Assault Rigs (Psygnosis) is a tank simulation that has priorities we can appreciate, although serious simulation buffs – particularly fans of exhaustive flight simulations – might not find it perfectly suited to their tastes. The emphasis here is on jumping right in, racing around, and killing without being killed. You won’t learn how to pilot a real tank, and there’s no thick manual to memorize. That’s just the way we like it. Simple but effective 3D graphics leave plenty of room in the program for speed and, although you may not think of tanks as speedy vehicles, there are rigs here that will change your mind. Some games require you to collect floating gems to finish the level, while others just demand that you kill bad guys and stay alive. Different settings and increasingly sophisticated weapons add some variety, but the basic play-action is similar to the original arcade tank simulation Battlezone. A cute introduction bears mentioning: it offers a quick re-cap of video games from Pong through Defender to “Virtual Reality.” Although the introduction is meant to set the stage for Assault Rigs’ nominal plot (something about a world that has become all digital), it serves just as well as a reminder of the program’s roots. One interpretation: the more things change, the more they stay the same. Assault Rigs proves that there’s nothing necessarily wrong with old ideas, so long as programmers choose wisely what they’re ripping off, and make sure to add something to the mix in the bargain.
– September 1996
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