Namco’s obscure tank battler Grobda rolls into the Arcade Archives

grobda arcade archives namco

Tank you very much

After spending several weeks in the land of Taito, retro purveyor Hamster is taking another trip into Namco’s past, with the arrival of the obscure cyber-tank battler Grobda, now available to download on PS4 and Nintendo Switch.

Released to the arcade market in 1984, Grobda is a side title in the Xevious shmup series, and sees one of the enemies of that game repurposed as a mighty battle tank. Essentially a futuristic version of the golden age Atari game, Combat, Grobda sees players control the titular tank against a battalion of enemies in top-down, maze-driven action. The player must utilize the Grobda’s laser weaponry to destroy their opponents while dodging return fire across a gauntlet of 99 stages.

Check out the action in the video below, courtesy of YouTuber Old Classic Retro Gaming.

Having launched just on the verge of the Video Game Crash, Grobda would swiftly vanish into the void, though home versions were developed for Japanese platforms such as the Sharp X1 and the NEC PC-6001. Grobda development team featured some notable Namco luminaries, including Tower of Druaga designer Masanobu Endo, and Dig Dug composer Yuriko Keino. Always a pioneer, Keino devised a mechanic that allowed Grobda to speed up her score as the action heated up, a fun little gimmick for the time. Development was smashed out in a mere three months from conception to release. Wild days.

Grobda is available to download now on PS4 and Nintendo Switch, priced at around $8.

Chris Moyse
Senior Editor - Chris has been playing video games since the 1980s and writing about them since the 1880s. Graduated from Galaxy High with honors. Twitter: @ChrisxMoyse