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For some time now two-player games have been all the rage. Now you can not only take on another player at tank warfare, but he/she can be at the other end of a modem link. Unfortunately it is restricted to those with Hayes compatible modems, but it is a step in the right direction.

You are in control of a tank that starts life safely ensconced in its own fortress. The task is to find and attack the enemy fortress, capture its flag and return to base. The action is viewed from above, with a vertically split screen for the two player game.

The tank can be one of three types, each having different speeds, fuel capacity, armour, number of mines and capacity to rescue men. Each fortress is composed of a large number of gun turrets and other buildings. As you rumble around you have to watch the guns, mines and helicopters that can blast the rivets out of your tank.

You can destroy just about everything in the game, even the trees and the little men that run out of destroyed buildings. You can also rescue your own men and return them to base. The two-player game is a straight race/battle to get the opponents flag first, while in the one-player game you have a limited number of lives to do it in.

The graphics are OK but lack variety. The sound effects are more pleasing - a near constant series of large explosions. Certainly best played with two, but even then the action eventually becomes repetitive.

Firepower logo

Price: £19.95

Firepower puts you in the driving seat of a tank traversing a huge desert blowing away anything unfortunate enough to get in your way, with the aim of capturing the enemy's flag. The desert is spanned by a network of roads which are used to get from location to location. You can drive over the desert but this slows the tank down. It won't be long, though, before you come across hostile gun emplacements, which are easily identifiable as they are a different colour to your own.

Fortunately you have the weaponry to dispose of them and after a few hits from your missiles they explode to the sound of a sampled BOOM leaving just a smouldering pile of rubble. In fact just about every ground feature can be destroyed, one way or another and there is some serious fun to be had as you trundle around laying waste to anything and everything.

It is important to remember that tanks do not run on fresh air and if your limited supply of fuel should hit zero, your tank very thoughtfully explodes to ensure that it does not get taken by the enemy. Enemy fuel depots are rife, and just waiting to be destroyed in order to replenish your tank's supplies.

By battling through your opponent's heavily guarded territory and wiping out his home base, you can capture his flag, and by returning to base with it, you can sit back in the smug satisfaction that you have completed the mission. That is about all there is to the one player mode, apart from a few subtasks such as rescuing your fellow soldiers from the battlefield as they run towards you, and depositing them safely at a nearby station.

It is in the two-player mode, however, that the game comes into its own. The packaging blurb makes a big thing out of the player vs player mode, and quite rightly so. The display is split into two independently scrolling screens, one for each player, and there is a real sense of competition as you and a friend attempt to blow away as much of each other's territory as possible in your quest for the opposition's flag.

Firepower features some attractively designed and well animated graphics (although the scrolling is a little jerky when you get up to high speed) and plenty of explosions.

The action can prove a little too tedious on your own, but this minor quibble should not put you off indulging in this enjoyable and well executed game. If you were a fan of Jackal or Tank in the arcades and are looking for something of that genre, hang some fluffy dice from your monitor for authenticity and get trundling.