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randombullseye avatar 6:38 AM on 10.15.2008
Old School Games: Vectorman



Today’s article is about the genesis 1995 exclusive, Vectorman! Hooray for Vectorman! I just love saying his name over and over. I found Vectorman sitting amongst the other genesis games in my local rental store. When you start up the game instead of the just the usual Sega logo, you can actually run around as Vectorman shooting the sign. Pressing start lets you go to one the title screen and from there you'll start a great run and gun SEGA game.



After playing it for the day that the rental place let me have it and loving it, I remember having a conversation with a friend at school. Maybe this happened to you at your local video store, but he aparantly rented the same copy as me previously. We both made it about the same ways into the game and discussed it in great length. I'm under the impression that if I spoke to him about it now, he would say it was one of his favorite games. Sometime after that first rental, I found a cheat code book in my local library (because reading is awesome) that was genesis focused. This being before the internet was available to me, so having a cheat code for Vectorman was extremely awesome. I don't recall if I beat the game with it or not, but I recall using the cheats. Remember when cheats were useful? When they didn't feel like you were cheating yourself, but leveling the playing field with a video game? When things weren't as easy as just typing into any search engine "vectorman cheat codes." You don't even have to say "vector man cheat codes, please." The internet just gives you cheat codes for everything instantly.



Vectorman plays like most run and gun shooters. A and B shoot and C jumps. You can shoot in any direction, including the easy to aim diagonals. If you're in the air and shoot downwards you slow Vectorman's descent downwards. Press C again in the air and Vectorman does a double jump. Around levels you'll find these white collectable orbs, they seem to affect your score and it seemed like collecting a lot of them gave me extra lives. It could have been the other power ups giving me extra lives, the TVs. There are these TV's hanging around levels that when you shoot them enough they spin around and blow up, releasing a power up of some kind. Some give you extra health, some refill your health, some give you different weapons like one spread gun, one that spins to linked shots together, or another that seemed to be a homing machine gun, and they also give you these transformation abilities. These were among my favorite when I played the game years ago. One you find pretty often sees Vectorman turns into a missile/bomb that you can roll around and explode. Exploding it in the right spots opens new areas. Most enemies seem to die quickly when caught in the bomb blast. There are more than that and I feel the rest would be better left unspoiled for anyone who hasn't played it.

This is a video of a speed run. The guy plays through Vectorman in 13 minutes. If you don't mind seeing the later levels without playing it, go ahead and take a look. I only stuck with this video for the first level for that reason.


The first thing you probably notice playing Vectorman is the graphics. Everything looks like its 3D. Vectorman himself has a very interesting design, in that he's made entirely of balls. I'm not even joking, he's made of balls. Yeah. Not only is Vectorman rendered in almost 3D so are his enemies! Most of your enemies are robotic in nature. You've got the standard muscle brute thug bad guy who can shoot at you or slam into the ground. There are these little fly robots that fly in circle formations until they see you, then they break off and try to ram you. Another enemy is an arm looking robot that hangs off of things bending around and shooting at you. The other enemies worth mentioning are the bosses. All the bosses I encountered were very large pattern bosses. The second level of the game is nothing but a boss battle. Vectorman is a train on a track and this gigantic boss is crawling around on the same track as Vectorman. To each side are other robots shooting at you. To make things worse you have to jump over his powerful hands or you get damaged. Unless you've found extra health on the first level, you're stuck with the first four health. This boss eats those up pretty quickly as I found today. Really quickly just to tack it at the end of this paragraph, the music and sound effects fit pretty well today. My favorite being the sound effect when Vectorman fires his gun. I actually made it a point to leave the sound on so I could talk about it, and then leave out information about the sound.



Speaking of playing today, paragraph four is the usual "I replayed the game today." Well I replayed the game today (or days ago depending on when I publish this) and I have to say it holds up. I usually only play the first level when I play just to get that Vectorman feel. Usually I'd rush through to the first boss and get killed. Today for some insane reason I decided to pick up all the pickup items I saw. I made it to level two before I got killed. As I said in paragraph three, I missed out on picking up the extra health. I remembered the extra health that you can pick up, so back on level one I searched around the level (which did I mention the levels are huge? Because the levels are huge.) and found myself a few extra health orbs. Weirdly I think at this point I had gotten back into the groove of the game, which basically means pressing a and b as quickly as possible shooting everything that moves until it dies, and that made the train boss really easy. I think I got hit once. I played up about four levels after that before quitting. I had a lot of fun replaying it today.



One fun thing to mention is the storyline. At the start of the game your presented with a few pictures and words describing how in the future humans have made a mess of earth and leave it behind with a bunch of robots called "orbots" cleaning up everything. A robot somehow getting a missile for a face. The robot, named "Warhead," then takes over all earths other robots. Then Vectorman showing up to save the day. I'm guessing there would be a similar set of pictures and words for ending. This is all the story a video game really needs.



Just remembering that conversation me and my friend had about the game was a great feeling. I think he was the one who later told me about Vectorman two and how great it was. Unfortunately I never got to play it until many years later and not spending nearly enough time with it. Which brings us to the final paragraph about the game series. Vectorman is one of the better genesis exclusives. According to my research, it came out fairly late for a genesis game, but was still a must play/must own for any genesis fan. There was only one sequel released, Vectorman 2 released in 1996 for the genesis. In researching Vectorman, I found out some sad news. Apparently a third game was going to come out on PS2 a few years ago, but was canceled. Several gaming websites have information on what could have been, check IGN and gamespot. This post on IGN is a post about the cancellation. This makes me sad. I did however find out that Vectorman is now available on Virtual Console and is also available in Sega Genesis Collection on PS2 and are unlockable in the Sonic Gems Collection. What I read about the Sonic collection says that both Vectorman and Vectorman 2 have to be unlockled. Lucky for you guys this is the internet and you can just hit gamefaqs up for that information. This was the first time Vectorman was available in Japan, according to the information I read about Vectorman. I don't know about you guys, but now I want to play some Vectorman 2.

Did you ever play Vectorman?

American box art.


European box art.


Also if anyone who works for SEGA is reading this. Please make Vectorman 3, but make it a 2D run and gun please.

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