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Battle Ships

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Released: 1988

Genre: Strategy

Format reviewed: ZX Spectrum

Publisher: Encore

Developer: Keith Burkhill / Rory Green / Paul Walker

Submitted by: Crispian Driver

I'm not sure how many people reading this will remember the advert for the MB Computer Battle Ships Electronic Board Game. I personally can never forget the "You've sunk my battle ship!" that the losing lad shouted out in it. Well, this is the same game bought to the home computer.

Battle Ships was originally a full price game by Elite Systems Limited, that only got released on a 'Hit-Pak' compilation. A few years later, Encore released it as an individual budget game.

The idea is simple, Battle Ships is set on a 20 X 20 grid. You have six ships, you must place on this grid. These ships can be rotated as you place them on the grid. Your ships range from being two squares big on the grid, to six squares big on the grid. Your opponent (human or computer) has the same. The winner is the person who defeats the opponents fleet first.

Not knowing where the other person has placed their ships, you take turns placing sets of missile shots on the grid hoping to destroy the enemies fleet. At the start of the game, you have six ships. For every ship you have afloat, you have four shots you can place on your enemies grid. So, with your six ships at the start, you can place a total of twenty-four shots against your foe. Every time you lose a ship, you lose four shots off the total you can fire at your enemy, reducing your chances of hitting one of their boats.

Once you've placed your target shots, you see a nice screen of your missiles being fired at your foes boats, so you see a hit if you get one. When you get back on your grid view, the hit spot is a different colour, so you can place missiles on squares around the spot until the ship is sunk.

Battle Ships plays really well on keyboard or joystick. It's great fun against the computer, but even better if played properly against a human opponent. The graphics, colour use and sound are all good enough. This is a good, enjoyable game.

There are plenty of arguements for the pros and cons of bringing Board Games to the home computer, Battle Ships recreates the Board Game very well, with some nice touches added on. Also, with my Spectrum, i always had someone i could play against. You don't have the hassle of setting it up either. I enjoyed Battle Ships both ways, i'll let the reader decide which they prefer.