For all the buzz surrounding PSP's wireless multiplayer, there's a distinct lack of games intended for combat against other human players. When have you ever seen a group of friends huddled on a bus, a tube or even sat in same room competing against each other? The answer is never.
BattleZone hopes to change all that. Although it offers a series of single-player tournaments through which you earn extra hover tanks and weapons, the four-player multiplayer mode is really the only reason you should consider buying the game.
All the games you now expect to find as standard in a multiplayer-focused title are present and correct (Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch, Capture the Flag), plus three more going by the names of Hot Zone, Blackout and Lone Wolf. In Hot Zone the idea is to hold numerous positions on a map and turn them to your team's colour for extra points, while Lone Wolf pits one player against everyone else. Every game can be customised to your liking, from the types of tanks and camouflage to the weapons and the time limit.
The deliberately small maps force aggressive close-combat fighting. Each tank is equipped with two weapons of your choosing, plus a plasma shield that you'll quickly need to master and use to good effect if you're to avoid spending most of your time at the respawn screen. As well as your opponents, there are automated gun turrets that enjoy taking a pop at nearby tanks regardless of whose side they're on, nodes that give you a boost up to raised platforms, and low-flying vehicles that dish out crucial power-ups that are vital for firing certain weapons.
This is a seriously old-school shoot 'em up with the distinct novelty of controlling tanks rather than running around on foot. The single player game still needs some work, but if you plan on hooking up with other players it looks great. It's about time PSP had an out-and-out multiplayer blaster.
A quick and immediate multiplayer shooter that deserves a decent fanbase.