Thursday, May 3, 2012

Polar Rescue (Vectrex game)

This is a game that I literally can't imagine anyone is any good at. I played it many many times today and couldn't keep from dying for long. I referenced scans of the manual as well as gameplay videos on youtube. This game just sets you up to fail, and that's not the sort of thing that makes for a good game.

Polar Rescue has a promising enough beginning. You shoot through a tunnel and drop into icy cold polar waters in a submarine. Below you are mines, which will kill you, and all around you are survivors in pods who need rescue. You need to consult your dashboard display which indicates how much air you have left (you won't live long enough for that to be a concern), how many torpedoes you have (you're running out. Even if you've never played this game, just know that you don't have enough torpedoes), your damage points (you're almost dead), your speed (you're barely moving and yet you're going too fast to dock with pods), and your radar (enemy subs are killing you as you read this) in order to know what you're doing and where you should be going. The controls aren't that great, and enemy subs can kill you a lot more easily than you can kill them. You only have a few torpedoes, so you can't afford to miss, but you can't help but miss because there is practically no way to aim them other than let a few fly and get a feel for where they go. So even if you get off to a good start and actually rescue someone, you'll still run out of torpedoes long before you run out of enemies to shoot. Every time you turn on Polar Rescue it will devolve into a waiting game in which you have no way to defend yourself and plenty of people who want to kill you. Once an enemy sub is sighted, you enter battle mode, and you can't exit battle mode until you or the other sub is dead. No matter how well you're doing, it won't be long until you're locked into battle mode with no weapons and no way to escape. So yeah, if that sounds like a good game to you, you can have it. On the plus side, it's very nicely animated, which should count for something.

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