|Author:||Wayne Westmoreland and Terry Gilman|
|Compatibility:||Model I and III, disk and tape|
Portion of an Adventure International advertisement from the April 1983 issue of 80 Micro
Armored Patrol was one of the most popular TRS-80 games, described by Owen Linzmayer in Creative Computing as “a classic in every sense of the word.” It was distributed by Adventure International and written by Wayne Westmoreland and Terry Gilman, the first of their games for the TRS-80. Unlike their other Adventure International games, Armored Patrol was never ported to any other computers.
Armored Patrol was based on the arcade game Battlezone, released by Atari in 1980. Battlezone used vector graphics to depict a tank battle with a first-person 3‑D view, a real innovation at the time. The player controlled a tank that could rotate 360 degrees. The goal was to destroy the enemy tanks that could be anywhere on the battlefield, even behind the player. Other obstacles were pyramids, which could block the enemy tanks, and even the occasional UFO.
Here is an overview of Armored Patrol from a 1982 Adventure International catalog:
If you think you’ve seen it all game-wise, then Adventure International has a program for you! Armored Patrol is a 3‑D arcade-style game that is a definite heavyweight in the action department! Your mission is to patrol your sector and destroy all enemy tanks and robots with your tank’s high energy plasma weapon. Fueling the excitement is a realistic you-are-there perspective that lets the player view the action from the inside of his powerful T-36 tank as it prowls an alien landscape in search of the waiting enemy. Armored Patrol is packed with lots of extras, including running score tally, sound, and high score display. But the most impressive feature of Armored Patrol is the incredible graphics which create the total illusion of movement and dimension. Armored Patrol accommodates one or two players so you can share the action with a friend!
Title screen of Tank Zone 2000
Gameplay in Tank Zone 2000
The original version of Armored Patrol, which resembled Battlezone more closely, was named Tank Zone 2000. According to Wayne Westmoreland, Adventure International requested a different name and other changes to distinguish it from Battlezone. The primary changes involved substituting houses for pyramids and robots for UFO’s. I personally think the changes were an improvement because opaque houses look much better than transparent pyramids.
Title screen of Armored Patrol
Gameplay of Armored Patrol
Much like the arcade game, the controls for Armored Patrol were a bit unusual. Battlezone provided two joysticks, one for each tank tread. Armored Patrol continued this idea with its keyboard controls: the left tread was controlled with the A and Z keys and the right tread with the ; and . keys. (Looking at the positions of those keys on the keyboard will make it clearer.) Although logical, those controls took a bit of practice to get used to. Armored Patrol used the joystick in a more conventional fashion; LEFT rotated left, RIGHT rotated right, UP moved forward, and DOWN moved backward.
In 1995, Wayne Westmoreland released all of their TRS-80 games into the public domain. You can download Tank Zone 2000, Armored Patrol, and all of their other games here: