Monday, May 7, 2012

Star Castle (Vectrex Game)

Star Castle is apparently a port of an old arcade classic. I had never heard of nor seen the arcade game until doing a little research on this title (mainly trying to find out how to win). Star Castle is another twist on the old single screen space shooter genre. As you may know, this is the type of game the Vectrex does better than any other console of the same era.

Star Castle is a frantic shooter. You're trying to penetrate a series of walls that protect the boss guy in the center. Some of these walls hold baddies that'll come after you when you shoot their specific wall, but they're easily dealt with. Once you penetrate those walls, he'll start firing large projectiles at you, which makes him a tough cookie. The walls protecting him will regenerate after a while, so you have to keep firing at all times. The problem with this is that if you have an older Vectrex controller like I do, you really have to mash the buttons to get them to work. I think this game may have given me carpal tunnel because my forearm is still sore from the button mashing. This is the sort of game that would benefit from the use of a modded Genesis or other modern controller. Anyway, once you bust the walls and kill the main dude, he'll respawn with new walls and you'll go through the whole thing again, racking up points along the way.

One of the reasons games like this have suffered in comparison to newer games of the same genre is that the old games used to really value points. Very few modern games value points anymore, which would make this game seem (pardon the pun) pointless to gamers not brought up boasting about their high scores. I used to play Galaxian on my Atari 800XL for hours on end. I would call my buddy up and brag about how many points I racked up. Every screen was essentially the same and the higher levels weren't too different from the lower ones. So if you're not used to points being important, I'd imagine you'd find Star Castle to be boring. If you remember the days of not turning off the machine until you can get a witness to just how many points you racked up, you'll more than likely get a kick out of this game.

Oh, I feel I need to explain myself just a touch more because I have complained about boring games that just present the same thing over and over. Star Castle literally is the same thing over and over, as is my beloved Galaxian. The difference with games like Star Castle and Galaxian is that the thing they have you do over and over again is both challenging and interesting. The same could not be said of Rip Off and other lowly Vectrex games. I just wanted to make that clear.

No comments:

Post a Comment