Vectorman2(1)

Genre: Action/Platformer
Year: 1996
Developed by: BlueSky Software
Published by: Sega
Platforms: All of them at this point, but Genesis mainly
#401
Feeling Like: Viking Quest

You may remember from my Dinosaurs for Hire post that I have a buddy named Eric, who was my gateway into the Genesis catalog. Without him, I’d have been cursed to a childhood filled with NES and Super NES classics only. Poor me.

One of the more memorable platform shooters I can remember from those days is Vectorman 2. While it certainly doesn’t hold up as a classic, or define a generation, or have a hero that can transform into a badass tiger, it had enough of the good stuff to propel it to 401.

The look of the main character is awesome, like if a frozen bag of peas was pissed off and capable of blasting everything in sight. The sound effects and songs had that trademark Genesis twang, unmistakable to video game nerds. The animation was fluid and had a look all its own.

Vectorman2(2)
Ok so not beautiful in the tradition sense…

This was the perfect game to play with a buddy. It’s not multiplayer, but the game’s difficulty was certainly present. No continues meant that it was a relief to pass off the controller to let your palms dry out and your head stop pounding.

But it’s all about the shooting. Explosions are usually accompanied by more explosions, the controls work great, the enemies are beyond bizarre looking and the bosses provide a great variety in perspective and gameplay.

So why didn’t Vectorman take off? Well, the release date was an issue. By the time Vectorman 2 was out, it was 1996. Super Mario 64 was released five months previously. Gamers were so eager to abandon the 2-Dimension ship, that many went down with the ship. Timing is everything, I suppose.

With the amount of Mega Man games we got, you’d think there would be more room for Vectorman. The double jumping, spark blasting, attitude spewing, machine-devil slaying hero deserved more than a few short games. Love his pose post-boss fight too. Think Nixon’s peace sign, but more deserving.

The top down levels are a little frustrating, but that didn’t resonate enough with us negatively to leave much of an impact. The game played so smoothly that any hindrances were quickly ignored.

I doubt it would pass off as anything more than a classic curiosity today, but the pre-rendered 3 models (a la Donkey Kong Country) are still greatly appealing. I had no idea the Genesis was capable of pulling off this type of look, but Eric quickly reassured me that I was wrong. Shooting down into the ground while falling to slow yourself down and minimize the damage you take is just another great element added to make this more than just a pale imitation of Contra, Mega Man or Donkey Kong Country.

The ending plain sucks, but like other complaints I have with Vectorman 2, it’s minimal and doesn’t get in the way of the 22 levels of arcade style platforming. Transforming into drills, destroying wolves made of rocks, and discovering secret areas everywhere made this the ultimate rental for us in Brentwood Bay.

VICTORY!

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