The Game: As the pilot of a heavy tank, you wander the desolate battlefield, trying to wipe out enemy tanks and landing vehicles. (Atari, 1983)
Memories: If Atari’s 2600 version of the arcade wargame was a pleasant surprise, the unreleased 5200 edition of the same game is almost a revelation. Combining adaptations of the menacingly angular vector graphics of the arcade game with more realistic raster backgrounds, the 5200 prototype is not only fun, but rather pretty to look at.
Not unlike the 5200 prototype of Tempest, Battlezone reveals that this hardware had a slightly easier time of mimicking vector graphics. The controls can be a little tricky to figure out, but by this point the Atari designers seem to have been going with the common sense move of adapting whatever worked for the 2600 control scheme.
Once again, what could’ve been a game from a batch that might have turned things around for the 5200 never saw the light of day until later.