Vectorman

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Vectorman is a series of run and gun platform games developed by BlueSky Software and published by Sega for the Sega Genesis.

The first game in the series was released on October 24, 1995 in North America[1] and on November 30, 1995 in Europe. The games have since appeared on several game compilations, including the Sega Genesis Collection for the PlayStation 2 and PlayStation Portable, the Sonic Gems Collection for the GameCube, and Sonic's Ultimate Genesis Collection for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. VectorMan was added to the Wii Virtual Console in 2007,[2] on Steam as part of the Sega Genesis Classics Pack, and as part of the Sega Forever service in 2018. In 2019, the game was included on the Sega Genesis/Mega Drive Mini console.

On July 22, 1996, Sega of America, Inc. announced that it entered into a deal with Los Angeles-based Ideal Entertainment for the motion picture, television and merchandising rights to the first game.[3] No motion picture based on Vectorman ever entered development.

On November 15, 1996, a sequel titled Vectorman 2 was released.[4] By the time the original Vectorman was released, the Sega Genesis was in its final stages of sale in the market. Though the Genesis was still outselling the Sega Saturn, PlayStation, and Nintendo 64 through the end of 1996,[5] game developers were increasingly favoring these newer and more powerful consoles over the Genesis, making Vectorman 2 one of just a small trickle of games released for the Genesis that year.[6]

Games[edit]

Vectorman[edit]

Vectorman
Vectorman cover.jpg
North American cover art
Developer(s)BlueSky Software
Publisher(s)Sega
Producer(s)Jerry Markota
Jenny Cleary
Designer(s)Rich Karpp
Mark Lorenzen
Composer(s)Jon Holland
Platform(s)Sega Genesis/Mega Drive
Release
  • NA: October 24, 1995
  • EU: November 30, 1995
Genre(s)Platform
Mode(s)Single-player

Plot[edit]

In 2049, the human population of Earth embarks on a migratory voyage to try to colonize other planets. They leave mechanical "orbots" to clean up the mess they made on Earth through littering and pollution. Raster, a high-level orbot who watches Earth through a planetwide computer network, is accidentally attached to a working nuclear missile by a lesser orbot and goes insane, becoming an evil dictator named Warhead. He declares himself ruler of Earth, and begins preparing to execute any humans who dare return to their planet.

Vectorman, a humble orbot in charge of cleaning up toxic sludge by discharging it into the sun, lands on Earth after his last trip. He finds chaos and confusion. Because all the other Orbots are controlled by Warhead (Vectorman having not been affected because he was away), Vectorman takes it upon himself to destroy the errant orbot and restore peace to Earth.

Gameplay[edit]

The game is a straightforward 2D action platformer. Vectorman is an "orbot" (a robot whose body is composed almost entirely of orbs) powered with a ball gun in his hand; power-ups include a machine gun, "bolo" gun, and triple-fire guns.

Vectorman possesses the ability to transform, through the use of power-ups, into several different forms, including a drill, to cut through floors; a bomb, to destroy all surrounding enemies or breakable walls; and an aquatic form, useful for swimming underwater. In addition to power-up transformations, three levels host unique morphed forms with which to combat bosses in. The game consists of 16 levels.

Development[edit]

Vectorman introduced the Genesis programming technique referred to by Sega as Vector Piece Animation.[7] The player character's body actually consists of 23 individual sprites programmed to move in unison.[7]

Vectorman uses pre-rendered 3D models in its level and character designs. This gives the game a smooth, computer-generated feel. The original name of the villain, Warhead, was Raster (as in raster graphics, the opposite of vector graphics). Vectorman was considered the answer to Nintendo's Donkey Kong Country at the time, as they both used pre-rendered 3D graphics.

The game had a marketing budget of $12 million.[8]

Reception[edit]

The four reviewers of Electronic Gaming Monthly gave the first Vectorman a score of 8.25 out of 10, unanimously praising the advanced graphics and animation, large levels with numerous hidden areas, strong audio, and ability to change into different forms.[9] GamePro's Scary Larry gave it a rave review, stating that "your jaw will hang open in amazement at what Vectorman does with the 16-bit Genesis engine. This platform game comes on with great guns, a morphing hero, and diverse, well-detailed levels." He also praised the simple controls, advanced graphics, and sound effects, and scored it a 5/5 in graphics, control, and FunFactor and a 4.5/5 in sound.[10] Both Electronic Gaming Monthly and GamePro awarded it Best Genesis Game of 1995.[4][11] Video Games: The Ultimate Gaming Magazine gave the game a score of 9 out of 10, praising the graphics, describing the game variety and ingenuity as "nothing short of breathtaking", and concluding that "if developers keep on pumping stuff like this out, then it’ll be a cold day in hell before 16-bit is dead and buried."[12]

The game sold 500,000 copies by January 1996.[13]

Vectorman 2[edit]

Vectorman 2
Vectorman2.jpg
Box art
Developer(s)BlueSky Software Drooling Dogs Studio[14]
Publisher(s)Sega
Producer(s)Jerry Markota
Jerry Huber
Designer(s)John Abad
Marty Davis
Keith R. Freiheit
Jerry Huber
Rick Randolph
Rick Schmitz
Ron Thompson
Thi Truong
Jason Weesner
Dok Whitson
Platform(s)Sega Genesis/Mega Drive
Release
  • NA: November 15, 1996
Genre(s)Action/platform game
Mode(s)Single-player

Plot[edit]

After saving Earth from Warhead in the previous game, Vectorman's sludge barge is targeted and destroyed by a missile. Vectorman escapes, parachuting down to the planet to battle with the Earth's multitudinous enemy; mutant insects. It is up to Vectorman to fight through the mutant bugs and find the most fearsome source infestation: the evil Black Widow Queen.

