T.N.K. III Review—Tanks for the Memories

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It looks like it’s time for SNK to reach into their vault of arcade classics and pluck another long forgotten relic for us to play again. This time, it is T.N.K. III that has been dusted down to hit the PlayStation Store’s virtual shelves.

T.N.K. III is a top-down shoot ‘em-up that was first released as an arcade game back in 1985. The player takes command of a tank that has to make its way from point A all the way to point B whilst avoiding obstacles, enemy gunfire, missiles and even submarines. T.N.K. III lacks any sort of story, which in all fairness was fairly typical for most top-down shooters back in the ’80s.

To manoeuvre your tank from point A to B, you can use either the analog stick or D-pad, both of which work just as well as the other, although I personally felt it was a little more comfortable using the D-pad. Of course, merely avoiding your enemies would be no fun at all, and that’s why your tank comes equipped with machine guns and a cannon that can fire in 8 directions. The shoulder buttons are used to rotate the cannon, and Square is to fire it. Like all the other SNK games that have been re-released as Minis, you can change the controls in the pause menu and have the option to save and load your game state whenever you please. As with the other releases from SNK, I did find it a little annoying that the Select button was used to pause the gameplay, and, unfortunately, this is one thing you cannot change in the option screen. As an added option, you are also able to choose whether you want to control the cannon yourself or have it “auto aim,” although it isn’t actually auto aim like it says; instead, the cannon fires in whatever direction you have the tank facing.

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The game is a lot of fun even though I found it to be a little easy, due to being able to save and load the game at a whim. Even when you change the difficulty, the enemies aren’t actually any harder nor cause any more damage than they normally do, but there are a lot more of them. Something else that frustrated me was how clunky the cannon felt when rotating it, although it is possible that’s due to the fact that I’m more used to 360° rotation, as opposed to the good old 8-way shooting. One other toggle that I did find strange was the option to ignore terrain. Using this option does make the game insanely easy, regardless of the difficulty that has been selected, and just feels like you’re cheating; and technically, you are, in my opinion. Also, something else that was a little odd was the complete lack of an explanation of what each of the power-ups did. That left me a little baffled at times, although I’m almost 100% sure that E restores some of your energy . . . and the rest, I have absolutely no idea.

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The graphics seem to have received a little tweaking, with both the background and enemies looking a little sharper to me, plus the enemy animation is a lot more noticeable compared to the arcade version. One letdown in the graphics department is that though you can change the screen format from normal to stretched, like in all the other SNK Minis, this option does little more for T.N.K. III than remove the artwork from the edges, since the game screen already almost fits the PSP’s screen height.  If they actually wanted to “stretch” the image effectively, a possible solution to this could have been the ability to rotate the screen 90°. The BGM is unbelievably irritating, with what can only be described as a poor, tiny military tune at the title screen—which you fortunately don’t have to hear for long, as there really isn’t any music in the game unless you die (which is equally as bad). The sound effects are not as bad, with a typical ’80s ratta-tat of machine gun fire and a horrible thudding noise of the cannon.

T.N.K. III is probably one of the better games released by SNK, but it really isn’t worth the $2.99 price tag. Maybe SNK could look into the top four or five of their better games and release them as a compilation for four or five dollars. T.N.K. III is a good game to just pick up and play, but it really isn’t that absorbing and certainly won’t hold your attention for days on end.

6/10

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Comments

5 Responses to “T.N.K. III Review—Tanks for the Memories”
  1. onmode-ky says:

    “Also, something else that was a little odd was the complete lack of an explanation of what each of the power-ups did.”

    Heh, this was a problem with SNK’s Alpha Mission Mini, too. I suspect that these two games had that information documented on the arcade cabinet’s control panel (though I only think so because expecting your customers to just figure it out amidst frustrating confusion would have been poor business practice). Would have been nice to have gotten that info in a software manual.

    Anyway, if anyone really wants to know what the power-ups do, this page should help.

    I’m curious what Jasper thinks of this game, since it bears some resemblance to the tank portions of Front Line.

  2. manslayer911 says:

    I second the request for a compilation. And please throw in some extras too. Much as I like old-school games, I like ‘em better in 1 package with bonus content so I have more to play with then just the games, and don’t always have to exit all the way to the xmb and wait another 30-45 seconds for the next game to load up.

  3. onmode-ky says:

    Well, I doubt there will be a compilation, primarily because [most of] these games were part of a compilation, the Asia-only SNK Arcade Classics Vol. 0, with 20 games, before SNK started releasing them in the West as individual Minis. I think they figured they’d make more money this way, and I think that they’re right; doing it this way, releasing a small batch of games every few weeks, means that their games keep consumer mindshare for a longer time than they would if all the games were released at one time. This, on top of the higher per-game pricing than a $20 20-in-1 collection, means more revenue. With SNK’s older games being more niche and less well known than libraries like Capcom’s or Namco’s, this was probably a better way to go in order to make the enterprise worth the cost of production.

    I can understand Dan’s somewhere-in-the-middle suggestion of 4-5 games in a bundle, but with my luck, they’d choose to bundle games I didn’t want along with ones I did want. :) The bonus content thing, though, yeah, that would be pleasant indeed, especially if some of that content included instructions.

  4. TKL says:

    Individual minis can start directly from XMB.
    This is definitely their merit .
    And this is why I like minis program.
    I also like compilation of course.
    But we must see title screen …twice.

  5. manslayer911 says:

    I wonder if there were game-specific extras in SNK Arcade Classics Vol. 0 like there were in Vol. 1 of the same series. And while on the subject, I remember there being goals one had to meet in order to unlock those extras. If such was the case in Vol. 0, it would have been nice to see them included in their porting to the minis program. I probably would have been more likely to purchase them individually as a result. As it stands, there may be 1 or 2 that I might be interested in, though 3 bucks seems a bit much to me for a stand-alone game with nothing else to offer except the game itself.

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