MB Vectrex L-N

Alien Brigade – By Atari

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 Mine Storm – By GCE

This is the one game that you cannot not get with the Vectrex. Why? Very simple, it comes integrated with the system without the need for a cartridge. Mine Storm follows along the lines of Asteroids but improves on that idea. Instead of asteroids, you have to clear a field of mines. These mines come in different shapes and they also have different behaviours. Some mines will fire something back at you when they are destroyed, other mines gravitate towards you (gravity mines?) and will chase you if you move around the screen. You control your ship by turning it around with your joystick, pressing 2 to escape (think hyperjump), pressing 3 for thrust, and pressing 4 for firing. The field starts with a few large mines but it is quickly filled with smaller mines as you start shooting. In addition to the mines, there are different types of ships that attack you, each in their particular way. Whereas in Asteroids you try not to move around much, in Mine Storm moving around becomes necessary as the gravity mines start coming toward you. When you clear a level, an intermission shows you warping to the next level, a mothership drops mines, and the action starts again. This really is an excellent game. Of note, a Mine Storm 2 was released as well to fix a glitch the original game has that makes it crash on level 13 (if you are lucky enough to get there!). GCE released this updated game in cartridge form to those customers who complained about the glitch. Unfortunately, not many people knew about this and finding one of the cartridges today is quite difficult. Thankfully, the game ROM is available freely.

Review by TrekMD

10/10

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 Mine Storm 3D – By GCE

So, how do you improve an already excellent game? You make it in 3D, of course! 3D Mine Storm is essentially the same game as 2D Mine Storm but with a very effective 3D aspect added to it. 3D Mine Storm was the pack-in game that came with the Vectrex 3D Imager and it was never released alone. To play the game, you must connect the 3D Imager to joystick port 2 and set up the special colour wheel specific for this game. When the game starts, the disc spins and it gives the playing field both depth (a rather effective 3D effect, I must say) and colour. As in 2D Mine Storm, your goal is to destroy all the mines in the field without being destroyed. The difference here, though, is that now the mines are at different “levels” of depth making it impossible to hit them until they are in the same 3D plane as your ship. This, off course, adds to the strategy at playing the game but, otherwise, the strategy is very similar to that of 2D Mine Storm. The control scheme is also the same, so shifting from the 2D version to the 3D version doesn’t require learning a new way to control the ship. If you are able to get a 3D Imager, you owe it to yourself to get this game if it does not come with the unit. GCE managed to make what was already a fun game even better with this release.

Review by TrekMD

10/10

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 Moon Lander - By Clay Cowgill

Moon Lander is a homebrew game for the Vectrex that brings the classic Lunar Lander type game for the console. This game, however, improves upon the original concept. In Moon Lander you have to land your space module not on one but several types of moons. Each moon has its own unique challenge such as variations in gravity, wind (I guess some of these moons have atmospheres!), the size of the landing base, and orbiting satellites. In addition, the amount of fuel available for your maneuvers varies. There is more than one ROM of this game out there because the ROM on my multi-cart has no sound, while the ROM on my VecMulti has very good sound clips. There is even a voice counting down as the game starts with no special hardware! Music plays at the beginning of each phase and when you end each landing and you have engine sounds as you try to land as well as some other sound cues that are helpful (e.g., there is a cue that lets you know you are the right speed for landing). Once you land, an animation shows your ship taking off to its next target. This is a nice touch and a “reward” in between moons. This game has a pause feature (by pressing 3) which opens a page that gives you additional details of the level you are playing. The control response is excellent: joystick or 4 for thrust and 1 and 2 for left/right movement. This is not an easy game but it is enjoyable and it does have an ending (which I have not yet reached!). You will not be bored by it.

Review by TrekMD

8/10

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 Mr. Boston Clean Sweep - By GCE

Mr. Boston is a slightly modified version of Clean Sweep that was created for advertising purposes. As the game starts you get the ad for Mr. Boston liquor followed by the Clean Sweep title screen. It would have been nice if they had modified the title screen in some way but I suppose the ad “page” is enough. In any case, instead of a vacuum cleaner, the player now controls a top hat that collects money from the bank floor in order to bring it back to the vault while avoiding the bank robbers. The game plays just like the original Clean Sweep and has all the same options (for more details, I suggest you read my review for Clean Sweep). Chances are if you like Clean Sweep, you will like Mr. Boston. Of course, you may prefer Mr. Boston if you would rather be a top hat! This game did get released as a cartridge but in low numbers (I believe only 10 copies), so it is quite difficult to find and quite expensive (I know of one complete copy that sold for $7,200.00 on eBay in 2010). When it was released, the overlay had the Mr. Boston logo but was otherwise just like the Clean Sweep overlay.

Review by TrekMD

7/10

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 Nebula Commander - By Craig Aker

Nebula Commander is a space combat strategy game for the Vectrex that truly shines. This game can be played against another person or against the AI. In Nebula Commander your goal is to gain control of “the” Nebula by destroying your enemy’s space station. You see, both of you have decided to build space stations inside this innominate nebula but only one of you can take control. In order to succeed, you collect space crystals with your station’s tractor beam. The space crystals randomly appear in the space surrounding the two space stations. Crystals will keep moving toward you as long as you keep the beam on them but when when they are close enough you can let go. Of course, you are not the only one who wants these precious crystals. Your enemy will be pulling these crystals toward its station as well and you may end up playing tug-o-war. As you accumulate crystals and raise your energy levels, you manufacture missiles and destroyers in order to attack your opponent. Destroyers will fire a single missile at your enemy continuously at a periodic rate, so it may be advantageous to use them. But look out! Your enemy has sent missiles and destroyers of their own to attack you! What do you do? You can try targeting them with missiles and you can also repel their attack with your shields. This is certainly a fun game to play and one that is best enjoyed played with a friend. Playing against the AI is extremely difficult and it just takes you apart in no time. Nebula Commander is an excellent game that every Vectrex owner should have!

Review by TrekMD

9/10

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