Graphics and gameplay[edit]

The gameplay is similar to the previous game.[6] Vectorman has a different set of weapons, including a pulse beam, energy shot, and super shot guns. Vectorman can also now transform into animal forms such as a fire ant, a rhino, and a "shield bug" that repels attacks. Unlike the original Vectorman, the full-level transformations featured in this game are not used to combat bosses as that is left to the human-form Vectorman. There are 22 levels divided into seven parts.

Before Vectorman 2 was released, Sega Channel held a contest that allowed artists to draw a morph of Vectorman. Judges then chose the best one to be transformed in Genesis art, as well as being put on the Sega Channel. Ten runner-up submitters won a copy of Vectorman 2.[15]

Reception[edit]

Electronic Gaming Monthly gave Vectorman 2 a 7.25 out of 10. Shawn Smith, Dan Hsu, and Crispin Boyer applauded its traditional side-scrolling gameplay, huge levels, graphics, and animation, especially on the bosses. Sushi-X, in contrast, said that the levels are surprisingly small, making it a disappointment compared to the first game.[16] GamePro gave it a 4.5/5 in graphics and a 5/5 in every other category. The reviewer said that compared to the first game, it "has cleaner graphics, more sound and voice effects, and faster, smoother gameplay. Add to this spectacular and complex levels, and you have the makings of a Sega classic."[17] Electronic Gaming Monthly awarded it Genesis Game of the Year.[18]

Other Vectorman projects[edit]

A design document was completed for a third Vectorman title in the series which would have appeared on the Sega Saturn, but BlueSky Software's relationship with Sega ended before the proposal could be reviewed or green-lit. In 2000, six former BlueSky employees formed a new company called VBlank Software[19] to create original titles for the PlayStation 2. One of the projects they created was a demo for a new 3D Vectorman game which would have featured the character on an alien planet with new transformations. However, Sega had already established a relationship with Canadian developer Pseudo Interactive to create a Vectorman title that was based around a more traditional combat model and had a more serious tone.[20] VBlank Software never got to present its demo and Sega canceled Pseudo Interactive's Vectorman title after it was briefly shown at the 2003 E3.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Sega begins 24-hour countdown to "Vectormania"
  2. ^ "Two WiiWare Games and Two Virtual Console Games Added to Wii Shop Channel". Nintendo. Nintendo of America. 2008-09-22. Archived from the original on June 22, 2018. Retrieved 2008-09-22.
  3. ^ "SEGA Central". Archived from the original on 1996-12-20.
  4. ^ a b "Electronic Gaming Monthly's Buyer's Guide". Electronic Gaming Monthly. 1996.
  5. ^ "Don't Call it a Comeback". Electronic Gaming Monthly. No. 91. Ziff Davis. February 1997. p. 20.
  6. ^ a b "Vectorman 2: So Much Trash, So Little Time" (PDF). Electronic Gaming Monthly. No. 88. Ziff Davis. November 1996. pp. 256–7.
  7. ^ a b The Whizz (January 1996). "Sega Vectors in on Better Genesis Programming". GamePro. No. 88. IDG. p. 28.
  8. ^ Carlton, Jim (November 23, 1995). "Fans remain loyal to 16-bit machines". Hartford Courant. p. 79. Retrieved December 27, 2021 – via Newspapers.com.
  9. ^ "Review Crew: Vectorman" (PDF). Electronic Gaming Monthly. No. 76. Sendai Publishing. November 1995. p. 42.
  10. ^ "ProReview: Vectorman". GamePro. No. 76. IDG. November 1995. pp. 70–71.
  11. ^ "Editor's Choice Awards 1995". GamePro. No. 79. IDG. February 1996. p. 26.
  12. ^ "Vectorman Review". Video Games: The Ultimate Gaming Magazine. No. 82. L.F.P., Inc. November 1995. p. 89.
  13. ^ Chapman, Paul (January 19, 1996). "16-bit systems show surprising strength". The Province. p. 86. Retrieved December 28, 2021 – via Newspapers.com.
  14. ^ "Vectorman 2 (Video Game 1996)". IMDb.
  15. ^ "Sega Channel Memories pt2". YouTube. 2007-06-10. Retrieved 2010-02-17.
  16. ^ "Review Crew: Vectorman 2" (PDF). Electronic Gaming Monthly. No. 88. Ziff Davis. November 1996. p. 90.
  17. ^ Scary Larry (December 1996). "ProReview: Vectorman 2". GamePro. No. 99. IDG. p. 154.
  18. ^ "The Best of '96" (PDF). Electronic Gaming Monthly. No. 92. Ziff Davis. March 1997. p. 86.
  19. ^ Horowitz, Ken (2016-10-21). Playing at the Next Level: A History of American Sega Games. McFarland. ISBN 9780786499946.
  20. ^ "Pseudo Interactive bounces back with physics engine". The Globe and mail. May 10, 2004. Retrieved 2018-09-11.

External links[edit]