What? By who? No, it's not Vindicator, its Vindicators (lots of 'em), and this little title has nothing - nowt, nil, not a jot, zilcho - to do with Ocean's fabby title of last winter. Tengen, meanwhile, is the coin-op label - Atari by any other name - whose games are to be brought to the Spec by none other than Domark.
Confused? Yup, me too, but when you load this up, all it really boils down to is a rather dull tank battle game of a sort that we've seen four billion times before. It's a monochrome shoot 'em up (level one: green) in which you manoeuvre your tank about a vaguely futuristic scene (also green) and shoot any tanks that happen to come into range. Initially this looks terribly easy, as all the opposing tanks move very slowly. Unfortunately, your tank also moves slowly, as this is a very slow game. By the time you've changed direction to face him, the other geezer has probably hit you a few times - irritating. But pleasingly you only have to hit him three times or so in order to kill him, while you can withstand anything up to about 20 hits, as far as I can see.
The idea, as you move through three increasingly difficult levels (you can start on whichever one you wish) is to pick up the usual useful things lying around, to whit, fuel canisters (your tank uses about as much fuel as a 747) and battle stars, which, as you collect then, let you soup up your tank with loads of optional extras. There's increased shot range, increased shot power, increased shot speed, spankier shields, bombs and so on. What you really need, though, is an optional extra that gives you a faster, more interesting game - sadly, nothing so helpful is provided.
So once again the old coin-op problem has reared its ugly mush. On a coin-op Vindicators looks better and plays faster, but deprived of the 16-bitness of its speed and graphics we quickly discover that there's nothing much else there. There's no challenge, nothing to make you want to have just one more go, nothing except a drab, utterly mundane game that wouldn't make a splash if you dropped it in a pond. Which, to be honest, seems the best thing to do with it. (Tiny, non-splash-like sound.)
There - what did I tell you?
A conversion of the arcade tank battle game where you play to vin (ahem). Trapped on an invaded planet, you (and a pal, if available) have to trundle through umpteen eight-way scrolling mazes, shooting and dodging enemy tanks, laser bases, electric barriers etc. Your aim on each level is to grab the key to the next, but in the meantime you can snaffle stars to trade for power-ups.
Smooth graphics can't make up for dull gameplay, and to put by the rotate-and-move method (not altogether bad as you can reverse away and cover your escape) but, fatally, you can't move and change direction simultaneously. The two-player mode staves off the yawns a little longer - the one original feature (and a spanky one at that) is that you can shoot each other to transfer valuable fuel. At the end of the day though, Vindicators can be summed up in two words - both of them 'boring'.
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