Monday, May 7, 2012

Mine Storm/ Mine Storm II (Vectrex Games)

I'm going to review Mine Storm and Mine Storm II in a single review because they are, for the most part, exactly the same. Mine Storm II is merely Mine Storm with a bug fix. Mine Storm was the pack-in game for the Vectrex that was literally packed into the system. It boots up in the absence of a cartridge. The problem with Mine Storm was that if you passed the 13th level, the game would just crap out. Any customer that called to complain was sent a free copy of Mine Storm II, which allows adept stormers of the mines to reach untold heights. Other than the 13th level bug fix, the two games are identical.

Mine Storm is an Asteroids clone, and the argument could be made that it is actually better than the game that inspired it. Your ship in the center of the screen looks super cool in comparison with the Asteroids triangle ship. Three of the four buttons have functions in Mine Storm. You can shoot, move across the screen with thrusters, or trust fate and warp. Warping will sometimes drop you right on top of a mine, but it's usually quite useful in escaping magnetic mines...for a while anyway. You'll come across a few different varieties of mines as you advance through the levels. Some will chase you down, others will shoot at you, and others will just drift around aimlessly.

The gameplay is super smooth, and the game turns from good to great with some of the included features. First of all, the game opens with ominous music. It sounds like "Happy Birthday" in a minor key. The music sets the tone for the game, and it's absolutely perfect. Each level opens with a nicely-animated drop ship dropping the mines onto the screen. The sound effect are all perfect, especially the thruster sound, which could not be replicated on any other system. Somehow it's much easier to mash the button and fire off shots in Mine Storm than it is in some of the other games on the system. Everything about Mine Storm works exactly like it's supposed to (except the level 13 thing, which was fixed in Mine Storm II. Very few people ever made it to level 13, therefore the Mine Storm II cartridge is very rare. I have never made it past level 7, so I never would have gotten my free Mine Storm II cart if I was playing this back in the day). Mine Storm is made up of great parts, and it's still greater than the sum of those parts.

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