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Tiny Tank

Tiny Tank Tiny Tank
by Sony Computer Entertainment

Platform: PlayStation
ESRB Rating: Teen
ASIN: B000034DC8

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GameSpot Review: When I say "cute," what's the first thing that pops into your head? Bunny rabbits? Babies, perhaps?

But tanks? In the cute rankings, they probably fall somewhere between snakes and extremely hairy guys. Nevertheless, one tank is making a bid to move up the list by starring in its own video game: Tiny Tank. This 3D action title offers interesting - but not glitch-free - gameplay and a humorous storyline some people will embrace with affection... and others will reject as cheesy.

In a plot eerily similar to the Terminator movies, an army of robots has rebelled against humans in their mission to take over the world. However, the role of Arnold Schwarzenegger as robot-savior has been taken over by a potty-mouthed yellow tank. One hundred years later, this tank has been brought back to life to traverse twelve multiple-mission-based levels, each usually ending with a boss that must be destroyed. There's also a two-player versus mode, but it's the one-player game that contains this title's meat and potatoes.

Tiny Tank has a turret that automatically targets enemies, and four weapon pods (two in front, two in the rear) that can be upgraded. Most enemies can be killed with well-aimed blasts - although for a few you'll need to use "alternative" strategies, such as avoiding detection or tricking them into killing each other. The level designs are well crafted, with a few hidden nooks and power-ups to make free exploration worthwhile.

Underneath Tiny Tank's kill-anything-that-shoots mentality is some surprisingly deep gameplay, which winds up being this title's strongest point. While you play, the tank collects "brains" (the heads of destroyed computer enemies) and weapons. The tank can configure its weapon locations, then use the brains to make them target more effectively. This feature isn't too vital in early levels, but it becomes a necessity later on. Another gameplay plus are miniature tanks that can be programmed to shoot at enemies or gather power-ups. It's a surprisingly cool aspect of the game, as the pee-wee tanks can visit areas Tiny Tank can't reach. Both these gameplay twists make this game more than just a mindless shooter, and more satisfying as a result.

Still, the game has a few kinks to work out, especially in the camera and control departments. Jumping seems a major pain, since the tank tends to slide off an edge if it lands too close to it after a jump. It would've been nice if the tank "stuck" more to the ground after landing (after all, it is a heavy tank). Furthermore, when Tiny Tank hits sloped surfaces, the camera often wigs out, which makes it difficult to regain one's bearings - especially after a jump. This fault seems most frustrating in the heat of battle, when an enemy is in front of the tank but the camera angle prevents it from being seen.

Camera glitches aside, the game's 3D graphics stand up to the gameplay, with decent explosion effects and rarely any cases of slowdown or pop-up. The game's audio gets an above-average grade, mainly because of neat touches such as extra comments when Tiny Tank finds a secret area, kills an enemy, or gets close to death. Some of the in-level soundtracks are unique and cool - in one instance, the music is replaced with an amusing robot radio talk show.

It's not wholly fair to judge a game's merits solely on its storyline and personality, but in Tiny Tank's case, it may determine whether folks will find it worth playing all the way through. Some won't particularly enjoy Tiny Tank's offbeat personality, since it seems the game tries too hard to be funny and cute. Others probably will gravitate toward Tiny Tank's persona and soak up the humorous storyline. In any case, the gameplay remains quick and unique regardless of the plot - so it's worth finding out if this tiny tank whets your appetite for destruction. --Nelson Taruc

From the Manufacturer: The Tiny Tank with the BIG-TIME Attitude. Tiny Tank explodes with lightning-fast action and wild antics. Get behind the controls of a kick-butt little tank that makes up in attitude for what he lacks in size. Stocked up on weapons and enough firepower to bring down the toughest robot, Tiny's uncensored humor keeps the pace fast and furious. Just don't call him Tiny to his face. He may aim higher than your kneecaps. It features: Race, rocket and fly through free-roaming 3D battlefields on totally articulated treads with super-charged thrusters; Collect brains and guns of destroyed enemies to automate and upgrade Tiny's weapons systems; Outfit Tiny with Gattling guns, a super-charged turret and rocket launchers to mow down any robot that gets in his way; Follow the action of the Teeny Weeny Tanks - with their own personal mini-cams - as they hunt down and destroy rebellious robots; Fight over 25 unique enemies, each with their own personalities and weak points; Watch the evolution of Tiny's crude personality and crazy wit in a series of cinematic backflashes; Collect vital information from OBE, Tiny's spy satelite and potential romatic interest; Tune-in to a rockin' original score, including a radio show hosted my MuTank, Tiny's arch-rival; Battle it out head-to-head in a two-player death-match.


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