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Tanarus is a free 3D multiplayer online tank first-person shooter that was commercially released on November 30, 1997.[1] It was developed under the direction of John Smedley at Verant Interactive (which had recently parted from 989 Studios) and published by Sony Online Entertainment (SOE). Originally titled Armorgeddon, Verant was forced to change the name when another game with that name was discovered. Tanarus was in open beta from 1996 through most of 1997, and quickly gained a strong following through word-of-mouth.[citation needed] Once the game was commercially released, however, there was very little marketing effort on the part of Sony, and despite critical acclaim,[citation needed] sales were disappointing. Tanarus is now part of the Station Pass package offered by Sony Online Entertainment, which also includes Infantry and Cosmic Rift. It is now free to play and doesn't require payment of any kind.

On May 25, 2007, SOE announced the end of pay to play for all Station Pass games starting June 26, 2007.

On May 10, 2010, SOE announced the end of Tanarus effective June 10, 2010 at 12:00 PM PST.

On June 11, 2010, SOE officially shut the game down.


Game arenas (also known as "maps") allow up to four teams to play at the same time. Each team can contain up to five players. Most of the arenas were created by the player community.

Upon joining the arena, each player selects a tank to operate from the five models available. The tank may then be customized through the utilization of various weapons and support modules. Numerous combinations can be used, contingent on what the player wishes to do (capture other teams' flags or fight, for example). The player may switch tank models during the game by using one of their base's recon stations. Players see the Tanarus world through the tank’s gun turret.

There is no set objective in Tanarus, though the game presents various goals of team-based combat: Generally, to destroy the other colors' tanks, capture recon stations to provide a tactical or strategic advantage, and, finally, to capture another team's flag, bringing it back to your own base, thus destroying everyone on that team.

Regular combat

There are four sets of arenas with a set regular-type gameplay, by which any tank is accessible and no weapons are restricted. These are: Practice, Beginner, Open, Advanced (otherwise known as ADV), and Co-op.

Practice provides various arenas to help players of all ranks hone their skills. No score is gained (though bounty can still be collected and combat proceeds as normal) and there is no alteration to a player's kill-deaths ratio.

Beginner provides players with a rank of Newbie to Sergeant a place to combat each other fairly. However, because of the lack of new players in the game, the Beginner set of arenas are seldom used. Score and ratio counts here.

Open is a set of arenas for players of all ranks to combat each other. All score and ratio counts as normal.

Advanced is only available for players of the rank Sergeant and above. Here, while a player's score and ratio matters as much as anywhere else, bonuses are provided for recon captures/maintenance and other achievements by adding to a player's score.

Advanced Co-op is a set of arenas recently implemented into the game which works mostly the same as Advanced. However, in Co-op, players are required to use teamwork. Players who don't assist their teams in the Co-op arenas may be banned from the Co-op arenas. A ban from Co-op arenas does not affect access to the rest of the Tanarus arenas.

Missile wars

There are two sets of arenas utilizing a special type of combat that uses missiles and a Lightning tank: Phoenix wars and Force wars.

In Phoenix wars, a player uses a Lightning tank equipped with either Phoenix missiles or rockets (or any combination of both). Phoenix wars has its own set of arenas. Players are especially vulnerable, as they have no shields, and no stealth, so they can easily be hunted down. Without recovery, two Phoenix missiles will destroy a tank.

Force wars works much the same way, but instead uses Force missiles and no rockets; in this combat, players "force" other players up ramps, hoping to push them far enough so that the resulting fall will kill them. As such, most Force wars arenas utilize a high ceiling, and a middle platform with holes near the ramps.

Special combat

Tanarus also provides various other types of arenas, such as Duel arenas and Ten Vs. Ten arenas.

In a duel arena, up to five players join the Red or Blue team. When a player receives three deaths, they are booted out of the arena; the last player or team standing is declared the winner. If more than one player or team remains standing after fifteen minutes, who wins is determined on the remaining players' kills, deaths, and score.

Ten Vs. Ten arenas are another special type of arena that allows up to twenty players to be divided into two colors, Red or Blue. This allows for massive battles, as each team can potentially allow up to ten tanks, and the arenas are generally very small.

