While the TI is a computer, it does have alot in common with the
consoles. First off, it has cartridge based games. Secondly, it has many of the same great
games available for it that were popular on the consoles. Considering how reliable they
are and how affordable they are, it is a great alternative for someone who wants to play
some great games. It also has a nice selection of original games that are only found on
the TI. If you like classic games, I suggest buying a TI computer and enjoying one of the
best kept secrets. Now on to those game reviews.
Alpiner (Grade A)-As close and as affordable as I will
get to Crazy Climber. A great little game where you must climb up mountains and avoid all
kinds of hazards like falling rocks, bears, skunks and even Yeti on skis. What really
makes this game great is the speech. Without it, it would be a very good game, but with
the taunting it is a great game. When the woman makes fun of you after you have fallen and
says something like "Did you mean to do that?", you want to go back and show her
by conquering that mountain. I have found myself yelling back at her, a sign that it is
either a great game or I am in need of some serious counseling.
Ambulance (Grade C+)-You are in control of an ambulance
in the rudest city in the world (I made this part up, as they never get out of your way).
You have to go pick up injured people and bring them back to the hospital. While you are
driving, people keep getting in your way. Are these people blind or what? Don't they know
to give space to an ambulance with its lights on? And why the heck is the hospital always
next to a railroad track? Talk about no peace and quiet. A very evil man planned this
city. Still a fun game.
Attack (Grade C+)-A simple game that has all addictive
qualities of the classic games. Simple to play, yet tough to beat. It just keeps getting
harder and harder. The only downsides is the simple graphics and the repetitive gameplay
(which can be said for many games of this genre). I will always remember it as my Aunt
Wiggy's favorite game. She didn't get into games much, but she sure would blast those
aliens. She will probably blast me for the average rating.
Bigfoot (Grade C-)-A climbing game in the same vein as
Rock n Rope. You must get up the mountain while Bigfoot throws rocks down at you. Maybe it
is just me, but the game is too darn hard. No matter how hard I try, I always end up like
Wile E. Coyote, with a boulder in my face. Maybe you will have better luck. Another that
talks, but doesn't seem to enhance the game much.
Burgertime (Grade B)-It looks great and the sound is
great, but it is too easy. Unlike the Coleco version, you don't have multiple skill levels
and so it gets a little too easy. Still a enjoyable game.
Centipede (Grade B+)-A very good rendition of the
classic arcade game. Unlike many of the Atarisoft games, this was done well. The spider
has the classic mean streak, the other bugs keep you busy and you don't have time to catch
your breath until the end. The only minor flaws are the body parts of the centipede seemed
a bit smaller than other versions and there are some static lines on the screen during the
end of level mushroom count. Other than that, a great game.
Chicken Coop (Grade C-)-A pale version of Joust.
Instead of dueling knights, you are a rooster who must send the hens back to the henhouse.
Just like in joust, you must be facing and higher than your opponents to defeat them.
Unlike Joust, there is no pterdactyl, no changing levels, no hand coming out of the lava,
and no fun. This game gets boring faster than home movies. Not worth the time.
Donkey Kong (Grade A)-This version has something even
the Nintendo version is missing, the fourth stage. Better know as the Pie Factory, I
forgot how fun and frustrating this level can be. I mean every version I own of DK is
missing this level. A big reason to own a TI.
Hopper (Grade C+)-This is a Pengo clone only with a
Kangaroo. Like Pengo, you push blocks at your opponents, who are zookeepers and the blocks
are crates. A decent game, but gets real hard, real fast. Still much better than many of
the clones on this machine.
