Vindicator, The


by Paul Owens, Mark R. Jones, Jonathan Dunn, Simon Butler
Imagine Software Ltd
1988
Crash Issue 57, October 1988   (1988-09-22)   page(s) 20

IT'S TIME TO SAVE THE WORLD AGAIN!

Earth was quiet... until the villains of the peace arrived and kicked mankind's butt with slimy green insistence. Yes, after entertaining us with excellent games like Rastan, Target Renegade, and Revenge Of Doh. Imagine now bring us the story of mankind's struggle to regain his planet and the right to eat Big Macs and fries while sizzling aliens on arcade machines.

The planet looks like a bomb's hit it (as indeed many have). But amid the ruins, small groups of humans survive. Deep in their hearts they pray for vengeance. One man alone has the courage to face the alien threat, he is known only as... (pause) The Vindicator.

The alien leader, Gog -aka the Dark Overlord - has built three strongholds. You, Vindicator, have to visit each in turn to gain the access codes to progress through to the third and final level, and there kill Gog, freeing Earth from his grim green grip.

The first stronghold is a maze of corridors covering four levels. Here you discover the whereabouts of bomb components which you collect, assemble and detonate (making sure you're well out ground zero's way at the time of course).

To aid your quest, you can enter various storerooms off the corridors. But first you must either dodge the guard or eliminate the horror with your large and very powerful gun. Storerooms contain colour-coded lift and computer passes, ammunition packs, or oxy-gum - the atmosphere is poisonous. When a computer room is entered of you have the correct pass), the computer sets an anagrammatical puzzle. Solve this correctly and a map is shown, informing you of the position of a bomb component, your position, and the whereabouts of the nearest lift. Once each of the four levels has been explored and the components found, set the bomb and run like hell.

The second section takes place across miles of enemy-held terrain. You're flying a plane stolen from the first section. Use it to drop bombs on the aliens' heads, (and serve 'em right). Be sparing, the bombs are limited in number.

The bombardment disorientates the enemy, so zoom back to your jeep and blast through their ranks. Robot tanks and helicopters strafe you, but nothing is going to stand between you and the catacombs hiding the Dark Overlord. Did I say 'nothing', well you haven't met the Mutoid Guardian yet. Make it past him, and you deserve to reach the third and final level.

The Vindicator is tough. Even with the access codes it took me a while to get through. But even though it's difficult, it is very enjoyable. The mean and moody looking Vindicator strides purposefully to war with bugeyed meanies, giving the game immediate graphic appeal.

Back to more pressing matters - the death of Gog.

The final search begins, appropriately enough, in Hades. As you explore the catacombs, Gog's minions try and bring about your demise by charging, firing their guns and gnashing their teeth, and looking very frightening.

Gog has heard of your plans to kill him, and has decided to blow up the catacombs. Speed is of the utmost importance.

As our hero gets near Gog (by way of lifts and trap doors), the aliens get meaner, and therefore harder to kill. But eventually Gog's lair is reached, and mankind can finally be avenged.

This game really is hard. Some people may be put off trying to get anywhere, but my advice is to keep trying, because it's worth the effort.

MARK … 85%

THE ESSENTIALS
Joysticks: Kempston, Sinclair, Cursor
Graphics: to a very high standard in all three parts. The main character is large and well animated, as he fights some really weird-looking aliens
Sound: noisy, but welcome tunes throughout the game
Options: definable keys


'At first glance The Vindicator seems like a game so easy it's not worth playing. But how wrong you can be! The simple looking maze is extremely deceptive. Its difficulty hits you when you discover that you can't move back into an area once you have left it - but it makes the first level frustrating. Level 2's yellow monochrome causes the usual problems of enemies being hard to see. But each level has a high standard of graphics, and there are tunes playing in most of them. The Vindicator is an excellent game, if only you can get past that first, frustrating level.'
NICK ... 83%

'What a strange mixture The Vindicator is - a maze game, shoot-'em-up and platform game all in one! The first part gets more than a touch irritating as you trundle round the maze for hours, seemingly not getting anywhere. However, the large main character is well animated as he runs about, blasting weird-looking aliens which emerge from the many doors. And on the third phase, he can also jump and crouch realistically. I suppose the oddest feature is the inclusion of the vertically-scrolling shoot-'em-up which comprises the second stage. This is reminiscent of 1943 (reviewed this issue) but more playable! The extremely varied gameplay is complemented by a very noisy 128K tune on the front end (and also one during the first stage) - it doesn't sound like a Spectrum at all! Although none of the three game parts in The Vindicator are outstanding in their own right, they make up an interesting package, but still nothing spectacular.'
PHIL ... 74%

