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[typing]
Battleship!
It’s a ship!
It’s a board game!
It’s a… movie for some reason?
It’s also a PC game,
which thanks to NMS Software
and Hasbro Interactive,
yeah, it exists!
This is the 1996 PC version of
the ultimate naval warfare game,
which I discovered thanks to the local library
keeping a copy on hand back in the ’90s.
As soon as I saw this box
and those screenshots,
I knew I had to check it out.
I mean, Battleship was already
a fun time to me back then, and
Electronic Battleship was even better.
But computerized Battleship
with high-resolution graphics?
CLEARLY this was the peak of the franchise!
Which was verified to 11-year-old me when
I saw that it came on not just one CD-ROM
but two.
Although it wasn’t because
the game was that huge,
it was because the
second CD could be used
by someone on another
computer to play multiplayer.
You also got a registration card for Hasbro,
a supplemental instruction sheet that
covers the iffiness of Windows 95 gaming,
and a jewel case manual
featuring WAY more information than
the manual for the board game ever did,
reasons for which will become apparent quite soon.
The Ship of Battles begins with a
battalion of logos and ship like that,
followed by a full-motion video into sequence
with a more believable plot than the movie ever had.
Look! There’s things to destroy!
There are battleships to destroy said things.
There you go.
After this, you get a main menu
which lets you play single or multiplayer,
as well as change around a few options,
like adjusting video quality, difficulty and
“radar presentation.”
Mmm, so authentic.
Let’s boot up a solo game mode
which starts you off with a…
[soulful voice]
“Practice Mode…”
Classic practice mode is the same
exact gameplay as the board game,
but here you’ll note that there are
a whole lot more things to do here.
Clash At Sea,
Air Superiority,
Capture The Island,
Global Thermonuclear War,
Shall We Play A…
What–what is all this mess?
Well, you see, this was during the time
when simple board game
translations were no longer enough
for computer gaming.
They had to pack these full of all sorts of
extra modes that no one asked for, and
maybe weren’t even that good,
all in the name of convincing people to buy
yet another computerized board game.
Battleship in particular had all sorts
of virtual adaptations before ’96,
on all sorts of computers
and consoles the world over,
dating all the way back to the late-’70s.
And those are just the somewhat official ones.
Beyond that, you had dozens,
maybe even hundreds of knockoffs
that let you play the classic Battleship game
on your computer of choice.
By the time this one had come around,
Hasbro Interactive had
started up a whole new wave
of traditional board and card
game releases for computers,
and Battleship was no exception.
But let’s take a look at
the classic gameplay mode,
which is far and away the mode
that I played the most as a kid and
still do.
You start by placing your
battleships on your ocean grid
in the same way you do in the board game,
while your opponent does the same.
You don’t have to worry about
calling out grid coordinates as you play
and instead, just point and click
on the spot you want to fire upon.
What’s neat here is that for every move,
you’re treated to an audio-visual spectacle
of your offensive tactics and resulting destruction.
What’s even neater
is that you can select which
vessel that you want to do the firing,
which gives you a tiny little bit of
what feels like control,
even though it kind of isn’t.
It just gives you a unique animation,
depending on what’s going on.
So there’s a lot more to take in
each time you play than it first seems.
Or there would be, if 60% of the video
wasn’t covered up by all
these ugly interface elements.
Still this was supremely
sweet to me as a young lad.
I was that kind of kid, always
saving up money to buy the next
great fighter jet model or
creating armies of paper
airplane and LEGO creations.
Being able to play a game that
I was already so familiar with and
then see all this killer destruction on my screen
alongside it was just entirely too awesome.
It didn’t matter that the AI was predictable,
the full-motion video was super compressed,
and gameplay was boring after a game or two.
Battleship for the PC was one of those games
that fueled my imagination for the rest of the day
and had me running off to design my own
airplanes and ships with a pencil and paper.
But remember that large manual and those
extraneous game modes to choose from?
Yeah, well turns out there was a ton
more to this version of Battleship.
Back then I didn’t even bother with these extra modes
because they confused the crap out of me.
And now…
Well, I wouldn’t even bother with these modes
because they confuse the crap out of me.
All right, maybe “confuse” is the wrong word here.
It’s not that they’re unlearnable,
it’s just that the implementation
isn’t very effective.
So you got a whole bunch of missions that
aren’t based on any kind of story or anything.
They’re mostly just there to fill up space.
It’s a bunch of skirmishes and
things that you have to do,
like what you would see in
a flight simulator game, or
a war gaming… game.
Scenarios to play through,
objectives to complete.
It’s not really put together with any kind
of narrative and it doesn’t really need it.
That’s not my complaint.
What I have an issue here
with is just that it doesn’t
work very well at all. Like it–
For one thing, there’s just a lot of
confusion with the interface itself.
Not only is it still in the way, but
you have to do things like
zooming in and out of the map,
which just doesn’t work very fluidly, and
controlling different fleets,
which, again, just doesn’t work very well.
You have to kind of decipher
what is attacking you where,
what to do about it at any given time, and
the tools that it gives you just aren’t sufficient
for making this very fun.
Going from an overarching map
to the traditional grid scheme for battles
is bizarre and ’cause it all takes place in real time.
It’s no longer turn-based here,
so things are just kind of all over the place,
with animations going in the background CONSTANTLY.
You don’t necessarily know if
you need to address them.
It’s just bombarding you with information.
Half of it’s useless,
the other half is just hard to control.
But yeah, it’s still Battleship
and it still gets my imagination going in a
way that makes me feel like a kid again.
I like the classic practice mode
of this Battleship version,
and I do like those full-motion video
background things going on.
It’s just neat to see the
submarine and do a thing
when I tell the submarine to do a thing.
Obviously, it’s not much now
and those extra game modes
don’t hold up very well at all.
In fact, they just weren’t
very fun back then, either.
I don’t know if I’d recommend it, but I will say
that this is a thing that exists
and now I’ve talked about it and I feel better.
And I hope that perhaps it brought
back a memory or two for you as well.
And if you enjoyed this video,
then maybe you’d like to see some of my others.
I’ve got one here on DOOM and one here on
playing Fallout 4 and other
things on a black-and-white TV
though HDMI conversions and stuff.
It’s pretty neat, I think,
so watch those if you would care to,
or subscribe to see more in the future
every Monday and Friday here on LGR.
And as always, thank you for watching–
Aw, you sank my battleship, ya jerk!