Hunt the Wumpus (Grade C+)-Don't let the bad graphics
or simple gameplay fool you, this game is addictive. At first I said what a dumb game, but
after a few sessions I was on a mission to slay that stinking wumpus. It is one of those
quick little games that you will find yourself playing more than you would think. The
basic premise is that you have to slowly navigate through a maze and find the wumpus. The
signs that he is near is there will be red rooms near the one he is in. But if you go into
his room, he eats you. You must also look out for slime pits that warn you that they are
near because of green rooms that circle them. There is also a bat that will sometimes pick
you up and drop you off randomly. When you think you have found the wumpus, you shoot an
arrow and hope you are right. You only get one arrow and if you choose wrong, you are
Jawbreaker II (Grade C)-A strange version of Pacman
where you go up and down trying to clear the board. You are a big pair of teeth that move
around and must avoid smiley faces. Sounds more like a hallucination to me. Anyways, there
are walls that move back and forth and you have to wait for breaks in them to go through.
There are also the customary power dots that allows you to turn the tables on your
enemies. A neat little feature is after you complete a level, a big tooth brush comes and
Jungle Hunt (Grade B)-Even though your hero has no
face, it is still a good game. All four screens have been ported over and you can swing,
swim and jump to your hearts content. Is it me or isn't there supposed to be monkeys on
the second level (time around)?
King of the Castle (Grade C)-A fun game for a day or
two. After that, it gets quite repetitive. You are the king of a castle that is being
overrun by barbarians. Your subjects must be a bunch of cowards, because they all seem to
have left, as you are the only one left. You're left to defeat the hordes with nothing but
the biggest shurikens you ever seen. The castle has two levels and four stairways and a
secret passage. The main problem is there is only one type of enemy and you just keep
killing them over and over. A little variety would have done wonders or some special
treasures or weapons or anything.
Munchman (Grade C+)-This is TI's version of Pacman.
Instead of eating dots, you have to connect a chain around the whole area (think of it as
Pacman in reverse). You have the usual cast of ghosts out to get you. While nothing
groundbreaking, it is a fun little game.
Munchmobile (Grade A)-One of those arcade games I
really liked but could not find anywhere else. You drive a car around and reach out your
arm to pull in food and other items on the side of the road. You must also grab gas to
keep from running out. One nice little touch is that you get extra points for throwing the
trash, left from the food you eat, in a trash can. There are many nice touches like you
can grab fish that are jumping and some serious hard turn you have to maneuver
Parsec (Grade B)-The Scramble type game for the TI.
Actually it is a bit more like a cross between R-Type and Scramble. You are going through
the customary cavern and there are a bunch of different types of ships that want you dead.
Some come from the front, others from the rear. Enough variety to keep you honest. One
neat feature is that if you blast too long, your lasers overheat and you turn to space
debris. Adds a little skill to the game. You also have to get gas, but this time you fly
in a refuel instead of shooting it. It took the TI to put an end to the pyromaniac
tendencies the other games were planting in our young minds.
Picnic Paranoia (Grade B)-Such a nice spread of food
for your lovely picnic and like clockwork the ants come out. So now it is your job to swat
these little bugs and keep them from stealing your food. Easier than it sounds as there
are tons of ants. There is also a very pesty bee who stings you and stuns you for a few
Q*Bert (Grade B+)-A great version of a great game.
Q*Bert has his eyeballs and there is both Ugh and Wrongway. The only parts missing is the
little animation between levels and only one type of onionhead (my name for the guys who
change the block's color). It doesn't look like an onionhead, but more like a tribble gone
awry. Still a very good game and a great addition to anyone's collection.
Pole Position (Grade C-)-A washed out version of a
great racing game. The graphics are terrible, on par with the 2600, and the gameplay is
average at best. A real disappointment considering the power the TI has and some of the
other well done arcade versions.
Rabbit Trail (Grade C+)-Think of Donkey Kong, only with
a rabbit. You have to bounce around and eat carrots, yummy. But not all is peaceful in the
bunny's world. No siree, he has to avoid a bunch of ornery weasels who come in different
colors. There is also a nasty bird that occasionally pops out. Instead of ladders, you have
burrows to go through. Most go all the way through and lead you to the next part. Some on
later levels are only for hiding in until the weasels go past. The bunny looks quite nice
and it is a enjoyable time waster.