Presentation: 86%
Graphics: 84%
Playability: 75%
Addictive Qualities: 74%
Overall: 80%

Summary: General Rating: An intriguing mixture of game sections makes The Vindicator good value for money.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Your Sinclair Issue 35, November 1988   page(s) 34,35

Standard game type 238b: muscular hero battles against overwhelming odds to defeat some evil person posing a great threat to earth; three fairly trivial sub-sections - each load in separately; almost always has 'Ocean' written on the front.

Sounds familiar? Well here's another one. In this case the hero's called The Vindicator, and the foe are a bunch of aliens from outer space. However, this time they've already done their stuff, and earth is in ruins. Only The Vindicator can save humanity by going in, and taking out the alien big cheese, in his underground catacombs.

For anyone still reading, I'll just point out that in this case the programmers seem to have done a pretty thorough job, and the result is a lot better than I was expecting. Normally in these situations, each level would probably last about two minutes, leaving you yearning for the password for the next one. But not this time! Here's a brief rundown.

Part one, is as usual the worst of the lot, so anyone trying it out in Smith's will probably make their excuses and sidle off. The idea is to wander round a 3D computer complex, opening doors, shooting alien guards and collecting pass cards and bits of the bomb you're s'posed to be building. There are some anagrams to answer too. It's okay, just a bit slow moving.

Part two is a lot more appealing, if a little shallower. It's a scrolling shoot 'em to bits, where you first fly a plane and then drive a jeep. The graphics are great, and move very quickly and smoothly. The plane part is fairly easy, but the jeep bit is another kettle of fish (whatever that means). I liked this part best, although it's not really much better than most budget games.

And finally the third chunk. This time you gotta find your way down the catacombs to take on Gog (sigh). The catacombs are split into loadsa different levels, which you must work your way down using lifts and trip-switches to open trapdoors. Of course, Gog isn't going to let you off that easily, so there are billions of baddies to maim 'n kill. Again, this section suffers a teeny bit from lack of speed, but not enough to totally wreck it.

To make things a little easier, once you've completed the first part you'll be given the password for the next one, which can then be accessed directly from the menu screen.

So what makes that lot stand out from every other game type 238b you've ever played? Well I just felt that this one looked much more polished than usual, and the various sections are almost worth playing as games in their own right for once. The only couple of niggles I do have are the sound - really disgusting tunes, and v. weedy spot effects, - and the multi load 48K.

But what it all boils down to is... a very tasty soup. No, I mean... three average games for the price of one good one. And if that sounds fine to you. this one carries my recommendation.


Graphics: 8/10
Playability: 7/10
Value For Money: 9/10
Addictiveness: 7/10
Overall: 8/10

Summary: It's as original as a single by Kylie Minogue (who?) but I could play it over and over again (the game, not the record).

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Your Sinclair Issue 57, September 1990   page(s) 76

And so to Green Beret 2 (the original having come out on budget absolutely ages ago). Whether or not you relish this prospect will depend largely on your feelings about the original, another game that practically had me dislocating my joystick shaft in frustration. Luckily Vindicator is a bit more laid back (but only a bit). It's a three-part multi-loader with quite a serious problem: the first and third parts are rubbish.

Part One is a rather boring maze game where you've got to run around shooting things, finding passes and solving anagrams. Your idea of fun? I thought not. Part Two is a whole lot better. It's a slick scrolling shoot em up where you first fly a plane and then drive a tank through the usual hostile landscape. A bit simplistic, but neatly executed And then, well, Part Three. Run left and right through an enemy base of some kind using lifts to travel between levels and shooting things. Zzz. Three okayish (on average) mini-games at a bargain price. You can't really argue with that.


Overall: 79%

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Sinclair User Issue 79, October 1988   page(s) 53

After the incredible success of the amazingly wicked arcade conversion of Green Beret, it was only logical that a sequel had to be released, and it's finally here. Bert, after battling the invading ruskies in Bert 1, is now faced with not a communist invasion, but an alien one. Apparently, you see, 'invaders from a distant star system have lain the Earth to waste'. Ooooh, sounds nasty.