100 thoughts on “LGR – Battleship – PC Game Review

  1. The movie isn't actually that bad. It's a decent action film. Plus, it has Brooklyn Decker in it!

  2. Could you review the version of The Game of Life that you showed in this video? I loved that game!!!

  3. Normally I would say that the original is always better but after seeing this video, I'm glad that I played all my childhood on a basic Battleship knockoff called "Admiral Command"!

  4. I usually play Battleship with a house rule. The house rule gives you two carpet bomb runs. What this means is that, twice per game, you can call a whole row or column instead of a single coordinate…it's treated as if you had attacked every single spot in that row/column. It adds more strategy to the game (by severely punishing having multiple ships in a row/column) and shortens game length by a few minutes…allowing you to play three games when you'd only have time for two with normal rules. I strongly recommend this mode…you will enjoy it.

  5. Ah, Battleship. This is one version I haven't played before, but it looks like the extra modes aren't really worth writing home about. The FMV's are really cool for 1996 though! … Too bad it seems like most of the production budget went into that rather than the gameplay for the extra modes.

    I think the most interesting take on the Battleship formula I've seen is Super Battleship on the SNES and Genesis/MD. Aside from having classic Battleship, it also features a turn-based strategy game with arcade elements, including obligatory abuse of mode 7. Of course, the core gameplay is quite ponderous as a result, and not at all helped by absolutely horrendous in-game music.

  6. Do you remember a 2d dos submarine hunting game in which you controlled a ship driving left or right on the surface, (destroyer, cruiser or yamato class only varying in size and therefore area to get hit)? you had to send sonar pings to different depths to scout out submarines before they killed you with torpedos. very simple game, kind of like an asymmetric battleship. I loved that one as a kid, would love to play it again some time.

  7. This does bring back memories of playing the battleship board game with my dad when I was little.

  8. Fun fact: I have a scar across the top of my head (covered by my hair thankfully) from when my brother threw an Electronic Battleship game at me when I beat him at it one too many times when we were kids. I needed to get rushed to hospital and get stitches. He was a very sore looser.

  9. A free copy of the game so you can play it with someone? That's so nice and too bad it's never gonna happen now ; (

  10. reminds me of when I first played battleship.

    I scattered all the pieces around the house and my dad got a submarine embedded in his foot. Great times.

  11. oh wow, i remember these old Hasbro PC games: they couldn't sell them so they literally gave these things away in cereal boxes in the late 90s

  12. Great videos mate, your videos helped me a lot when I was having chemo & losing my leg from bone cancer it kept me busy when I couldn't do much & still does now a year late, I been watching since your early days, but defiantly helped a lot more when I was fighting cancer. Cheers Bruv 👍🤘😎

  13. for some reason I thought you were going to review the other Hasbro Interactive Battleship game where you through river ways on missions.

  14. I loved so many Hasbro Interactive games from that time and recently I got my old Windows 98 computer back and have been reliving times wasted in these games. They all seem to have some form of that 3D video in the background style going on.

  15. If i can remember where it got put, i have this game…wonder if i can get it working on win10

  16. Battleship is the ultimate poor man's unlicensed mobile "boardgame". I used to play it with my sister on rainy summer vacation days with just two pieces of graph paper and a pencil.
    Much more fun than Five in a Row since it had imaginary warships!

  17. Can you do some ps2 or 1 game episode . I never know what tv to use /: I want the games to look as good as possible on those consoles

  18. comes with TWO CD's for multiplayer!? Mind blown!

    Now a days everyone have to buy a separate copy to play multiplayer.

  19. My favorite version of Battleship was not a PC game but the electronic Star Wars version that came out in the 90s. So much fun!

  20. LGR, I recently watched your 2014 review of Age of Empires and I was wondering if you have ever played Galactic Battlegrounds for PC. It's a Star Wars game that runs on the AoE 2 engine and is my favorite PC and RTS game. Have you played it?

  21. It came with a second copy for multiplayer and didn't cost an extra $59.99 plus $19.99 for a DLC package?! Why can't we still have this?!

  22. Was I the only one who played the version of battleships where the ships didn't have to be in a straight line?

  23. I hope you review it's sister game, the Hasbro Interactive version of RIsk! I wasted so many hours of my life playing "Ultimate Risk" mode and reenacting the Napoleonic Wars.

  24. 90s developers hadn't yet quite gotten the hint that it's a horrible idea to offer both real-time and turn-based in the same game (Total War notwithstanding). It was the major complaint in X-Com Apocalypse, Fallout Tactics and Arcanum, games that would have turned out better if they'd just stuck with one mode.

  25. Hi LazyGameReviews, can you do a review/comparison thingy of all computer versions of Monopoly? I remember this one with a great "come on let's play monopoly" theme song and that was fun. But would love to see how you think it compares to others.

  26. LGR, do you have a copy of Battleship 2? I found one at a thrift store. It's a third person arcade shooter…. thing… that also includes the basic battleship game. I think it's quite fun, and it runs fine on modern machines.

  27. When I had this I only ever played the other modes, classic mode was dull to me as a kid. But attacking islands, protecting tankers, oil rigs, setting mines, setting up patrols with boats, choppers and jets on pretty sizeable map was really interesting. I'll admit the UI could be a little confusing but I managed.. and I was 7 at the time so gimme a break.

  28. Thanks LGR, I remember playing this on my windows 98-2000 pc. The good old days of, you sunk my battleship.

  29. The SNES version of Battleship was really cool. It had the board game but it also has another turn based strategy game with action sequences where you shot at the other ship.

  30. Maybe it's an idea to make a video where you got your mannerisms from like the "practice mode" thing. Duke nukem references etc. Also explaining why you love the eccentric things you love, like wood grain. Long time viewers like me know where they come from, but the newer viewers could maybe need a 101. 🙂

  31. We had the large electronic Battleship in the 80s where you had to laboriously punch in each grid coordinate and by the time you had finished you'd lost interest in actually playing it!

