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7  |  Hope You're Not Claustrophobic...
Darryl B. , 2/20/2006 6:23:17 PM
(Note before getting to this review: this is my 100th review for Stage Select. I MEANT for it to be something special, like making it my first Nintendo review yet, and going to a lot of trouble by putting in a lot of quotes from Star Wars movies for my Star Wars The New Droid Army GameBoy Advance review, but unfortunately I found out [the hard way] it actually WASN'T my 100th review, those previous 99 reviews to date included a few reviews that I edited, which counted towards my total. So this one isn't very special, except that I ignored my Vectrex for over a decade [since the few games I had for it either weren't very good or I was sick of them], then got back into it the last couple of years due to picking up a few of it's very good homebrews. So I'm trying to make up for it's neglect here, I guess. Grumble grumble...)

Good ol' "reverse engineering", otherwise known as "we saw a huge, money-making hit, and wanted a piece of that pie ourselves", which can produce some interesting results.

Take Bedlam, for example, as it was originally going to be in regards to storming a castle (hey, Bedlam programmers, why not finish that one and make it into a homebrew, giving us another game in the process? :) ), but changes were made by management, and it became the "backwards Tempest" that we know of today.

Tempest was a hugely popular arcade game -- which, ironically enough, was construed as to being a 3-D Space Invaders clone -- where a player maneuvers around geometrically-shaped levels and shoots all kinds of things that emerge from the centers of those levels. This time around, though, you're in the center, and everything comes inward, towards YOU.

Luckily due to the video game crash, I snagged this one through a Vectrex close-out sale for only ten bucks (unfortunately I didn't have enough dough to get those 3-D Goggles though, which cost a fortune nowadays! :( ), as it earns a fairly weak 7 from myself, which you'll see why. Not a bad game, but...

So, like I said, you're in the center, looking a bit like the Millennium Falcon from Star Wars (the only time I can think of where the M. Falcon was rendered in vector) and ships emerge from the edges of the screen towards you. You get several different types of ships, as one kind will just mindlessly charge full speed ahead without stopping (kind of like George W. Bush, the hell with the huge deficit he's creating), another kind will stop when you face it's direction (kind of like standing up to a school bully, since most bullies are supposedly cowards), another one will start encircling around you if you allow it to get close enough, then reverses direction when you face it (speaking of cowardly bullies...), and another kind is a colony transport that has heavy shields and can't be destroyed, they can only be pushed back. Guess those guys are heavily insured against whiplash claims...

The controls in order to survive this game include turning your ship left and right, a Fast Rotate, in case you need to spin around and zap someone real quickly, shooting (of course), and a Zap that will destroy everything onscreen (heh, even those so-called indestructible colony ships), and they all respond perfectly. The sounds and graphics aren't bad either...

...however, a few things weaken the game though, one of which is that there's only four screens per level, unlike the nearly 20 of Tempest. So the game is going to wear thin after a while. There's also a pretty bad glitch where detonating Zap will result in a screenful of ships still being there, and you're going to still thing I figured out to do is wait for as long as possible, and don't move as you hit that button, and you should be ok. (Still annoying, though.) And two of the ships look nearly identical, one of which is slow and annoying, the other much more lethal, and at times it's too late if the latter is closing in on you.

And not that the programmers didn't try, as levels start collapsing inward towards you, resulting in enemy ships emerging quicker and making a beeline for you. So you have to shoot out the ends of the levels to expand them again in order to keep the enemy ships at bay. And levels start rotating around, which gets REAL nuts, and could make you pretty nauseated as well until you get used to it. Ugh...

So, not a bad one, I'm just not sure how much it'd be worth in paying for it, since it's a fairly rare Vectrex title today. Plus there was also Tsunami, the homebrewed version of Tempest made for the Vectrex as well, and it probably won't bring about a claustrophobic feeling as you get swarmed by ships, either, like on here.

So, in closing, I'll just say that I'm naked as I'm typing this, due to having sex with someone I met over the net...who happens to be a friend of larson's wife, the owner of this site...which is an interesting story that I won't repeat here. (Ok, so I'll admit the preceding sentence isn't true at all, I'm just pathetically trying to make my 100th review special. So with this being a shooter, you get sex AND violence. Feh...) (Ed note: Birtha? You hooked up with BIRTHA? Oh, man, why?) 7/10

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