First of all , you've got to find your way around the alien base. Set on 4 levels, each level is composed of a maze like series of corridors and rooms. Viewed in 3-D, each corridor is made up of a number of box-like sections, and you can only move your character around the section he's currently in. As soon as he tries to move into an adjacent 'box', the game flips and the view changes appropriately. Occasionally at various points along the walls, you find doors.

Normally, an alien will spring from the doorway and either chase you frantically around the box you're in, or it'll just take a pot shot at you. Behind the doors are, not surprisingly, rooms, and it's in these rooms that you find goodies like extra ammunition extra oxygen, passes to give you access to the lifts and colour-coded computer cards. It's with these cards that you access the main computer's on each level, which kindly give you maps of the level you're currently on, as well as the positions of the bomb pieces.

The second bit is done as vertically scrolling yellow and black thing, much along the lines of Commado/Who Dares Wins 2/ and almost everything else ever released on the Spectrum. At first you control a plane in a daring raid over pockmarked fields and barns and scarecrows and things. Once you've flown the plane over the required amount of land, and then it into a jeep to cover the rest of the day. While flying your plane, you are attacked by other planes, enemy kamikaze helicopters, and various watchtowers. This bit is easy, as the only way you can die is if you are shot down, and as the bullets are relatively slow, they are pretty easy to avoid.

The second bit, however (that jeep bit), is a little harder. Well impossible is what I really mean. You are attacked by tanks that you can only grenade and to launch a grenade, you have to press space, which means you have to take your hands off the joystick, and by the time your hand has returned, you've invariably been shot or just run over by one of the tanks. The fact that there's nothing you can shoot with your bullets, is a bit odd, too. The enemy aren't the only hazardous bit of this section, either. If you don't drive carefully, you'll find yourself with a flat tyre, which totally mucks up your control.

Once across the wasteland, it's into the lair of Gog. Before you can get to Gog, however, you have to work your way down into Hades itself. This is done as a side-view flip screen thingy. You are attacked by lots of little demon like creatures who throw fireballs and laserbolts in your direction.

They are pretty easy to pick off, and only pose a problem when there's a lot on screen at once all approaching from different directions. To get to Gog, you have to get through the many levels, and this is done through a mixture of falling down holes and using the lifts dotted around here and there. Most of the time, however, you have to fall down trapdoors, and to fall down them, you have to open them. To open them, you have to find switches hidden at the ends of the platforms.

Graphics are large, well defined and can be said to do their job well enough.

Even so I can't help feeling incredibly disappointed with Vindicator. As a sequel to a wonder arcade conversion, it's a big letdown. As the hyped game it has become, it's more than a disappointment. What you get for your money is one incredibly tedious maze game, one pretty good shoot-'em-up and one average fall-down-the-holes type game.

Label: Imagine
Author: Paul Owens, Mark Jones and Jon Dunn
Price: £7.95
Memory: 48K/128K
Joystick: various
Reviewer: Tony Dillon


Graphics: 79%
Sound: 68%
Playability: 64%
Lastability: 56%
Overall: 62%

Summary: Disappointing sequel to one of the best games of last year.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

ACE Issue 14, November 1988   page(s) 47

Imagine the carnage!

Gung-ho fans will be surprised at the "Green Beret II" billing on this one, because any resemblance to the original is pretty hard to see. A multi-loader, the game comes in three very different sections all centred around repelling some nasty alien invaders. Anti-Soviet knifeplay is conspicuous by its absence, and coin-op immediacy is pretty hard to find too.

Section 1 is an arcade adventure set in a multi-level underground complex of corridors and store rooms. Your task here is to find the components of a bomb, by collecting computer access cards and solving puzzles.

The gameplay is familiar to the point of cliche - kill aliens, collect useful items and make maps - but a 3D corridor view provides a little interest. Unfortunately it also makes navigating extremely difficult and confusing, the view direction shifting to disorientate you every time you turn a corner. You'll have to make a map, but that's difficult too!

As arcade adventures go, it is rather dull stuff. How easy the aliens are to kill varies from one version to another, but the toughest of them are none too tough. The same is true of the computer puzzles, which turn out simply to be anagrams of high-score or title screen names. In fact your only real adversary is time: the atmosphere in the complex is toxic, so you'll have to manage your stocks of "oxygum" carefully if you want to keep breathing (Anyone remember Marine Boy?)

