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Scorched Earth (game)

Scorched Earth is a popular shareware computer game from the PC-DOS era, in which a player can adjust the angle and power of their tank turret to launch one of an arsenal of weapons in order to destroy the opponent's tank. The game also offers a variety of payload choices, ranging from simple bombs to MIRV warheads. There are also Earth weapons, allowing the player to dump dirt on other tanks or to remove ground from beneath them. A tank which is covered with dirt has to shoot itself free and may get damaged in the process, one which falls from too high a level may get destroyed (there are parachutes, shields etc. to counter these effects).

The effects of many of these weapons are highly unpredictable, giving that the missiles bounce off the walls, can be manipulated in their flight-path by wind, shields and guidance systems, and often have partially random effects. As the player advances in the game, he can afford more and more weapons -- but so can his opponents.

The AI players can be configured to put text messages on the screen before and after their shots, which are read from two plaintext files TALK1.CFG (messages before firing, e.g. "I shall smash your ugly tank!") and TALK2.CFG (messages before dying, e.g. "Join the army, see the world they said"); creative users can of course come up with new sayings, translations and other uses.

The game can be played against up to nine other human players and/or computer-controlled ones; a broad range of differently skilled player types is offered by the program. If the player-controlled tanks are destroyed before the others, the AI-controlled players continue to battle each other, effectively turning Scorched Earth into a zero-player game.

While the graphics are simple by modern standards, the game is still considered quite playable by many, and some even find it addictive.

The popular Worms games were based on a similar format.

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