In classic mode, you are presented with a tile grid that should be familiar to anyone who has played the board game. You place your ships (you can rotate them with the B button) and when you’re ready hit start and select a difficulty for your opponent. Because the screen is shared, there is no local coop play. The classic game plays out exactly the way the board game does with one exception – instead of firing each turn, you fire 3 times per turn. This speeds the game up considerably, and I think it’s a nice touch. You win when you sink all of your enemy’s ships, and lose when all of yours are sunk.
In super battleship mode, the game is completely different. You’re given command of a set number of ships per scenario, and have to sink the opponents ships in a certain amount of turns. In this mode, issuing commands is turn based, but combat is real time. When engaging the enemy, you have to aim and fire the guns from your ship to sink them before they sink you. It plays OK, but it’s hardly thrilling. After playing all 4 initial scenarios (there are more you can unlock or use codes to access), I wished that there was an auto-combat button so that I wouldn’t have to manually sink the ships.
To put it mildly, gameplay is rather boring. The ship battles are the most interactive part, and they don’t have you doing much. The strategy portion is pretty basic and I don’t think it would interest strategy game fans at all. I will say this, at the time of release (1993), there were pretty slim pickings for strategy gamers on home consoles, and so I have to give a little credit to this one for being one of the few in the genre.
Graphics are pretty bland and uninteresting – it’s definitely not pushing the Genesis in any way in that department. They are adequate, but nothing to write home about and would be right at home on the Master System or NES and look very dated for a 93 release. Sound… is pretty bad. There are only 3 music tracks that I heard (victory, defeat, and super battleship mode background) – there is no music in the classic mode. Sound effects are fine, but nothing stood out as great.
Overall, I wasn’t too impressed with Super Battleship – it feels like a budget release. The classic mode is the only thing I can see coming back to, but even then it’s not very interesting just playing against AI every time.
Verdict: Back on the shelf. I don’t see a reason to go back to this one.