So far, so humdrum. Complete the bomb and you'll be given an access code for section 2 - which has nothing whatever to do with the game so far. According to the scenario, you're now battling your way through to the alien headquarters. This translates as a vertically scrolling shoot-em-up. and a rather dull one at that. It's got an unusual two-pass structure - fly over the landscape in a bomber to soften things up, and then battle your way through in a gun-toting jeep - but this fails to elevate it above budget standard.

The budget comparison is also strongly suggested by the third and final section, set deep in the catacombs of the alien HQ. A sideways-scrolling arrangement of corridors and lifts, the HQ is swarming with aliens of assorted heights. You can duck or jump to dodge their shots, but as ever the only real solution is to keep blasting. As with section two, the difficulty tuning here is turned up rather too high for comfort. It's an unrewarding slog, short on depth and long on unavoidable deaths.

An odd mish-mash of game styles, this one would have a job appealing strongly to any one type of games player. Section 1 is strictly for mapping buffs only - and a bit on the repetitive side even for them - while sections 2 and 3 are shallow, uninviting action fare.

Reviewer: Andy Wilton

RELEASE BOX
C64/128, £8.95cs, £12.95dk, Out Now
Spec, £7.95cs, £14.95dk, Out Now
Amstrad, £8.95cs, £14.95dk, Out Now

Predicted Interest Curve

1 min: 60/100
1 hour: 60/100
1 day: 50/100
1 week: 40/100
1 month: 30/100
1 year: 10/100


Graphics: 5/10
Audio: 2/10
IQ Factor: 4/10
Fun Factor: 1/10
Ace Rating: 535/1000

Summary: Multiple sections are no substitute for solid gameplay.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

The Games Machine Issue 12, November 1988   page(s) 56

Spectrum 48/128 Cassette: £7.95, Diskette: £14.95
Amstrad CPC Cassette: £8.95, Diskette: £14.95
Commodore 64/128 Cassette: £8.95, Diskette: £14.95

VINDICATE OR GET LOST!

The Earth is no longer the jewel in the solar system's crown that it used to be. On the surface of the blue planet the greatest buildings have become mere smouldering wrecks; historic cities reduced to rubble, and streets inhabited only by the wind and twisted steel. The Earth has been invaded.

No-one knew why they came, or why they were bent on laying Earth to waste. Small pockets of humanity gathered underground, hiding far away from alien fleet's patrolling the planet's surface.

One man sought revenge. Unwilling to build a new life in an oppressed world without attempting to eliminate the enemy forces. His task was to search for the blueprints buried deep in the heart of the alien's complex which contained information on how the invaders could be destroyed. Once found, he would search out the leader of the mutants, the Dark Overlord, and kill him in his lair.

PLANES AND JEEPS AND BOMBS

Already within the complex, you guide the vindicator through maze-like corridors, displayed in isometric perspective. There are four levels to the base, each having a computer room which displays the location of a bomb component. To gain this information, a colour-coded computer pass is found and an anagram puzzle solved. The frequently changing viewpoint and forward-only movement are only made worse by the complete lack of distinguishing features, so that even a map doesn't help the situation.

The computer passes are in the possession of the hostile aliens which populate the complex, either in the store rooms, or, in the case of the Spectrum version, the corridors. A few well-aimed shots from the rifle are sufficient to deal with them, but they can fight back with a similar weapon or spit poison.

Once the complex has been destroyed, you board a plane which flies over a vertically scrolling landscape towards the Dark Overlord's lair. Your crafts machine guns dispose of flying enemies while large targets such as bunkers are despatched with bombs. When a life is lost, control switches to a peep, armed with grenades, which battles against robot tanks and helicopters.

The final section takes place across horizontally scrolling platforms within the Overlord's domain, deep below ground. As in Green Beret, enemies are despatched with bullets as you utilise lifts and trap doors to descend further into the complex.

The three types of game in one makes Vindicator good value for money.


Overall: 66%

Summary: The corridors are more spacious than in other versions and it's quite a shock to find aliens wandering about in them. They prove to be dangerous at first but easy to master. Monochromatic graphics sometimes blur the action, but all parts of the game have something to offer.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

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