Well, if there’s one thing that can be said about Super Battleship, it’s this: it encourages kids to get away from their video game consoles. That’s not because Super Battleship is a particularly bad game, though; it’s because, much like Checkers for the Intellivision, this game somehow doesn’t offer a two-player mode. If you want to start up a rousing game of Battleship with your best buddy, you’re better off buying a copy of the actual board game. The only reason you’d play this over the original is if you didn’t have anyone else to play with.
That’s if you’re talking about the classic, non-Super mode, that is. There’s another mode, too—one that’s actually considered the main mode of this game. Naturally, this mode turns Battleship into a turn-based strategy game.
Because nothing says Battleship like a turn-based strategy game.
In this mode, you and the computer take turns sailing around a large body of water trying to get the upper hand and ultimately decimate one another. On your turn, you can move forward a few spaces, or, if you’re close enough, you can attack. When you attack, the game switches to a first-person view from within the ship, where you can fire your cannons and torpedoes at your opponent until either one of you is sunk or one of you quits.
You can also choose to skip your turn, but when you do this, you don’t actually skip your turn, as you might (for some reason) assume. You actually move one space in whatever direction you’re facing. This was probably done to add realism. After all, in a real naval battle, you can’t just tell your ship to ignore the waves and sit in this particular spot for a few turns. Just like how in a real naval battle, every ship sits quietly and waits its turn to move or attack.
There are various merchants sailing around while you’re doing battle with your enemy. I haven’t yet figured out why. I think they might just be there to distract you, because I haven’t found that killing them adds or deducts points from your total score (possibly because there is no total score), and I never saw any way to purchase goods from them.
If you take too long on your turn, your turn just ends with no warning. There’s no timer, or anything to indicate that you must make your decision within a set time limit. You just forfeit your turn without even knowing it. There’s also no easily accessible pause button—you have to traverse multiple menus in order to locate it. The start button, of course, serves only to cancel whatever action you’re trying to perform. All of this adds up to a game that is not good for playing while you’re firing off instant messages to your beloved.
The actual action of the game—the fierce struggle between ship and ship to see who can get the other blown up the quickest—is surprisingly frantic. You may even find yourself, dare I say, getting into it! However, you’ll probably get right out of it whenever you try to switch weapons, and see that by the time the game registers that you were trying to switch weapons and actually allows you to switch weapons, your opponent has already sunk your ship and in fact won the battle.
There are four different missions available in Super Battleship mode, three of which can be easily beaten within five minutes on your first try, and one of which is completely impossible, because I can’t figure out how to get my four tiny ships to defeat the one big ship. Once you’ve completed all four missions, you can…I don’t know, play Classic mode again a few more times. There are four different difficulties to choose from in Classic mode, though, as they each have elusive names like “Lieutenant” and “Admiral” instead of “Very Easy” and “Hard”; I couldn’t tell you what any of them actually mean. Other than that, Classic mode is all you’d expect, save for one thing—you fire three shots on each turn instead of one. A minor point, I know, but a minor point worth noting.
And that’s pretty much it. You might be thinking there isn’t really any reason to go back to this game after you’ve completed it, but you’re wrong; there isn’t really any reason to play it in the first place. Super Battleship just isn’t that great of a game. It is what it is. You don’t buy a game called Super Battleship and expect wonderful things. If you bought Super Battleship and you expected more than you got, it’s YOU who has the problem, man, not Super Battleship. Clearly, the game was just destined to be mediocre.