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Marine Fox

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Marine Fox

Marinefox

Developer Mountain Goat
Publishers Mountain Goat Entertainment
Freeware
Release dates August, 2015
September, 2015 (versions 1.01-1.3)
Genre Action
Mode Single player only
Media ROM file

Background/gameplayEdit

Marine Fox is the first game from Mountain Goat released in August of 2015. It was inspired by the arcade and Atari 2600 classic Solar Fox.

You are captain Ariel Fox in command of the submarine "Medusa". Ariel is actually featured in the game on the Level announcement screen.

Your job is to gather all crystals from the sea floor but there is a catch...

The Sentinels have sent sharks to stop you.

The goal is to avoid being eaten while gathering all triangular crystals and advance through the levels. If there is any time remaining at the completion of a level (marked by a bar at the bottom of the screen), the player will receive a bonus of how much time is remaining. The player starts with five Medusas, which they will lose one whenever they come into contact with a shark. Once the player is out of Medusas the game will end.

Later releasesEdit

Due to creator Mountain Goat asking for suggestions for improvements on Marine Fox on the Vector gaming forums, he took several ideas into consideration, which resulted in him tweaking the game and releasing the following[1].

Version 1.01Edit

This version played identical to the first, although a pause function was added.

Version 1.2Edit

This version had the most amount of changes to it, such as reassigning the pause function, as the ability to steer the Medusa using the Vectrex controller’s buttons was also added. The shape of the crystals along with the tempo of the game were also changed, making it easier. An additional fox insignia was added at the bottom of the game over screen. There was also a shark reset bug that was fixed, which originally caused a shark to “start down (or up) a lane normally, and after a short while it would jump back to its starting position on the top (or at the bottom)”[2], along with five power-ups being added that can appear during the later levels to help the player out if captured in time before they disappeared (being ones that sped up the Medusa 1.5 times its original speed for several seconds, a shield to make the Medusa temporarily invincible to shark collisions, an entire row of crystals would clear out, the ability to slow down the sharks for several seconds and the end of level bonus can be refilled to the max rounded out the power-ups).

Version 1.3Edit

The intensity of the crystals’ appearance was slightly changed, as well as the initial graphics bug that plagued the first three versions was corrected (see later Trivia section).

Differences from the original Solar FoxEdit

Other than the sub-surface scene as opposed to space, there are a few differences in game mechanics between the original Solar Fox and Marine Fox.

  • The movement of the submarine is free form, not confined to a grid pattern. This is more in style for the Vectrex.
  • There are no direct Sentinels, just animated sharks swimming up and down the vertical lanes.
  • While the size of the grid is 8x8, the levels have changed from the original "racks".
  • There is no bonus level with no enemies.
  • The bonus time period lasts longer in Marine Fox than in the original.
  • There are 16 levels in Marine Fox compared to the 26 in Solar Fox.
  • In Marine Fox the levels get progressively harder by having significantly faster sharks and in later levels also more sharks.

LicenseEdit

Marine Fox is free for non-commercial use.

Scoring (all versions)Edit

  • Picking up a crystal–100 points (note: with versions 1.2 and above, no points are tallied if the player catches the power-up that removes an entire row of crystals)
  • Bonus for time remaining at end of level

ControlsEdit

  • Start game–button1 (After initial first game; see Trivia)
  • Move Medusa–joystick or D-pad

Version 1.1Edit

The controls are the same as with the original version of the game with the following addition:

  • Pause game–button 1

Versions 1.2 and 1.3Edit

The controls are the same as with the original version with the following additions:

  • Steer Medusa–buttons 1 and 2 (along with left/right joystick/D-pad control)
  • Pause–button 4

TriviaEdit

  • Mountain Goat was influenced by watching Shark Week on tv and pondered about what kind of game he could create that had sharks in it.
  • As of 2015, Marine Fox is one of the few games out of the entire Vectrex lineup (Pole Position being another) where it had no options screen and the game will automatically start after several seconds after its initial power-up. All subsequent games after the first one have to be started by pressing button 1 on the controller, however.
  • After asking for suggestions for his game on the Vector gaming forums, Mountain Goat had just implemented a pause button suggestion for the 1.01 version of Marine Fox and had originally stated he would not make any more modifications to the game for a while. However, upon being able to dedicate some time to it a few days later, he was able to add/change a lot of additional elements and release the changes as version 1.2, thereby replacing version 1.01 very quickly.
  • The first three versions of the game had a display problem when the very first game upon powering up the Vectrex started, as with the first several seconds of game play, the game screen’s graphics were severely jumbled. This was finally fixed with version 1.3.
  • All versions of the game’s downloaded content included a flyer with brief instructions (see Gallery).

GalleryEdit

LinksEdit

  • The game and a small game flyer is available for download here
  • A video showing the game was created by Vectrexmad and can be seen here
  • Click on the tabber below for a review.

ReviewEdit

First off, I played Solar Fox at a nearby arcade back in the day, so I’m familiar enough with the game as it is. I never thought it was that great, which I would play a game of it and then move onto something else, so I can still judge and make a comparison with these games.

Going over the original version of Marine Fox first, it takes (somewhat) the gameplay of Clean Sweep and combines it with Solar Fox, which I can say this definitely blows away Clean Sweep. The game is challenging and there’s even the suspense of trying to swipe a crystal at the very bottom as you’re waiting for a blasted shark to appear (or not) and whether you should go for it or not. I also like this better than Solar Fox, even without the bonus waves and that you can’t shoot anything, especially with the crystal configuration/amount changing with every level.

The vector rendition of the Fox lady is pretty cool, along with the sharks looking pretty good and the brief tune in between levels will go through your head. The controls work fine, although they’re somewhat tricky (since you can’t stop ever once you get moving) but you should get used to them pretty quickly. However, the difficulty level is fairly high and all games are over with pretty fast, which, even though addicting, didn’t get me to rate this game any higher than a 6.75 out of 10.

However, as far as version 1.2 goes, THAT’S how you improve upon an already good game and then make it even better! A bug or two was fixed and the crystals twinkle a little, but the main thing was that a pause function was added, the pace was made easier (makes a BIG difference) and there’s not one, but a surprising five power-ups added to the game. That was really good for Mountain Goat to create all of those and put them in. The game was made more fun that way, raising my score to 7.25 out of 10 for that version.

6.75/10 (original)
7.25/10 (version 1.2)

(Review by Darrylb500)

ReferencesEdit

  1. Vector gaming forums thread.
  2. Private message from Mountain Goat.

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