Thursday, May 3, 2012

Cosmic Chasm (Vectrex Game)

Cosmic Chasm is a game that tries really really hard to be good. There are a lot of unique elements thrown into this mediocre shooter. Unfortunately, the several unique elements don't add up to a great game.

In Cosmic Chasm you are trying to destroy an enemy planet. At the beginning of the game, you are introduced to a map of the tunnels you will be traversing. It looks a lot like the map in Bionic Commando. Anyway, the map helps you decide which exit you need to take from the first cavern on your way toward the center cavern where you need to plant a bomb. In every cavern you enter, you are greeted by planet protectors, which try to kamikaze kill you. There is also an expanding thing at the center of each cavern which will kill you on contact. If you don't kill everyone and get out in time, the center thing will expand to the point that you have no choice but to die. Each cavern will have multiple exits, all of which are blocked off. You will need to use your drill to unblock the exits. Once you reach the center cavern, you need to plant a bomb and make your escape.

All that may sound like an excellent game, but it's all somewhat clumsily executed. First of all, your ship shoots dual lasers, which are a little hard to aim precisely. Many times I was blasting away in the general direction of the kamikazes and they would just smash into me, laughing at my attempt to shoot them. Also, the drilling through the exits thing doesn't always work. It's always guesswork as to when to turn on your drill, how fast to approach the exit, and how long you have to drill. More than once I have smashed into a blocked exit with drill running. Also, the part about planting a bomb in the center cavern is confusing. More than once I have reached the center cavern with no idea how to drop a bomb into it. I know what all the buttons do 1=drill 2=shield 3=thrust 4=shoot. None of those is a bomb button, so I can't imagine how to drop a bomb.

Cosmic Chasm is moderately fun despite its flaws. It has the pieces of a fun game in there, but it's not fully baked. I like the concept of the game, but it clearly bit off more than it could chew.

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