Battleship! Is it a board game, a movie or a video game? Well, it’s all three.
The Hasbro board game originally produced by Milton Bradley in 1943 has launched yet another first person shooter video game, available for Xbox 360, Playstation 3 and Wii on May 15. The movie, a sci-fi action flick, was released in the U.S. on May 18. Obviously, the operative phrase this month is, “Prepare for battle.”
For those of us who spent significant childhood hours placing red and white pegs in our Battleship board games and shouting, “You sunk my battleship,” and who now spend just as many adult hours collecting the same pieces off the floor prior to vacuuming so as not to suck the teeniest of board game pieces into oblivion, there’s a feeling of nostalgia and, for me, a joy that there is a first-person shooter game to which I can relate. Almost.
Thinking I would man my battleships – you know, carriers, frigates, cruisers, destroyers, submarines and the legendary USS Missouri battleship – to win the war, I anticipated seeing my fleet. Instead I assumed the persona of Cole Mathis, a bomb disposal expert with the U.S. Navy on land. We find Mathis on a training mission in the Hawaiian Islands when none other than … duh ta duh … the aliens attack. Aliens again? I shot aliens last week in Mass Effect 3. I was hoping to attack and shoot other battleships, like the game, envisioning “B-10” followed by a “hit,” type scenario. But this video game is based on the new sci-fi movie of the same name, more than the board game.Here we guide Mathis on the beach where he attacks aliens. We take him from one tropical and beautiful, although dark, Hawaiian island to shoot human-like aliens until they stop moving. Mathis commands battleships – bloody ones, I might add – deploying them here, there and yonder, and he blows things up, being the explosives expert and all. There are some other weapons in the arsenal including a pistol, carbine and shotgun, and then two alien weapons that can be picked up off the dead enemies.
Battleship the board game has a strategy. First, you want to place your battleships as randomly as possible so that it takes your opponent a long time to locate and sink them. Second, you want to identify where your opponent has placed his/her ships and sink them quicker than they sink yours. There’s strategy in placing your ships and in identifying possible targets of your opponent’s ships. You want to try and think like your opponent while masking your ships’ locations.
It stands to reason that a shooter video game named after the board game would also include some strategy or likeness to the game. Not so. There is no strategy. You seek, shoot and destroy aliens. Opportunities arise to gain Wild Cards, which give you more armor and fire power. But as far as strategy goes, there is none.
One thematic likeness to the board game exists, however. While you (Mathis) are island hopping and shooting on land-based missions, you can bring up a map by pushing the left shoulder button and call up your ships to come in and target enemy ships. You also have to ensure these ships don’t get blocked in by the enemy fleet. So there’s the connection between the board game and the video game. And it’s an exciting likeness. Commanding ships is fun and does allow a break from the monotony of shooting that other shooter games don’t have.Battleship the video game is rated “T” for Teen. It’s fairly violent and bloody, including “kills” at close range. It also includes multiple expletives, although not the big bad ones that would require an “M” rating for mature. Game play from beginning to end is five to six hours. The cost is $39.
Not sure I’d sink dollars or time into Battleship, the video game. The storyline is less than explosive, the strategy bombs, and the electronic board game is available for endless play.