North American cover art
|Designer(s)||Rich Karpp |
|Platform(s)||Sega Genesis, Mobile phone, Windows|
Vectorman is a series of run and gun platform games developed by BlueSky Software and published by Sega for the Sega Mega Drive/Genesis. The first game in the series was released on October 24, 1995 in North America 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 Nintendo GameCube, and Sonic's Ultimate Genesis Collection for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. Vectorman was added to the Wii Virtual Console on February 27, 2007, in Japan and April 5, 2007, in Europe, and in North America on September 22, 2008. It was also released on the digital distribution service Steam as part of the "SEGA Genesis Classics Pack" and as a standalone title. Vectorman was ported to iOS and Android in 2018 as part of the Sega Forever service.
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.
Enter Vectorman, a humble orbot in charge of cleaning up toxic sludge by simply discharging it into the sun. As he 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.
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. Now it is up to Vectorman to fight through the mutant bugs and find the most fearsome source infestation; the evil Black Widow Queen.
|Producer(s)||Jerry Markota |
|Designer(s)||John Abad |
Keith R. Freiheit
Graphics and gameplay
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 graphical tricks to show graphics beyond what the console was thought capable of.
The game itself is a straightforward 2D action platformer. Vectorman is an "orbot" (a robot whose body is composed entirely of orbs) powered with a ball gun in his hand; powerups include a machine gun, "bolo" gun, and triple-fire guns.
Vectorman possesses the ability to transform, through the use of powerups, 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 powerup transformations, three levels host unique morphed forms with which to combat bosses in. Overall, the game consists of 16 levels.
"Play to Win" contest
Sega held a "Play to Win" promotion offering Vectorman players a chance to win $25,000 as well as numerous other prizes, including several $10,000 prizes, and free Sega Saturn consoles. Upon completing the game (without using cheat codes), select Vectorman cartridges would display a flashing "You Win!" message with a special phone number where the player could call in and register as a winner. 12- year old "Keola" Kaula of Albuquerque, New Mexico, was the winner of the grand prize, which included $25,000, a VIP tour of Sega headquarters, and a starring role in a Sega TV commercial.
The gameplay is similar to the previous game. Vectorman has a different set of weapons, including a pulse beam, energy shot, and supershot guns. Vectorman can also now transform into insect forms such as a fire ant, a rhino, and "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 in all.
Before Vectorman 2 was released, Sega Channel held a contest that allowed artists to draw a morph 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.
Vectorman introduced a new Genesis programming technique referred to by Sega as Vector Piece Animation. The player character's body actually consists of 23 individual sprites programmed to move in unison.
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. 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. Both Electronic Gaming Monthly and GamePro awarded it Best Genesis Game of 1995.
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. Scary Larry gave it a 4.5/5 in graphics and a 5/5 in every other category. He 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." Electronic Gaming Monthly awarded it Genesis Game of the Year.
Other Vectorman projects
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 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. 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.
- Sega begins 24-hour countdown to "Vectormania"
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- Horowitz, Ken (2016-10-21). Playing at the Next Level: A History of American Sega Games. McFarland. ISBN 9780786499946.
- "Pseudo Interactive bounces back with physics engine". Retrieved 2018-09-11.
- Game Profile at OverClocked ReMix - Fan ReMixes of Vectorman soundtrack and composer information