Monday, May 7, 2012

Space Wars (Vectrex Game)

Space Wars is a pretty bland little shooter that does what it does well, but doesn't provide much in the way of variety or thrills. I believe it was intended as a nod to Spacewar, which is one of the very first video games ever made. Both games have a similar premise: two players maneuver their spaceships and try to shoot each other while avoiding asteroids and a big glowing sun in the center. You pilot a ship that looks like the Starship Enterprise and your opponent pilots a triangle lifted straight out of Asteroids.

While I'm not sure that Spacewar had any different modes, Space Wars boasts 7 different modes. These modes feature different levels of difficulty, which means your enemy will get faster and more aggressive, the sun will have a greater gravitational pull, and the action will become more frantic. Also, some of the modes feature shots that fly all over the screen. It makes it hard to know what you're shooting, but actually easier to hit your enemy. Perhaps the greatest feature of Space Wars is that one hit will not destroy your ship. Your ship can take up to three hits before being destroyed. Non-destructive hits will still wipe out half your ship, making it harder to maneuver and easier for your enemy to shoot again. Even so, I've won rounds with a disabled ship on several occasions. Things get really interesting when both ships are disabled.

The big problem with Space Wars is that it provides a sparse screen on which you play out the same action over and over. The first player to win 10 rounds wins the game. Getting to 10 rounds can become tedious. I know this game is based on a true classic, but with so many shooters on the Vectrex, this one needed to do a whole lot more to be considered one of the great shooters for the system.

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