Dark Century

Action 1990 Dos Dosbox Titus Interactive Science Fiction Strategic scope

Intriguing but not entirely successful shooting thrills

If science fiction and hi-tech tanks are your thing, then Dark Century might make for an entertaining blast from the past but it's likely that its simplistic nature will wear thin pretty quickly, making this a short-term play at best. The player takes control of a squad of neat little tanks that are armed to the teeth with devastating weaponry and must head out on to the battlefield and face down a similarly armed group of enemy tanks. The goal is of course simple: blast them to smithereens while protecting your own tanks. What makes the game slightly unusual is the ability to program your tanks and then send them out onto the battlefield, marking it out as something different from your typical shooter. While this is an intriguing notion, it's clearly aimed at something other than your usual game, requiring a bit of time to be spent with the manual before you can enter the fray with any degree of confidence. This is a shame as the alternative, to play the game as a typical shooter, is just as disappointing as it is rather shallow and gets repetitive pretty quickly. Visually, the game is appealing in a minimalist sort of way, with some pleasingly chunky tanks but some pretty dull backgrounds and although some effort has been made to jazz them up with bases and the like in the background, there is a certain sense of sameyness to the affair. Likewise with the sound, which consists merely of repetitive bleeps and drones and which induces a headache with alarming speed, causing most players to reach swiftly for the volume control. Dark Century could have been something intriguing but unfortunately is held back by both its own ambitions and the limitations of the period in which it was produced. It straddles two styles but unfortunately doesn't really succeed in either and simply comes across as a bold experiment which doesn't hit the mark.

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