Vortex Crystals (C64)

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Summary

A very enjoyable game that you will be glued to until the end, a strong shooter/platformer that could be so much more with some minor adjustments.

Overall
74%
74%
Sending
User Review
4 (2 votes)

Ahhhhh finally some time off my back breaking manual labour job, this is going great, I can sleep in for the next 3 weeks. Ring Ring, Ring Ring. What’s this phone call interrupting my happy mood? A phone call from the Prime Minister? Bleh. I’m going back to bed. Ring Ring, Ring Ring. The Prime Minister again? I better answer it. “Help us! Get down to the Vortex Complex, NOW! Aaargh! Aliens! Green Slime! Arrrrgh!” Sounds serious, I better check it out.

Hmmmm. High security building, looks fine from the outside to me, I wonder what’s going on inside? Whoosh! BOOM! Wow what an explosion – there’s my answer, we are being invaded by aliens. Goodbye to my lazy holidays then.

A scientist at the Vortex complex has been bitten by a small slimy green alien, in turn becoming a much larger version of it. What’s even worse, this alien has taken up ‘HQ’ in the main control room of the building, just when I was relaxing too, so typical that all hell has broken loose at the same time, of all the billions of people in the world to call, the Prime Minister phones me to save the day, why didn’t she just call the military or MacGyver?

Inside the 16 level alien infested building you must collect energy crystals on each level. All sorts of dangers are found in your path to collecting the crystals. Level one is easy, but it gets more challenging from there. Alien’s are whizzing around doing their best to stop your efforts. If you keep your 5 lives in tact while collecting all the crystals scattered around each level, you can progress to the next via an exit door opening up, but be careful an alien somehow likes to pop up just as you make your way to the exit door causing you to lose a life. Maybe this is a bug? It sure felt like one, or is it intentional?

You think that’s it? You think you can do this blindfolded? You think you can take out this huge green alien and eat him for breakfast? Well you are completely wrong. You’ve got a 20 minute window to complete all the levels or security systems will trigger a toxic gas, killing you instantly.

Intense. That’s one word to describe this terrific platform shoot ‘em up. Fast paced, action packed, full of aliens, lots of shooting, puzzles to work out, it is great shooting fun.

Everything is cool graphically, great use of colours, the aliens look cool, your fire power looks awesome either
zooming across the room or with the close up explosions. Music I thought was fab, bringing it all together very nicely. Ammo top ups, make your day too, more shooting what could be better.

The controls are annoying at times but that’s probably more me being too overzealous wanting to clear the levels so quickly, just take your time, not too much though and it should be fine. That conveyor on level 2 was tricky as, I just couldn’t seem to make the distance with the jump no matter how much run up I gave myself. I got there in the end but I lost a heap of lives doing so.

There’s a few faults with the gameplay and playability. It’s got lasting appeal, instant grab factor and a whole lot of shooting which is awesome but sometimes you are frustrated as collision detection may be misfiring – you could be standing right next to an alien and you can’t kill it.

Originally, Vortex Crystals was released at the 16KB Game Cartridge Dev Compo_2015, run by RGCD. This final version comes with extras such as full documentation and is available on tape or disk. The game has new features consisting of a new front end, new music, high score table with save function on the disk version, new sound effects as well as a hidden in game cheat mode.

Barring the flaws, overall, I found the game to be very enjoyable, one that I could be glued to until the end, ‘TND’ team have put together a decent shoot ‘em up platformer, some minor adjustments would have made the game so much better.

Game Credits
Programming and title graphics by Richard Bayliss
Game graphics by Alf Yngve
Music and sound effects by Richard Bayliss
Original PC musical scores (In game and  game over) by Joachim Wijnhoven

Game Link
Richard of TND Itch.Io

This review by Cameron Door was originally published in 8-Bit Annual 2018 and is being republished by RGN with permission.

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