There is also a special type of duel available if a player is part of a team. In a team duel two teams fight against each other, with one team on each side.



The Vanguard is a well-armed medium tank with a handful of equipment bays, medium maneuverability, and medium speed. As it is well balanced the Vanguard is the most common tank found on the battlefield. Its stock Mark IV laser makes the Vanguard a good choice for most offensive missions. It should also be noted that the Vanguard is the tank of choice for Co-op combat.

Default Equipment: Mark IV and Phase Multiplier
Common in game abbreviation: Van
Bays Available: 7


The Lightning is fast, nimble, and carries a missile launcher. Each missile launcher may hold two missiles. The Lightning is an excellent missile platform and is often used for hit-and-run missions. It is also often the preferred tank for capturing enemy flags, as its speed allows the Lightning to quickly run in and out of the enemy base before taking damage. The Lightning is the only tank with 180 degrees of turret rotation, able to aim completely behind it while driving, and also has the highest degree of vertical turret incline.

Default Equipment: Missile Launcher
Common in game abbreviation: Light, Lite
Bays Available: 6


Thanks to the newly developed electro-magnetic drive train the Magrider actually floats into combat. The Magrider's turret is fixed forward, but has the unique ability to strafe - allowing it to shoot while moving horizontally. The Magrider's unique strafing ability allows it to move in a fashion that makes it difficult for less experienced pilots to accurately predict and target (this is accomplished by strafing left and right alternately at random intervals). Unfortunately, the Magrider is also difficult to handle due to a combination of its unique driving style, unique fighting style, and its fixed turret.

Default Equipment: Mark II, Phase Multiplier, and Dampener
Common in game abbreviation: Mag
Bays Available: 5


Using adaptive cloak technology the Chameleon disappears from view. Unfortunately, staying hidden is its only defense as shields cannot be activated while cloak is engaged. Because of its weak structure and the fact that the tank is near defenseless when uncloaked (most tanks can make short work of an uncloaked Chameleon) it is often not found as an offensive unit. Rather, most users tactically sneak behind enemy lines to place strategical mines in unsuspecting places, or mount surprise attacks against weak or damaged tanks. Also, some users prefer to disregard the cloaking abilities of the Chameleon, instead using shields and lasers to provide a more supportive tank, then dropping their shields and enabling cloak to sneak away if a battle turns sour.

Default Equipment: Lancer, Stealth and Cloak
Common in game abbreviation: Cham, Battle Cham
Bays Available: 5


The Devastator is the heaviest tank in Tanarus. It has the thickest armor and the largest equipment bays; many players simply call it the "Fatty". In exchange for its armor and equipment bays the Devastator is slow and cumbersome, and provides a large target for most other tanks. Its built in cannon also makes it an ideal artillery piece. Armed with fragmentation shells, the Devastator is extremely effective against any cloaked tanks. Alternately, the Devastator can be armed with AP shells to bypass shields and punch straight through to enemy armor.

Default Equipment: Cannon and Nano-Repair
Common in game abbreviation: Dev, Fatty
Bays Available: 10

Weapons / Modules


Shells—AP, Frag, or Heat—Also known as conventional weaponry, these allow a player equipped with a Cannon to shoot projectiles into the air. AP shells fire straight ahead, whereas Frag and Heat shells are launched into the air and provide a blast radius. Frag shells have greater range than Heat, but Heat have a larger radius effect with greater impact. AP and Frag shells are unique because both can partially pass through an enemy's shields to hit their tank directly.


Lasers, also known as energy weapons, are weapons consisting of three types: the Mark-type lasers, the Lancer, or the Plasma Cannon.

