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Insight Software
Arcade: Shoot-em-up
ZX Spectrum 48K
Multiple schemes (see individual downloads)

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Clare Edgeley
Chris Bourne

BRILLIANT or downright awful? A game of lightning reactions and great speed Vectron takes you back to the days when vector graphics and 3D mazes were the in-thing.

Vectron is one of those good old games in which you dash through the tunnels of a maze at top speed, trying vainly not to crash into walls, fireball spitting tanks, randomizers and anything else which crops up in your path.

If you are one of those sensible people who run off to make a cup of coffee while the game is loading, you are doomed to failure. The instructions are scrolled across the top of the screen while the game is loading. If you miss them, your only message is: Destroy all enemy craft. Travelling at a constant brain-numbing speed round the maze, you'll have to learn to take those corners to avoid hitting the walls. Should that happen, you'll lose energy and travel in the opposite direction That can be a useful tactic as you can turn to approach the enemy from behind.

Your aim is to make your way through four screens and defeat the deadly Rom Robot before making your escape from the matrix. In the first screen you destroy both the randomizers and tanks and then pass on to the centre of the screen, through a gate which transports you to the second stage.

To avoid whizzing blindly around, a map of the matrix can be superimposed over the playing area by pressing any key on the bottom row of the keyboard. Although a good idea, it is very difficult to see where you're going - you have to use the map to let you know when to turn. The map also identifies randomizers (red attribute squares), tanks (magenta squares), energy units (cyan squares), and your craft, a white square.

You cannot fire while the map is in view, but as soon as the enemy is in your sights, get rid of the map and blast away. The cyan energy squares are stationary on the map, and your cursor has to be at the top of the screen to shoot them. Very tricky.

In the second screen you have to shoot the Rom Robot's eyes as they flash. You'll need to be deadly accurate and hit the eyes more than once before it is destroyed. At the same time it spits bombs at you which will severely drain your energy. Once it has been eliminated, you will be transported back to the main maze and from there must make your way to the escape hatch at the bottom right hand corner. Unfortunately, your map has been destroyed and you have no directional help.

The final section is the escape screen. Blast the pursuing randomizers and tanks and try to get away within the time allowed.

One feature which is noticeably absent is a high score table. Although your score is displayed while you are playing, due to the game's high speed there is not much chance to take note of it. You end up not knowing how appallingly you played.

I found the incredibly fast vector graphics very tiring to play with - they have an almost hypnotic effect as you charge round. Vectron is also very difficult to play, even with the help of the map. I found it most unenjoyable.

Clare Edgeley

Publisher: Firebird/Insight
Programmer: Mike Follin
Price: £7.95
Memory: 48K
Joystick: Sinclair, Kempston, Cursor