Slymoids (Grade B)-A pretty decent shooter where you
are a cowboy who has to shoot slimy aliens who come at you from different angles. Some
from above, others from the sides and you have to keep blasting them away. You can move
around through different levels that are nicely drawn. A fun little game that is a good
Sneggit (Grade B+)-A fun little game where you are a
hen and must pick up different color eggs and drop them into nests. Different color eggs
are worth different amounts. But you must beware of the snake that slithers around and
eats all your eggs. You must also watch out as the snake will eat you too. While the game
starts off a little slow, it soon get pretty hectic.
Speed Demon (Grade D)-I am not sure if it is me or the
game, but I cannot get anywhere. I waste a few minutes getting up to fifth gear only to
get up to the other cars to find the road blocked and "crash" and game over. I
tried slowing up, moving around, everything short of melting the cartridge and still
cannot get anywhere. Just a bad game and one to avoid.
Superfly (Grade B-)-Sorry but it has nothing to do with
the movie of the same name. This game has you being a fly who must zap a bunch of other
insects. The action is pretty fast and keeps you on your toes and there is even speech
which doesn't add much to the game.
TI Invaders (Grade B)-Probably one of the best Space
Invaders clones I have played. While it is pretty much the same game, there are some
cosmetic changes that enhance it. When your ship is destroyed, it becomes a pile of rubble
that is taken below and another new ship comes out the replace it. Also, after you die,
all the invaders start a victory dance that is a little irritating. Makes you want to play
another game and show them.
Tunnels of Doom (Grade A)-You will need either a disk
drive or a cassette drive to play it, but it is worth the investment. You are a band of
adventurers who have to go into a dungeon and kill the monsters and steal their gold. A
great game with fountains, stores and other bonuses. There are also a variety of other
versions of the game (different dungeons made by other people) that you can get including
some odd ones like one where you are going through K-Mart. A well done game that I highly
All Good Things (Grade B+) - You get four games for the price of one! The third
in the trilogy of new games by gamemaster John Dondazilla. This one has an updated version
of Vector Vaders, a Kaboom inspired game using Spike, a tetris clone, and a asteroids
clone. I personally don't see why he did a Asteroids game since the system has a superior
version in Minestorm. But the other three are great additions. The new Vector Vaders makes
it much more fun. The Kaboom style game is both fun and tough. You will wish the system
had paddles like the 2600 after a few games. Still a very fun game. The tetris clone is
true to the formula, but has nothing special. Still a good game. The final game, the
asteroids clone is good and like the arcade game, but I will still take Minestorm over it.
Overall, a great package for the low price and one I recommend to anyone who has this
system. Here's hoping he continues to support the Vectrex.
Armor Attack (Grade B-) - A decent one player game, nothing special, but a fun
two player game. This is what saves this from being a mediocre game. You are a jeep that
has to drive around a maze and shoot tanks and helicopters that periodically pop up. Gets
a bit repetitive, but still fun to team up on the tanks.
Berzerk (Grade B) - A near exact version, minus the voice. You have to fight the
robots and that darn Evil Otto. A fun little game that will keep you busy for awhile.
Clean Sweep (Grade B-) - A Pacman clone that adds a little twist. You must go
around and clean up all the money in a bank. You are a big vacuum cleaner that grows as
you pick up the money. After awhile you are real big and slow, so you must go to the
middle and unload. There are of course creatures that try and pop you and you can go in
the corner and energize and eat them. Not a bad game for the Pacman, but it will wear out
Dark Tower (Grade C+) - While not a commercially released game, you can get it
on the multicart. While it is the only adventure type game on the Vectrex, it isn't
nothing exciting. You move around a forest and find chests. When you open them you either
get a treasure or are transported to a place where creatures pop out and you shoot them.
The one nice feature is that your fireball or whatever it is goes in one of three
different directions depending on which joystick button you push. The one main problem
with it is that the game gets very dull and repetitive real quick. While it shows the
potential of the Vectrex, it isn't a great game by any stretch.
Minestorm (Grade A) - This is the best Asteroids clone I have ever played.
