Gameplay Edit

The player controls a submarine in hostile waters and must rescue the survivors of a mission which ended in disaster. Enemy submarines surround and will fire upon the player's ship if it enters sonar range. Each enemy submarine can fire up to five torpedoes; however, if it is destroyed before it uses all of their torpedoes, the remainder will be added to the player's arsenal. Other obstacles which must be avoided are mines, ice chunks and turbulent underwater whirlwinds. Once the survivors are located, it is necessary to dock with their pod, which the player has to approach with accuracy and care. A new mission will begin with a successful rescue.

Controls Edit

Main Menu Edit

  • Select between 1 or 2 players-button 1
  • Select level of difficulty-button 2
  • Begin game-button 4

In-game Edit

  • Surface-up on joystick or D-pad
  • Dive-down on joystick or D-pad
  • Rotate left or right-left or right on joystick or D-pad
  • Pause-button 1
  • Reverse thrust-button 2
  • Forward thrust-button 3
  • Fire torpedo-button 4

Damage Edit

As the player's ship is damaged by torpedoes, mines, or comes in contact with ice chunks or other submarines, the player's submarine will lose operation of its capabilities.

Damage points Edit

  • 0-10-No damage
  • 10-19-Loss of upper left torpedo tube
  • 20-29-Loss of upper right torpedo tube
  • 30-39-Loss of lower left torpedo tube
  • 40 or more damage points makes it impossible to dock with survivor pod
  • 40-49-Loss of lower right torpedo tube
  • 50-59-Loss of survivor pod's arrow on sonar
  • 60-69-Loss of sonar display
  • 70-79-Loss of control of speed
  • 80-89-Loss of engines/dead in the water
  • 90-99-Loss of submarine

Damage is repaired over time and functions are restored as long as the player's submarine isn't destroyed.

Scoring Edit

  • Dock with survivor pod-5000 points
  • Destroy enemy sub-1000 points
  • Destroy enemy torpedo-750 points
  • Destroy a mine-500 points
  • Destroy an ice chunk-275 points

Trivia Edit

  • Polar Rescue was released only under the GCE brand, not in countries which used the Milton Bradley or Bandai brands.


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Polar Rescue, one of the rarest Vectrex games to obtain and sometimes alludes even the vintage Vectrex collector. This game in its complete form fetches a high price at US$180. when, and if, it does show up on ebay. Designed by Mark Indictor & Jeff Corsiglia and released by GCE in 1983, Polar Rescue was only available at a few major retail chains for a very short while and shorter still was it's availability via mail order (Power 2003). This game along with Star Castle and Fortress of Narzod were some of the very last games released for the Vectrex by GCE.

The plot is rather more complex than most Vec games of this vintage. It involves you as the captain and commander of an elite submarine tracking down survivors of a prior ill-fated submarine convoy. The player will need to dodge enemy submarines, icebergs, mines on his/her way to reaching the stranded survivors who are patiently waiting and hoping for your success. It's no easy task and be prepared for several encounters with the enemy on your journey to the depths of the Arctic.

Graphically Polar rescue presents us with some of the best vectors of the era and launching and docking procedures are faithfully acknowledged by full graphic representation. The various 'ping' sounds and the noises your torpedoes make as they glide their way through the water towards the enemy subs must surely be equivalent to real live sub sounds. It's almost frightening the solitude one feels as you make your way to the depths of the ocean in Polar Rescue Once in 'battle mode' and under attack from enemy fire the player must keep his/her eye on the radar as the full 3d environment reveals the oceans surroundings.

Once the player has reached the survivors, and the ominously hard docking sequence is complete,a pod is released and the survivors make it safely to your sub and a new level starts over. A downright must for rarity and gameplay.

Score 8/10

Review written by Daniel Foot