When I first saw that Universal was turning the classic Milton Bradley game Battleship into a film, I just shook my head. Upon learning that the fellers at Double Helix Games were making a video game version of the motion picture adaptation, I felt like crying — and that was before I learned the game (and the movie) focused on an alien invasion! Yes, from the original pen-and-paper version that originated in 1943, to the various electronic board game and PC/console variations that have come and gone since then, there has always been something missing from the Battleship equation, and now that void has been filled: aliens.
Manufactured by people with little to no imagination, the video game strays from the whole concept of Battleship by turning it into another boring first-person shooter title — something the original Milton Bradley creators surely must have had in mind when they made the strategy game to begin with. Playing the part of a military explosives specialist, gamers get to gambol about in Hawaii and take out the surprisingly humanoid-looking alien beings that suddenly invade the world when they decide it’s time to punish the planet responsible for turning video games into movies and (vice versa).
As you do your damnedest to stop this extraterrestrial blitzkrieg, you travel from one location to another — re-powering terminals vital to the military forces your serve, and taking out stations built up by the enemy. Meanwhile, out at sea, the diligent men and women aboard the various warships defending the human race have been pit against gigantic alien vessels — which you can control and command via a remote laptop you carry about with you. It is there that one sees anything even remotely bearing any sort of resemblance to the source material here — and it is so fleetingly transparent that it will most likely have you reaching for the remote to eject the game.
In order to keep things interesting (as interesting as they can be, that is), the developers at Double Helix have included Wild Cards — which are power-up items you can use when you’re in battleship mode. Usually found when you 86 alien marauders, these spinning medals can be deployed to boost the armor, radar, and missile power of your ships at sea. Yeah, that really makes you want to play it all the more, doesn’t it? Interestingly enough, the Nintendo release of this one is a completely different affair, and is an actual strategy game. So why did they make two different issues for this title? Sure beats the tar out of me, kids.
Do yourself a favor and sink this Battleship before it sets sail.
Battleship is rated T (Teen) by the ESRB for Mild Language and Violence. This game can also be found on: Xbox 360, Wii, Nintendo 3DS, Nintendo DS.