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Blast from the Past: Vectorman (Sega Mega Drive)

 

 
Overview
 

Game Length: 4 Hours
 
Developer(s): BlueSky Software
 
Publisher(s): Sega
 
Platform(s): Sega Mega Drive/ Genesis
 
Release Date: 30 November 1995
 
Platform:
 
Gameplay
8.0


 
Visuals
7.0


 
Audio
7.0


 
Gratification
8.0


 
Value for Money
8.0


 
Total Score
7.6
7.6/10


User Rating
no ratings yet

 

Positives


Graphics Have Aged Well | Still Fun To Play | Lots of Hidden Places to Find

Negatives


Very Difficult | No Save/load or Checkpoint System


Bottom Line

Can Vectorman still save the planet after nearly 20 years?




14
Posted November 16, 2015 by

 
Full Article
 
 

blast-from-the-past-vectorman

An old childhood classic of mine was Vectorman, a green robotic hero whose sole purpose is to help save the world one way or another. To my surprise, the game turned 20 last month (US release) and which was a good enough reason for me to play it again.

Vectorman, for the uninitiated, is a Wall-e-like robot; it’s main purpose in life is to help clean up planet Earth so that humans can return. He’s not the only robot though, so he’s not lonely like Wall-e was.

Things go awry when the helper robots accidentally equip a peaceful robot with a nuclear weapon, which turns it into Warhead, the main villain of the game. Warhead then controls the minds of all other robots, except for Vectorman (because he was not on the planet at the time). You can pretty much figure out the rest on your own.

Vectorman1

Despite being 20, the game has aged remarkably well. Both the visuals and sounds still hold up today. It’s not as brilliant, obviously, but the workmanship shows itself. I was stunned to see such brilliant animation, flags in the backgroumd move in a life-like fashion, the background images accurately depict a specific location and the sounds that go with it, matches very well.

At its heart, Vectorman is a side-scrolling platformer with some action in it. What made this game different to the many platformers of the time, was that the hero could transform.

Unlike today’s games, you need to collect temporary boosts in order to transform. These can be found by destroying little TV sets scattered throughout the game. Once collected, you can instantly transform. These are mainly used to either get through the level faster or unlock hidden areas in the game. In addition to that, there are bonus levels to visit.

What caught me off-guard was the difficulty. It’s tough, really tough. On normal, you’re given 3 lives to start with. It’s up to you to find more lives and if you don’t  you probably won’t finish the game. It’s easy to get killed, but what makes it really difficult,and irritating, is the fact that there’s no continue or Save/load system. Before you shoot me, I’m well aware they wouldn’t have any 20 years ago, but passwords were given as a means to jump to new levels. Vectorman doesn’t have any, meaning if you run out of lives, you start from level 1 all over again.

shot-vectorman03

Luckily there’s an ‘easy’ option to pick, which gives you more lives. The controls take some time getting used to – a side-effect of playing with a PS4 controller for quite some time. Once you’re comfy with the controller again, Vectorman is fairly easy to control.

Things also stay fresh because the usual gameplay formula changes often. Most of the time you’ll be in a straight up side-scroller screen, but some levels put you in a top-down mode. These are interspersed and keeps the game from becoming repetitive and stale.

Vectorman was and is still a great game. It’s proof that developers can create lasting games that can be enjoyed by any generation. However, I wouldn’t object to a reboot.

 





Kyle Boshoff

 
I R 'Kaal'gat Kyle!


  • Thami Afurika-Jin HD

    This was my life in 1999!!! The soundtrack was like nothing I’ve ever heard.

    • TechniKyle

      So glad you agree! I played this game to death when I was a child.

  • Kyle, I recently played this and I must agree that it’s aged very well in terms of its graphics. I’d nearly go as far as to say that it’s one of the best technical graphical showcases on the MegaDrive.

    • Veeash Lala

      This and Toy Story looked amazing – the pinnacle of great console graphics on that gen. Toy Story looked exactly like the movie (from what I remember)

      • TechniKyle

        Castle of Illusion was also pretty rad. Another game I played to Hell and back.

  • Veeash Lala

    My mate lent it to me after getting stuck way back in April 1996. I still remember the area vaguely. It was a first encounter with a creature who’s head was invulnerable. You had to take out its tail. Would love to have a remake of this.

    How about you guys do a piece on Lion King or Toy Story? Both classics on the mega drive.

    • I’d love to work on The Lion King on the MegaDrive. I just don’t own it unfortunately, thought that’s high on my must own list. I know we could emulate it, but we keep to the original console + cartridge/disc.

      Edit: I did own it back in the day and was actually the first Mega Drive game I ever owned (played on my friends Mega Drive before that). Such a classic.

      • Veeash Lala

        I wish I kept my console and all the carts. My first game was Alisia Dragoon. It was the cheapest game we could afford as a first title. I still remember my folks scrounging and getting the cash to buy us this console. It was R500 I remember. Actually, we got the knock off called Saba from this video game store in the Pavilion shopping centre for R400. Which was still a hell of a lot of cash.

        Another must own/ review title – Maximum Carnage. I still remember that theme music.

        • OH, I know exactly what video game store you’re referring to as I bought all my PS1 games there back in the day – Golden China Video Games. Was right next to Pizza Hut. And now, in hindsight, when I think of all the SEGA Saturn/N64/3DO, etc stuff they had there I want to cry that I had little knowledge of it all. My PS1 I bought there was actually an NTSC. Oh the memories.

          • Veeash Lala

            Yep, that’s the one. If we only knew :/ There was another store in town (city centre somewhere – London Arcade?) that sold knock of cartridges. We didn’t know any better. I think we found out later though at that age it really didn’t make a difference to us. We picked up games for R100 a pop. Xmen 2 Clone wars and Power Rangers were my birthday present in 1996/97 I think.

    • TechniKyle

      I never finished Lion King. Loved Toy Story. I don’t own either, so I unfortunately can’t review them 🙁

      • Veeash Lala

        My brother and I died at Scar so many times before we figured out that we had to emulate the finishing move from the movie, i.e. dive under him and throw him behind you. Apologies for the 20 year spoiler but you guys have me in Nostalgic heaven 😛

        • TechniKyle

          Scar is the final boss? Oh the horror! I always loved the level where you had to jump on the giraffes.

          • Veeash Lala

            Lol I hated that level. Took me so damn long to figure out that jumping on the monkeys throws you around. I always thought they were part of the background.