Panzadrome (Ariolasoft) Review | Amstrad Action - Everygamegoing

Amstrad Action

By Ariolasoft
Amstrad CPC464

Published in Amstrad Action #8


Though billed as a game of senseless destruction, Panzadrome has a lot more to do with senseless frustration. The "Panzadrome" itself is an island teeming with robot tanks, strewn with landmines and bristling with gun turrets, all of them hostile. Now, all you have to do is destroy it. All of it. The whole island.

Your vehicle is displayed in detail at the start of each game, first as its main components - chassis, wheels and 80mm gun - and secondly as a whole. This then drives off the side of the screen, and you switch to the overhead view of an area of island complete with buildings, roads, and a stretch of beach. There's also your vehicle - small, blue and nothing like the pre-game diagram - and the enemy, in the form of prowling robot tanks. You have to blast your way through the opposition, in search of factories to equip your vehicle with more exciting weaponry.

The opposition come in three main types. The easiest are the standard tanks whose guns, like your 80mm, need a clear line of fire and several hits to kill anything. More deadly are the mortar tanks, which can lob their bombs over intervening buildings to hit you. Worst of all, but thank-fully stationary, are the "mega-turrets". These bombard you mortar-fashion, and can only be destroyed by repeated shots at point blank range.


All of these will deplete your armour, and once that is destroyed will start to damage your vehicle's systems. Mines, on the other hand, will cause systems damage immediately. They are triggered by your driving over them, and in tight spots can be hard to avoid. Worse still, they are visible only on the separate mine-scanner display. The only way to clear them is to re-equip with mine-proof caterpillar tracks - and for that, you have to find the appropriate factory.

This would add up to a straightforward mine-dodging shoot-'em-up, but for one problem - craters. Every time you destroy an enemy tank, every time a mortar tank or mega-turret scores a near miss, you are left with a crater. These craters are permanent, and seriously obstructive. You cannot drive or fire shells over them. If a narrow passage has only one crater, it becomes impassable. Indiscriminate fire can easily leave you blocked in and forced to abort the game, so great care is needed. The solution is once again to re-equip, this time with a "polycrete" module. Polycrete is a type of quick-setting cement ideally suited for filling in craters, as luck would have it. Of course, the problem is finding the factory.

The graphics on all of this are colourful, but extremely unrealistic - the tanks in particular are small and very "untanklike". The sound is very weak, the only useful effect being the blip-blip noise made by incoming mortar bombs. The gameplay, then, has to carry the game and in the early stages it looks quite promising. There's an enormous amount of frustration involved at first, boxing yourself in with your own shell-craters or getting wrecked by sitting in a turret's firing line. Once you're equipped properly, though, most of this ceases to apply. The later game is quite dull, and not really worth the effort of getting that far. The Panzadrome isn't that large either - there are 64 screens, but many of these serve no particular purpose. What you really need is some sort of reward for your effort and patience. What you get is more of the same, and a score apparently fixed at 0%. Is frustration really all you want in a game?

Second Opinion


Initially quite intriguing, but it rapidly palled. The graphics are too abstract to be very pleasurable and the gameplay soon becomes confusing and frustrating.

Third Opinion

The graphics are the most disappointing thing. After all that build up with hi-res tank pictures... you get a garish bunch of blocky colour. The gameplay I found distinctly frustrating because you can get trapped so easily and one mistake may blow you away and you'll have to start all over again. Needs a fair amount of improvement in my book.

Good News

P. Plenty of tough opposition to blast through.
P. New equipment varies the gameplay.

Bad News

N. Very frustrating.
N. Poor graphics.
N. Lengthy, irrelevant start sequences.

Green Screen View

Very hard to tell what is what and what's going on.

Adam Waring

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