This week's Xbox Live Arcade release is an updated version of the legendary Death Tank, one of the most celebrated, and yet under-played party games ever developed. Devised and programmed by Ezra Dreisbach of Lobotomy Software, the full DT experience is difficult to convey, but it's usually described as a kind of real-time version of Scorched Earth or Worms, as if that's enough to convey the refined, distilled genius of this game. It isn't.
Of course, chances are that you've never played it, because getting access to the game was an ordeal in itself. To access the original version required a US copy of Saturn title Exhumed (aka Powerslave) and you needed to completely vanquish the game, not just by defeating the final level but also by locating hidden "Team Dolls" dotted throughout the levels - a task worthy of a strategy guide in itself. Even after that, you needed the Saturn's eight-player multi-tap to get the full party experience. Things got easier when Lobotomy released its Saturn conversions of Duke Nukem 3D and Quake, which auto-unlocked the improved Death Tank Zwei if you had an existing save-game from another Lobotomy release on your system.