The Mark I laser is considered the weakest laser available, shooting a single beam in rapid succession. It is also the fastest laser. Mark II lasers fire two beams at a medium speed, inflicting more damage than Mark I lasers at a lesser range. Mark IV lasers are stronger than the other two, providing good damage at slow speed and range. A Phase Multiplier can be used to increase the power of laser weaponry with any Mark laser to increase its damage, although its range is decreased. You can tell if a player is using a Phase Multiplier when they fire a laser because Mark-type lasers are green when a Phase Multiplier is turned off or not equipped and red when one is. Phase Multiplier only works with the Mark-type lasers but has no effect on the Lancer or Plasma Cannon. Mark I's, Mark II's, and Phase Multipliers use one module bay, the Mark IV uses two.

The Lancer could be considered the strongest laser in the game, providing a massive discharge of energy at one tank. However, the Lancer requires a charge-up time to 100%, and any hit taken during or after this period (even if using shields) sends the charge back to 0%, starting the process over. Once charged the laser can be deployed at will, able to leave a half-shielded tank (a tank at 50% shields) or a tank without a Shield Boost module defenseless. The Lancer uses two bays.

The Plasma Cannon is often used in conjunction with another powerful weapon. While it inflicts massive damage to shields, it does little damage to armor and requires lots of energy to maintain. The Plasma Cannon uses two bays.


There are several types of missiles to choose from. To equip any missile, you must first have a Missile Launcher equipped, allowing up to two module bays to be used for missiles per launcher (you don't have to use both of those bays for missiles). Also note that Phoenix, Force, Guided, and Flash missiles use one bay each, and Deactivator and Battery Drain missiles use two bays each. A Missile Launcher uses two bays.

The Phoenix missile inflicts massive damage and is the strongest missile in the game. If the target player is using shields a phoenix missile will deal 30 damage to their shields and only 20 damage to their tank. If they are unshielded it does 50 damage to their tank. This behaviour is shared by the Guided missile. Each Phoenix missile uses one bay.

Guided missiles are unique in the fact that they are the only missile able to be controlled after deployment, however they are much like PHoenix missiles in many other aspects. This means that a player can swerve the missile over obstacles to attack an opponent. The downside is that they are slower than a Phoenix missile, and a tank is completely defenseless when controlling a guided missile (however they can abandon controlling it and escape by pressing the enter key), and so they should be used with caution. If the target player is using shields a guided missile will deal 30 damage to their shields and only 20 damage to their tank. If they are unshielded it does 50 damage to their tank. This behavior is shared by the Phoenix missile. Each Guided missile uses one bay.

The Battery Drain missile, when fired at an unshielded tank, drains one full battery of power, usually disabling the tank unless it is within a friendly power source or is using a Reserve Power or Supercharger module. Each Battery Drain missile uses one bay.

The Deactivator missile, when fired at an unshielded tank, disables all modules and prevents movement, temporarily allowing one to gain the advantage in combat. Each Deactivator missile uses one bay.

Flash missiles inflict blinding flashes (the victim's screen turns white) for a number of seconds. Each Flash missile uses one bay.

Force missiles, generally used in Force wars (see above) allow one to push a tank up ramps or down pitfalls, hopefully destroying them. Heavier tanks are less vulnerable. Each Force missile uses one bay.


A more passive type of combat, mines are laid in strategic positions and may provide a tactical advantage. Mines can be stacked or swept, or while using Detonation mines detonated from a distance as an unsuspecting enemy tank passes by.

Proximity mines are the most populously deployed mine, and are usually stacked in groups of four to five, ensuring a kill if someone is to hit the stack. As their name implies, when a victim comes within close enough proximity to the mines, they will automatically detonate, damaging an opponent (or accidentally nearby teammates). If an opponent has shields equipped they will take considerably less damage but enough stacked mines can still kill a fully shielded tank. These mines are best placed at spots that an unsuspecting tank will run over, such as the tops of ramps or around corners. Each Proximity mine uses one bay.

Deactivator mines are placed to deactivitate a tank regardless of shields, which detonate automatically like proximity mines. Each Deactivator mine uses one bay.

Detonator mines are placed and can be detonated manually by whoever planted them, instead of when a tank runs over them, and show up on the radar. A major downside is that only one may be placed at a time. Each Detonation mine uses one bay.

A Mine Sweeper is commonly used to clear mines from a path. It can only clear enemy mines. When a mine or group of mines detonates because of a sweep, and a tank is destroyed, the kill is attributed to whoever swept the mines. This can also be used to one's advantage. Each Mine Sweeper uses one bay.


