TGS 06: Tank Beat Hands-On

If you listen closely, you can hear the beat of a tank in the distance. What? Oh, never mind.

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TOKYO--Tank Beat is a tank combat game for the Nintendo DS that's being published by Milestone. Rather than give you direct control over the tank's movements, the game instead lets you use the touch screen to plot routes and take aim at your foes.

Prior to getting into a mission, the version of the game being shown at the Tokyo Game Show lets you choose from seven different tanks--some large, some small. The different tanks are outfitted with different weapons and are ranked in multiple categories, like power, speed, range, and defense. After that selection, you're dropped into the mission. The mission we saw had you protecting a defenseless truck from enemy tanks.

Moving your tank in Tank Beat is done with the stylus. The bottom screen shows a very basic-looking map of the area, and you draw a line from your tank to a destination to get moving. At any point, you can hold down the L trigger to switch into attack mode. In this mode, you'll be able to fire on any spot by tapping it with the stylus. You can also sweep the stylus around in a circle to rotate your view. It's not very intuitive at first, but after a few failed attempts, we got the hang of the action and started blasting enemy tanks with reckless abandon. In addition to the single-player mode, the game appears to have local multiplayer support for up to four players.

Graphically, Tank Beat looks like a basic SNES game on the top screen. The landscape is mostly flat and nondescript. The bottom screen is functional, but it isn't especially appealing, either.

Milestone is currently planning to release Tank Beat in Japan this November.

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