Monday, 29 January 2018

Vindex (Amiga)

This was going to be a post about a game entitled "Space Harrier: Return to the Fantasy Zone", which is one of those semi-official western sequels to Japanese games I talked about in my review of Dragon's Revenge. It's an especially obscure one, too, since as far as I can tell, it was only released in a compilation along with the original Space Harrier as well as a couple of other arcade ports. Unfortunately, it only had the option to play using the mouse, which was so fiddly and useless as to render the game completely unplayable. And that's not just my personal dislike of mouse controls in action games, Harrier really did just seem to jerkily zip around the screen at random. So instead, here's Vindex, another sprite scaling shooting game on the Amiga.

Vindex at least has functioning controls, which puts it a step above SH:RttFZ. Unfortunately, that's about all it has. Well, that's not fair, some of the backgrounds look okay in a minimalist sort of way. Only the backgrounds, though: your ship and the enemies look very generic and bland, with the final boss looking particularly like a very unimaginative child's drawing of a robot.

As lackluster as the graphics are, at least they're there, which is more than can be said for the music. It might just be because I associate sprite scaling games with SEGA and Taito, two companies who always put great soundtracks in their games, but Vindex's lack of music is really weird and jarring, and makes the game feel incredibly empty.

It doesn't play well, either: all the hitboxes seem to be huge, and every time you lose a life, you go back to the start of the current stage. It's an exercise in tedium, and completely devoid of fun or excitement. I even resorted to using a level select cheat just to take a few more varied screenshots (which is also how I saw the rubbish-looking final boss, who is also incredibly easy to kill, probably easier than any other part of the game). It probably goes without saying at this point, but Vindex is a game I definitely don't recommend. It's so tedious, in fact, that I had to look at the earlier paragraphs in this document to remind myself of its name. I don't like writing such overwhelmingly negative reviews, but sometimes there's just nothing positive to be said about a game.

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