Sometimes recons are few and far in between, so tanks may equip power modules to give extra energy or feed.

The Reserve Power module adds another battery to the tank (each tank starts with only one battery) to store power in, and can be stacked. A Reserve Power module requires one bay.

A Supercharger extends the capacity of each battery (including Reserve Powers) by about 80 percent, and requires one bay.

A Power Receiver extends the range at which one can receive power, and requires two bays.


Nearly all tanks use shields to protect armor and crits in battle. There are two modules able to be equipped: Shields, and Shield Boosts. The Shield module gives a tank 50 points of shields to both the front and the back of the tank, while the Shield Boost (only able to be equipped when coupled with the first) extends doubles the maximum power of both front and back shields. Shields can be allocated to the front or back in units of 25 points, which allows for a maximum of 200 points of shields in one direction, and the other direction defenseless.


There are numerous other modules to equip that provide special enhancements.

A Recon Capture (which uses six bays) allows a player to capture a non-friendly recon station that is not a base recon.

A Recon Gun module (which uses three bays) allows you to place a recon gun on a friendly recon station that has had its gun destroyed.

A Nulifier allows one to, when equipped, be near an enemy feed with dractically reduced negative feed. A Nullifier uses one bay.

Nano-repair allows armor/critical units to regenerate slowly when damaged, and uses one bay.

A Controller modules allows a player to move their team's satellites to them to fire at enemies in a battle or provide extra power. A controller module requires two bays.

A Satellite Camera allows a player to see through the special camera of and friendly satellite, allowing the player to see what's going on across the map or even to see cloaked tanks. A Satellite Camera uses one bay.

A Sharpshooter can allow someone to zoom in up to 16x, allowing a player to shoot far away enemies with great accuracy. Also doubles range on Mark class weapons. A Sharpshooter requires one bay.

Rockets allow a tank to propel itself upwards to help aerially attack an enemy or make a hasty escape (usually the latter, but if shot while in midair, a tank will fall, unable to reactivate their rockets, potentially killing them). Each Rocket uses one bay.

A Turbo boost allows a tank to temporarily move in one direction at a much faster than normal speed for a quick getaway. While in this boost, though, the tank cannot steer and the player cannot cancel the boost. Each Turbo Boost uses one bay.


Tanarus kept records of everything you do in-game, except for practice arenas. There was a point based ranking system in Tanarus, based on the total points you have earned.

  • Newbie - Starting Rank
  • Private - 250,000
  • Private First Class - 500,000
  • Lance Corporal - 1,000,000
  • Corporal - 2,000,000
  • Sergeant - 3,000,000
  • Staff Sergeant - 5,000,000
  • Gunnery Sergeant - 7,500,000
  • Master Sergeant - 10,000,000
  • First Sergeant - 15,000,000
  • Master Gunnery Sergeant - 20,000,000
  • Sergeant Major - 25,000,000
  • Second Lieutenant - 32,500,000
  • First Lieutenant - 40,000,000
  • Captain - 50,000,000
  • Major - 60,000,000
  • Lt. Colonel - 75,000,000
  • Colonel - 90,000,000
  • Brig. General - 115,000,000
  • Major General - 150,000,000
  • Lt. General - 200,000,000
  • General - 300,000,000


External links


The game garnered few but positive reviews. GameSpot's Chris Gregson concluded "Some might think $9.95 per month is a little pricey for a single game - that's what Kesmai charges for all of its sundry online-only games on GameStorm, for example - but they need to remember that there's really no other game online like this one. And if it gets its hooks in you, you'll probably consider the price a bargain.", awarding Tanarus a score of 8/10.[1]

Tanarus scored an aggregate score 7/10 on GameStats, based on two additional reviews.[2]


  1. Gregson, Chris (23). Tanarus Review. Gamespot. CBS Interactive. Retrieved on 30 September 2010.
  2. Tanarus- Summary. Gamestats. IGN Entertainment. Retrieved on 30 September 2010.

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