|Platforms||:||Sony PlayStation, Sega Saturn|
|Review by||:||Ken Gagne|
Some games are all graphics and no gameplay, leaving what looks like a winner to be a bomb. Mass Destruction, a PlayStation and Saturn title from ASC Games, seems to have tried focusing on gameplay at the expense of other aspects, but didn't quite make it. [PSX version reviewed here]
Mass Destruction puts players in control of one of three tanks, each with different speed and power ratings, before sending them to the front line in an imaginary war. Each of the two dozen levels has several objectives to complete, such as taking down enemy radar or rescuing hostages. A variety of terrain and foes will be encountered from an overhead perspective.
The control is realistic; driving this tank can be as difficult as piloting a real one. The tank moves forward and backward, and the turret can be controlled separately. Buttons will automatically swivel it to the tank's left and right, but the tank is small and undetailed enough for confusion to arise about which way is which. It can be mastered for some neat drive-by shootings, but only with practice. It is also fairly easy to get stuck in corners during an intense shoot-out. Mass Destruction supports the new PlayStation analog controllers.
This game allows mass destruction to occur without fettering the players with challenge. The enemy tanks and infantry are numerous, but not powerful, as the player's tank is well-armored and power-ups plentiful. Trekking from one end of a map to the other amidst enemy fire, destroying buildings left and right, is exciting, but not terribly arduous. Limited supplies of secondary weaponry are available, but unnecessary. The most difficult gameplay aspects can be determining exactly which areas need to be destroyed, or how to cross a river without drowning. Once the basics are learned, there is little difference between the easiest of stages and the hardest.
Very little eye candy is peppered throughout the game. Even the animated sequences at the end of the five main regions is mostly unimpressive. The main display at the bottom of the screen is hard to read, and power-ups are indistinct. Sometimes terrain details and infantry can be confused as well. Overall, he graphics are not poor, just lacking.
Obviously, a game of this sort will have many explosions and gunfire sound effects; Mass Destruction is no exception. The squeals of squashed foot soldiers are particularly gratifying. There are several decent music tracks, but most noticeable is that any one can be chosen at anytime in any stage.
Progress through each of the areas can be saved to a memory card or continued via password. For the first time in a while, here's a PlayStation title with some excrutiatingly long load times. A single stage can take 25 seconds to prepare. Fortunately, no such lags are evident during the action scenes themselves.
Mass Destruction can be fun, if not challenging. It could be described as a land-based version of Desert Strike, or other such games. Mass Destruction does not obliterate any gaming records, failing to stand out as a hit title, but can still be satisfying.
This article is copyright (c) 1997, 2007 by Ken Gagne. All rights reserved. Not to be distributed without permission.
Original publication: Sentinel & Enterprise, 15-Dec-97