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Tiny Tank
Platform:  Playstation
# of Players:  1-2
Developer:  Sony
Publisher:  MGM/UA Home Ent.
Ratings:  Everyone
Memory Req.:  
Flippant. Sarcastic. Lewd. These are not the traits you would expect from a supposed cute kiddie game, but then again Tiny Tank is not your average mushrooms and berries kids game. In fact I would argue that it is as much of a kiddie game as South Park is a kiddie cartoon. It is not that it is full of dick and fart jokes, but rather posses a satirical element that will probably go over most kids' heads.

You play the part of Tiny Tank, a spokesman for mechanical warfare chosen because he is so cute and appealing to the public. In the year 1998 Tiny makes these TV commercials trying to get the public to vote for mechanized soldiers and war vehicles so that real people will not have to go, fight, and die for their country. Then can just kick back and let the machines fight for them. Flash forward 100 years to the present (2098). The robots have taken over and humankind has fled underground. Tiny Tank has been orbiting the earth "sleeping" for the last 100 years and now he has been awakened by the humans to save the world. Think of it as Nickelodeon's version of Terminator 2.

The character of the smart-mouthed tank is very appealing and fun to listen to. He makes a bunch of jokes throughout the game which ads to the fun. The game itself moves very fast as Tiny rumbles up and down moving from terrain to robotic compounds. You collect tons and tons of weapons, mostly from destroyed robots, that attach to your tank. Pretty soon you will have so much firepower that nothing will be able to stop your destructive warpath. Nothing, that is, except for the slow down that occurs when there are too many objects firing on the screen at once.

There are a couple of neat features that add to the gameplay. The first is the use of mini tanks that you drop out of your backside (ok, one fart joke). These "Teeny Weeny Tanks" can be programmed to hunt, gather, or protect. The best use fot hem is putting them on a suicide mission to take out some of the more difficult opponents. The game also features a two player mode that puts tank against tank in a fight to the finish. There is nothing really creative about it, but it does allow them to say that this is a two player game.

Jerkiness was the main problem with this game. Although the game moves quickly, the scenes seem to bounce around in front of you. It is very difficult to get control. Thankfully most of the guns will take out anything in the general vicinity of where you are aiming so there is no need to be exact. The jerkiness problem really comes into effect when the bosses are firing at you. Since the frame rate is inconsistent when there is a lot of action on the screen the shots sometimes seem to jump a frame and hit you before you have time to dodge them. I only really had a problem with this when I was fighting the bosses since that is when the most firepower from both sides was being emitted.

It is hard to see who this game is marketed towards. There are much better, more sophisticated shooting games on the market. And there are much more creative games aimed at kids. I can only see this game really appealing to the younger audience that may not be allowed to play more of the other grown-up violent games out. Since there are no people, just robots, there is nothing to really kill, only stuff to blow up. Therefore it is a good alternative to the killing games like Syphon Filter and Soul Reaver. I see this game as a good compromise between violence hungry kids and discerning parents. This is also a good choice for someone who just wants a fun simple 3D shooter.

This game has been in development for a long time and had it been released before the lastest crop of really great games then it may have been something to get excited about. However, its visual problems and unoriginal gameplay get old really quickly. Although the storyline is cute and the dialogue and cut scenes are really make for some big laughs, the game itself is just a combination of two saturated genres (3D platform and 3D shooter) and does not add anything new to the market. Unless of course a miniature, foul-mouthed, tank-farting, gun-toting, yellow punk-of-a-tank is new to you. Me? I see them all the time.

Chris Shade

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