Monday, September 19, 2011

Top 50 Video Games: Number 32

Stats of Import

Platform: Sega Gensis
Absurdly Specific Genre: Robot Vengeance
Difficulty: A blind play would probably give it a 7, once I had it down, I could beat the game pretty easily.
Beaten: Yes,three or four times.

God bless side-scrolling shooters. It seems odd that I only have three on this list (one of which - strangely not on the Contra series - has yet to be seen), considering my love of the genre.

Vectorman always struck me as a very underrated game. It probably wasn't, but it seemed that way at the time. While all my friends were raving about Contra: Hard Corps (which, truth be told came in on this list at number 51) and Mega Man X, I had love for Vectorman. The graphics were incredible for its time, the weapon design seemed cool, the different enemies were imaginative and varied, and the gameplay itself switched up continually and never seemed to get dull.

Okay, so in this level, I'm a.. spider? On a bamboo mat... getting stomped on by metal hooves?? What drugs were these people on?
This brings up the point that Vectorman had a serious case of ADD-level design. There were 3 or 4 levels that lasted under a minute where you'd be taken out of the side-scrolling and be placed in a variety of places to do a quick dose of combat with the boss (besides the above-pictured example, you could become a train suspended on a track a mile in the air, a spinning tornado-like thing on a dance floor, things like that... it made no sense gameplay or story-wise, but it was still fun). In addition, the backgrounds of the 'normal' levels were stunning, and varied from normal overworld, to underwater, to snow-covered mountains (with snow falling).

...and, yes... the ubiquitous "factory" level.
Every good side-scrolling shooter needs memorable bosses, and Vectorman delivered on that front. The bosses were tough to beat (I remember Clockwork kicking my face in numerous times), but they had their little quirks that made them interesting. Oddly enough, the only level that I didn't really feel was the final level - a giant tornado where you jumped on debris until you got to the top, fighting Warhead as you attempted to avoid random crap that he would fling at you. It didn't quite feel like the big epic finale that I would've liked (if he would've been situated at the end of the previous level, and if they would've made it a three-part fight or some such, that would've been a lot better).

Either way, the rest of the game easily overshadowed any flaws the end might have had. I still go back to this one every so often, and it still kicks (my) ass.


Other Notable Games in the Series: Vectorman 2 was hard to find, and when I did find it, I didn't care for it quite as much. I should probably give it another try.

Vectorman 3 was supposed to come out for the PS2 in the early 00s, but was cancelled pretty early in the project. Just as well, the screenshots didn't look anything like the charming sode-scroller it had been back in the day.


  1. I absolutely agree that Vectorman was underrated, and I didn't even know it existed until I finally picked up Sonic's Ultimate Genesis Collection a couple of years ago. It's gorgeous for its time and was the right level of difficulty for a dude like me.

    Vectorman 2 shouldn't disappoint you. It's in many ways just an extension of the first game. It seems to be built on the exact same engine in every way, from what I remember.

  2. Yeah, but I liked the first game, so an extension of it would be great. The thing was, by the time I tracked it down, I had just gotten my PS2, so I was pretty infatuated with that. I'll have to give it another shot.