Battledrome: The Beginning





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Uploaded on Jan 5, 2010

Battledrome was produced in 1995 and represented an off-shoot of the Earthsiege series. It was intended for player-versus-player combat.

Here I try the controls of a HERC again after years away from this ancient DOS-based game. The player starts out as a rookie Cadet (video time 00:40) with a Stryder-class HERC (i.e. the lightest robot in the game) and has to work his/her way up the ladder in the single-player mode. Limited capacity means the usual fretting over: a better shield generator? More armor? Heavier weapons?

At video time 01:45, I head to the Ladder to seek out computer opponents. I pick the guy right above me, failing to notice that he's busy...and the next guy after that fobs me off with a taunt. He accepts the second time, though, and we enter the Negotiations screen.

Negotiations is where you get to bargain to do battle on your terms, and wager money on the outcome of the duel plus set conditions for victory, and so forth. I prefer destruction of an opponent - that is SO much more satisfying than, say, 25% damage - and smaller arenas.

Tip about Mini arenas: You start out facing each other, and it quickly turns into a slugging match that can lead to costly repair bills, outweighing even your winnings if you defeat your foe. Hence I try to avoid Mini arenas.

The first duel begins! (Video time 02:38). I love Blasters!...excellent weapons to wear opponents down with. Interesting to note how an opponent's HERC loses its paint and turns grey, once you've taken out the shields and start chipping off the armor. After blowing Charmer's HERC's leg off, I get my first winnings and decide to...buy a new ride.

As a Tier 10 Pilot, I can only pick the lightest HERCs'...so I get an Avenger, the best I can purchase for now. It can carry more but hmm...a Mine launcher? Can't remember how to use Mines. Oh, never mind. I omit purchasing a launcher. At least I don't have to worry about paying for reloads.

I take some time to again agonize over the reactor vs. engine vs. armor vs. shield generator choice, then go pound on my second hapless opponent (06:35). However, his Stryder easily outmaneuvered my slower Avenger - which could be costly if I was facing a skilled foe. Looks like I need to visit the HERC bay again and upgrade my engine...

The last part of the video shows a few of the pages I've scanned from my vintage Battledrome manual, earlier today! This, plus the other manuals I recently rediscovered...including the original manuals for the Earthsiege Expansion Pack and Darklands (which are a whole lot nicer than the copies circulating on the abandonware sites nowadays)...brings back memories of the good old DOS-games' days.


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