  32. You know a game developer/publisher is pushing network/on-line multilayer hard when the game ships with two copies of the game… A really good idea really.

  33. i have a pocket pc copy of this if anyone wants a download of it ill make one im sure its abondonware by now

  34. Oh shit, this brings back memories. When I had my first old pc as a kid, I decorated my room like a battleship and dressed up in makeshift uniforms. Pretending to be a naval commander and my room being a base, then I played the game to simulate an engagement. I still remember having a red siren light when I lost and I threw myself around to room because of the enemy fire on my "ship". That was great.

  35. I remember playing the crap-balls out of this game, I still play it from time to time. world domination was and still is my favorite game mode.

  36. In my unprofessional opinion, the RTS element of this game, the different scenarios and maps and whatnot, are a lot of fun. They can be confusing at first but playing against another player who knows what they are doing is a ton of fun, actually has decent strategy behind it. Just my 2 cents.

  37. I was going to say seeing another Battleship game on PC would be kind of cool… then I remember that World of Warships is a thing and way cooler

  38. the submarine getting hit is the same footage as the one from the command & conquer Red Alert series, isnt it?

  39. Yep, played this back in the day. Loved the CGI movies despite their repetitiveness. Although I was the opposite of you, I played exclusively in the world domination mode.

  40. hey LGR, are you aware that crappy Battleship movie that had nothing to do with the board game got a Tie in First person shooter that had even less to do with the board game and even the movie itself XD

  41. I used to play the shit out of this game. I remember I had to set my computer to another color mode to play it.

    I could play the normal battleship mode just fine, but had no idea how to play the weird turn-based campaign mode, I just thought the FMVs were insanely awesome.

  42. You should make a review on the original pen and paper game! The quality of the grid lined paper and pens, the thingy you use to block the view of the other player, oh so much to talk about!

  43. Shit…… It looks sweet now, I made explosion sounds while watching this. I've never played battleship past the b-9 version, no electronic

  44. The world domination mode is very reminiscent of the Game Boy version of Battleship, which was awesome – different weapons, ship types, and the like, it was a full-blown game that could have stood without the license (which it did, in Japan at least, as Navy Blue, it only became a tie-in when it came to US shores for some reason).

  45. i enjoyed world domination myself. set max points to 3600 and do 3 fleets 2 of 4 battleships with 2 super carriers each and one fleet of ballistic missle subs. game play was easy just had to play enough

  46. Genuine question, if you were able to rent this from the library, how did they keep you from installing it on your computer and basically keeping it for yourself?

  47. I loved Battleships as a kid! 🙂

    Years ago I made a game for iOS for a one player version with a difference, its a puzzle type Battleship game, just for shits and giggles, here it is here converted to Windows: http://www.dabzy.co.uk/files/LogicBattleships.zip

    It made me a few quid back in the day, but I give up with iOS dev, its swamped with bollocks now and not worth the effort!

  48. Am I weird or something? I absolutely loved the extra game modes as a kid; I played them far more than the classic mode. It just clicked with me for some reason. My mind must just work differently….

    Also, I think it was this game that had a different executable for more options for "classic" mode. I seem to remember it allowing for different "house rules" such as choosing a bunch of shots before actually firing any or getting to go again if you hit. Maybe it was a different game, but I thought it was this one….

  49. Ah nostalgia. I remember playing this as a kid, mostly the 2nd, "filler" part. It was before I could even read so I had no idea what was going on, after trial and error I managed to get a general idea on how to destory enemy fleets and bases, and eventrally I managed to detonate a nuke or have a nuke detonated on me, not sure exactly, I just took it as I won the game.

  50. I owned a more recent Battleship game for the computer. I don't recall the exact year, but there was an arcade mode where you sailed a battleship around islands and stuff while shooting at enemy ships with your broadside cannons. I think it may have had the subtitle Surface Thunder.

  51. I remember that game. That and some Win95-era pixel-graphics WW2 battleship game were a larger part of my childhood than I'd usually care to admit.

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