Unlike Asteroids, the rocks keep getting tougher. First they are normal, then they shoot
back, then they chase you, etc... The challenge keeps getting tougher and the game is
addictive. Plus, it is built into the Vectrex, so if you own the machine you have the
Patriots (Grade A) - Sure this is a new game and wasn't originally released for
the Vectrex, but John Dondazilla showed us all how much potential the Vectrex has. This is
the best missile command clone I have ever played and keeps me coming back time and time
again. With the Vectrex joystick, you get to shoot missiles from the two bases instead of
the one like in the 2600 version. Sure it flickers a little when the screen fills up with
incoming missiles, but this only adds to the intensity of the game. Possibly the best game
ever made for the system and maybe one that even John will have a hard time topping.
Pole Position (Grade B) - Of the two racing games for the Vectrex, this is by
far the better one. While it is a little strange to see Pole Position in black & white
after playing the color version for so long, but you soon get used to it and realize it is
a good version of the arcade hit. The action is fast and will keep your interest.
Considering the sparse amount of games for this system, it is a nice change of pace.
Ripoff (Grade B+) - As a one person game, it is decent. But when you have two
players, it is a riot! You have to stop endless waves of ships from stealing your crystals
(whether they are fuel crystals or flavor crystals is up to you). You can shoot them or
ram them with your ship. You have an unlimited number of ships. As long as you have
crystals left, you keep getting new ships. This is what make this fun as you will
accidentally and sometimes purposely run into your friend. After a few games, you will
begin each new level by gunning for your friend. Great fun!
Scramble (Grade B) - The arcade classic where you have to go through caverns and
shoot missiles and other ships while bombing the daylights out of everything. Remember to
bomb the gas tanks or you will run out of fuel (I love the logic of classic games, no
wonder shrinks are making so much money now). A fun arcade game that as far as I know is
only available on the Vectrex. Sure you have Super Cobra, the sequel on other systems but
we want the original.
Spike (Grade C+) - As close as you get to Donkey Kong on the Vectrex. You are
poor spike who has to save Molly. But you must go up ladders and avoid different obstacles
to save her from the clutches of the big brute. Some neat tricks where you can kick
opponents and actually move the ladders. Has some of the worst voices in gaming history.
It is so bad, you will actually learn to like it. One major gripe is that you have to
watch the same animation after every level. Gets repetitive real fast.
Vector Vaders (Grade C+) - Not a bad version of Space Invaders done by John
Dondazilla. You have all the elements of the arcade classic including the spaceship that
flies over head. The game is a bit slow and may not keep your interest (the arcade game
may have been like that, but I haven't played it in years). He does have a much better
version on third cart "All Good Things". Still a good effort from the only
person (at least that I know of) that is still making games for this great system.
Web Wars (Grade A) - A lot like Tempest, but still different. You fly around in
a bird shaped ship and shoot different ships. You travel along a web and can stick out
what looks like a tongue. The action gets quite intense and keeps you on your toes. One of
the must have games for the Vectrex.
(Grade A) - This is the best home version of Wizard of Wor (unless
you count MAME on the PC)! It looks great and plays like a
dream! If Bally had more arcade conversions like this, it could
have given Atari a serious run! If you own a Bally, you must
have this game! The gameplay is a good one player game, but
really shines as a two player game. Teaming up to clear the maze
of monsters and eventually the Wizard is a joy, even if your partner
attacks you. The sound is great and you will find yourself
immersed in this game!
(Grade B) - One of those fun little games that didn't appear
elsewhere (unless you count the game Cosmic Ark, which had it
incorporated into the gameplay). The object is very simple,
shoot the oncoming meteors before they hit your ship. You are a
base that sits in the middle of the screen. You can shoot one of
four directions. After you clear enough meteors, a ship will fly
around that you have to kill. The game starts pretty slow and
you may need a bit of caffeine to stay awake in the early rounds, but
once it gets going, you will see your pulse rate jump! A
wonderful game that deserves to be in your Bally collection.