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Bedlam

Bedlam

Developers Lenny Carlson
William Hawkins
Publisher GCE
Release Date 1983
Genre Multi-directional shooter
Modes Single player
1-2 players alternating
Media Cartridge
ROM file

OriginsEdit

In the arcade game Tempest, players controlled a blaster that could move around the outermost lanes of a bunch of geometrically-shaped levels and fire at ships that emerged from the middle or innermost areas of those levels.

Bedlam, however, was a "Tempest in reverse", where players' ships (resembling the Millennium Falcon from several of the Star Wars movies) sat in the middle of sectors while ships emerge from points of those sectors and came inwards towards the player. Players turn their ships left and right and can spin them around quicker with the Fast Rotate button. Also, Zap, like the Superzapper on Tempest, will destroy everything onscreen and can only be used once per sector.

There are several different types and mannerisms of enemies as well as sectors. Getting rammed by an enemy will cause the player to lose a ship in reserve and the game will end once the player has no more remaining ships.

ControlsEdit

Menu screen

  • Choose between starting levels 1-3--buttons two or three
  • Choose number of players--button one
  • Start game--button four

In-game controls

  • Move ship--joystick or D-pad
  • Fast rotate--buttons one or three
  • Zap--button two
  • Shoot--button four

Enemies, sectors and difficulty increasesEdit

EnemiesEdit

  • Escort Ships--heads straight for the player's ship without stopping
  • Astral Defenders--comes to a stop when the player faces it
  • Colonist Transports--cannot be destroyed with regular weapons due to it's strong shields; can only be pushed back by being shot or can only be removed from the sector by using Zap
  • Destroyer Droids--encircles, then heads straight for the player's ship when it's directly behind it if it gets close enough

SectorsEdit

  • Sector 1: there are only three entry points for ships to emerge from, as this screen is shaped like a pyramid
  • Sector 2: four entry points for ships to emerge from; shaped like a bird's foot
  • Sector 3: six entry points on this one
  • Sector 4: this signifies the start of a next level, having only two points of entry for enemy ships on this one, which the sectors will start recycling after this sector is passed

Difficulty increasesEdit

  • level 2: sector areas start collapsing; the player must shoot out the ends of a sector to keep ships at bay. If the player allows the entry points of a sector to get real close then enemy ships can emerge from these points and be right on top of the player's ship. This also marks the debut of the Destroyers
  • level 2, sector 2: Colony ships debut
  • level 3: sectors start rotating around
  • level 5: sector areas start pulsating (note: due to the areas filling up most of the space on the Vectrex' screen, this isn't really noticeable unless a two player game is played, since sectors start off in the background in between players' turns)
  • level 6: sector areas not only rotate, but start doing so at a high rate of speed as the player turns left or right, making it hard to get a shot in at anything

ScoringEdit

  • Escort Ships--75 points
  • Astral Defenders--100 points
  • Destroyer Droids--150 points
  • Colonist Transports--175 points
  • Extra ship--awarded at every 10,000 points

BugEdit

A lot of the time when Zap is used and there are a lot of ships onscreen, they will still be remaining afterwards. Staying still for a second or so and then using Zap remedies this problem most of the time.

TriviaEdit

  • The Colony and Destroyer ships look pretty alike at first glance, which makes it difficult for the player in case a ship gets too close and it turns out to be a Destroyer, rather than a Colony ship.
  • On the first level only, there is somewhat of a pause: if an Astral Defender is the last enemy remaining in a sector, the player can face them so they'll stop in their tracks, and there is no way for the player to die or for the game to be interrupted. This only works on sectors during level one though, since, once the sectors start moving on level 2 and onwards, they can move the enemy ships as well, disrupting the pause.
  • When did this game exactly come out? On the title screen, its copyright date says 1982, while the (U. S.) label on the cartridge itself says 1983.

LinksEdit

  • Click on the tabber below for a review.

vectrex.nl reviewEdit

Bedlam is like no other game. Coded by Bill Hawkins and designed by Tom Sloper in 1982 , Bedlam is refreshingly unique and combines fast tactics versus sheer menacing onslaughts of nasty aliens who will stop at nothing to inhabit their new found worlds. Entertaining Vectrex gaming.

Bedlam has 3 different stages the player can select, beginning at 1 and ending in 3. Level 1 sees the players 'anti-molecular cannon' acting as a device sending the invading aliens thousands of light-years away. The playfield consists of 'galactic sectors' which are star-shaped vectors that surround the players cannon which sits bang in the middle of the screen.

The player is given one smart bomb per level as he/she comes up against challenging enemies such as the encumbering 'Escort ship' and the persistent 'Droids' which circle your cannon making it terribly hard to get a decent shot at them. As the aliens encroach from different corners of the galactic sectors the player must fire his/her weapon and then turn around to shoot enemies which may be coming from other corners.

The result is pure mayhem and had it not been for the player having the ability to speed his/her cannon's movement up with buttons 1 or 2 it would be nigh on impossible. As the player progresses from level to level the sectors begin to shrink, pulsate and in later levels even rotate. Luckily the edges of the sectors can be pushed back by firing at their corners which results in more precious time for the player.

All in all Bedlam is a fun if frustrating game which left me inspired with it's depth of originality. Bedlam has cool 'warping' arcade sound effects when the sectors expand and its a shame all Vectrex games aren't this original. Bedlam can be picked up occasionally on ebay for around $35.U.S.

Score 7.5/10

Review written by Daniel Foot


This article uses material from the Bedlam Gaming Wikia article and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License.