your gun, then launch your weapon to blow up other tanks. That's basically it-- nothing Lunar Lander veterans haven't seen before. |
But what makes Scorched Earth much more than a Lunar Lander clone is that it can be much more complex. You can play with up to nine other players at a time, mixing computer players with humans (teamplay mode is available). The game offers a wide range of weather conditions and terrains, each of which affect your blasts in ways that obey the laws of physics (e.g. wind factor and gravity). You can earn money from successful battles, and use it to invest in additional weapons and accessories. The game boasts over thirty weapons, some of which are quite imaginative such as the fearsome Death's Head and Napalm. Using powerful weapons can vaporize the landscape, and you can even use a sandhog to slowly burrow a hole from beneath your opponents and watch them fall to their deaths. Quick death or slow death-- there's plenty of weapons for your killing pleasure ;) Accessories, of which there are fifteen to buy, are divided into Guidance Systems, Defense Systems, and Miscellaneous. Guidance system accessories are various types of homing weapons, e.g. heat seaking missiles. Defenses include parachutes and shields. Miscellaneous category includes other useful gadgets, such as Fuel Tanks which allow your tank to move around the battlefield. The interface takes some getting used to, and you must memorize a few key keyboard shortcuts, but it's a breeze once you learn it. Last but not least, you can even choose the enemy tanks' behavior if you play against the computer. For example, "moron" is self-explanatory, "poolshark" tries to rebound shots off the walls and ceilings to hit you, and "spoiler" is very tough to play against because it will get almost a perfect shot every time.
With a plethora of options and truly addictive gameplay, Scorched Earth is highly recommended for action fans, especially anyone who wants to blast his/her best friend for a while ;) While Scorched Earth may not be "The Mother of All Games" as it proclaims on the official site, it's one of the best 2-player games you'll ever play, and a design that truly stands the test of time. Two thumbs up!
Reviewed by: Underdogs