MB Vectrex D-G

Alien Brigade – By Atari

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 Dark Tower – By GCE

If you like adventure-type games, this game is for you! In Dark Tower you play a character who is searching treasure in a forest. As you walk through the forest, you encounter chests which you open to see what is inside. Once open, the chest may give you a treasure or transport you into a chamber where you meet with ferocious minotaurs or a wizard. The game is almost a first-person perspective game, except you are really looking from just behind your character. The forest renders very well and you walk through it to find the different chests or treasures. When you’re in the chamber with the minotaurs, you need to kill a given number of them in order to earn gold and be allowed out of the chamber. The minotaurs throw fireballs at your character but he is just as capable of throwing back fireballs at them. The control scheme here is interesting as you use buttons 2 to 4 to select how you are firing (left, middle, or right) and you’ll need to get used to it. I don’t see enough landmarks to help one map the game but you are provided with “co-ordinates” at the top of the screen which could be used for that purpose. Sounds in this game are simple but well done. Overall, it is a nice adventure game for the Vectrex.

Review by TrekMD

6/10

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 Debris Revisited – By Revival Studios

Debris Revisited is a re-release of the original Debris game from 2005 but with some improvements. This game supports the VecVox add-on for additional sound effects, music and even speech! Debris Revisited is a vertical shooter where you command a starship that has to destroy different kinds of enemy ships, asteroids, and boss ships. The enemies have varied behaviors which keeps the game challenging. The asteroids require three shots to be destroyed and the boss ships, though not having particular personalities, are fun to battle and not too difficult to handle. The game also has two additional unlockable modes (reversed, invaders, and hardcore) which you can make available by playing the minigame included with Debris Unlimited, Astrododge. Reaching scores of 1000 and 1250 in Astrododge unlock the first two modes. In Astrododge you have to control your ship and avoid all the incoming asteroids in order to survive and score points. Each passed asteroid gives you 10 points. Sounds easy? Believe me, it is not! The control scheme uses both the joystick and the buttons for movement on both Debris Revisited and Astrododge. You cannot fire while playing Astrododge. This game has a two-player mode as well but that means that you cannot hear the digitized sounds from the VecVox. Debris Revisted and Astrodoge offer a unique way to save your scores on the internet. Whenever you finish a game a code appears on screen that you can then save online. Overall, a fun game and one to consider adding to your Vectrex collection.

Review by TrekMD

7/10

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 Fortress of Narzod – By GCE

Despite its rather unusual name, Fortress of Narzod is a very enjoyable and unique shooter. In Fortress you guide your ship through a simulated 3D canyon while destroying enemy ships. What makes it different from other shooters isn’t the 3D canyon but how it is used. Both your bullets as well as those of your enemy bounce around the canyon so you have to be careful how your own shots bounce because you can end up destroying yourself. You can also strategize how you want your shots to bounce to maximise their effect within the canyon. Your enemies vary in shape, size, and behaviour and some don’t just vanish when they are shot. Their carcasses stay and block your shots for several seconds. This is important when things get hectic and there are bullets bouncing all over the place. Oh, did I mention bullets kill each other also? Unlike many shooters, you don’t just move horizontally. You have the ability to move vertically as well which adds to the strategy and becomes important when you have enemies beneath you! Time to put those bouncing bullets to good use! Once you have completed the stage, you are allowed to enter the fortress into the next level. Once you have completed all stages, you get your own private face off with Narzod (I’ve yet to make it there myself!). The game offers three difficulty levels and has a two-player option as well. This one is a winner.

Review by TrekMD

10/10

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 Frogger – By Christopher Salomon

Another arcade classic makes its way to the Vectrex and this one is a winner. If you’ve never played Frogger before (shame on you!), the game involves helping a frog cross a busy street while avoid being squished by a vehicle, followed by crossing a river by jumping over logs and turtles to the other side. This has to be done five times to fill up the top of the screen. The arcade had colourful graphics and music and showed the vehicles, logs, and turtles from the “top.” The Vectrex doesn’t have colour but it plays the Yankee Doodle tune in the titles and when the game starts. Unfortunately, there is no music during the game itself and sounds are a bit limited. The game also offers a different perspective of the objects, showing them sideways (to make it easier to know what they are) which works quite well. The game also introduces some very well done animations (intermissions) with music whenever a frog either gets killed or succeeds at the crossing. If the frog gets killed, you get an explanation of why it was killed along with an animation that converts the frog into a RIP sign. If successful, the frog turns into a happy frog on a lily leaf. It is cool and a nice touch for the game. This game also has a “pause” feature by pressing button number four, which is a nifty addition. This is only a one player game but a must have for the system.

Review by TrekMD

9/10

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 Gravitrex Plus - By John Dondzila

One of the biggest games on the Vectrex, Gravitrex Plus is another must have for any owner of the system. On Gravitrex Plus, a game inspired by Atari’s Gravitar, your mission is to travel to the worlds contained in each level to rescue the human captives, destroy the enemy bunkers, and the enemy planets themselves. There are three levels to the game, each with six planets. Most of these planets contain further levels within which make for challenging gameplay. As you travel through the planets you must contend with UFO’s, track your fuel supply, and fight against different gravitational fields if you are to complete your mission. You ship, which has twin firing boosters, is nicely rendered and well animated. The humans whom you are charged with rescuing are not impervious to fire and can be accidently incinerated if you are not careful. If you manage to complete your mission and conquer a planet, you will be rewarded with a nice planetary explosion. Gravitrex Plus does include two playing modes: arcade and standard. Arcade mode offers faster gameplay and is more intense. Only advanced players should attempt this mode! This game also features 64K Bank Switching, level select passwords, remappable controller buttons, digitized speech, a retro intro, and music for the title/menu screens. All of these features are only available on the cartridge release of the game and not on the download version. In addition, there is a free bonus game included (Patriots III), so you get two games in one (and Patriots III is an excellent clone of Missible Command). Gravitrex Plus is a superb game that I can recommend without hesitation.

Review by TrekMD

10/10

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