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Sectis

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Sectis

Sectis

Developer George Pelonis
Publishers FURY
Freeware
Release dates 2010
2016 (re-release)
Genre Puzzle
Multi-directional shooter
Mode Single player only
Media Cartridge
ROM file
Preceded by 3D Sector-X
Followed by Continuum

StoryEdit

Long before the Apocalypse began, Sectis spawned a legion of sectoids to guard the outskirts of hell...fending off any attempts made by the powers of good to infiltrate and convert the souls of the damned.

Bypass this seemingly impenetrable dark fortress, destroy Sectis, and bring forth the days of Armageddon!

Basic gameplay/dangersEdit

The majority of the game involves destroying enemies known as sectoids (in levels one and three), along with end of level bosses, although there are also puzzles to solve in the second level.

At the start of a new game, the player can freely fly around; however, when the player's ship flies into an area with a sectoid in it, the sectoid will automatically tether itself to the player and start flying around in a circle (which occurs in the first and third levels). If the player allows it to fly around long enough it will take away one or more shield units. If all five of the player's shield units are destroyed then the game will end. If two sectoids are tethered to the player's ship they will do twice as much damage to the player's shields until the player is able to shoot either one or both of them. The player cannot exit a screen that has sectoids in it until they have been shot. The player's shields will be recharged back to full strength after the completion of a level.

Also, colliding with a wall segment (except for the walls of the chamber housing Oculis in level two), being damaged by a boss (in the same manner of a sectoid, as the bosses in the first and third levels will also tether themselves to the player's ship, whereas Oculis will just fire at a player), the Mourning Stars in level two when they explode after hitting a wall and being shot by Oculis will cause damage to player's shields, although Cruci-FIX Repair Kits are found in every level that will restore one unit of the player's shields once the player makes contact with a Kit. Colliding with one of the chamber walls housing Oculis, taking a full, direct hit from a Mourning Star in level two or touching Sectis' cocoon will destroy the player's ship and end the game, despite how many shield units the player had available.

The other gameplay element (in the second area) involves the player figuring out what routes to take in a Labyrinth, leading to a puzzle to solve and the Oculis boss to destroy at the end of the level.

LevelsEdit

The Outskirts of HellEdit

The player starts off alone in this level, although that doesn't last for long, as the moment they fly to another screen they will find one or two sectoids attached to their ship. This level has 10 sectoids that need to be destroyed; if the player can destroy all 10 of them, a chamber will open up at the bottom center of the play area, which will lead to the large boss Queen Sectoid that takes five hits to be destroyed before the player can continue onto the next level.

The Labyrinth of OculisEdit

Unlike the other two levels in this game, there are no sectoids in this one. As the name suggests, the player is in a labyrinth and must choose a certain set of paths in order to continue through the level/game.

There are several areas where a Mourning Star entity will emerge from a passageway in the Labyrinth. If the player chooses the correct set of paths -- leading to a vortex -- they will find themselves in a puzzle area (after they enter the vortex, they will be warped to this area), with nine vortex boxes making the shape of a square, which must be solved in order to advance further through the Labyrinth. Choosing an incorrect vortex to run into with their ship will send the player back to the main part of the Labyrinth; other vortexes will move the player to an opposite square (i. e. if the player runs into the vortex at the center left of the puzzle, it will transport them to the center right square). If the player makes contact in the correct order of vortexes, they will be transported to another Labyrinth area with a few one-way passageways, complete with a couple of Cruci-FIX Repair Kits, another Mourning Star, and then Oculis himself, who resides inside a chamber in the center of the screen.

If the player is able to figure out how to destroy Oculis, a vortex will appear, which, when entered, will transport the player to the final area of the game.

The Lair of SectisEdit

The gameplay of this final level is similar to the first level's goal, as the player has sectoids to destroy, although there are over twice as many this time around (25 in all), more Cruci-FIX Repair Kits, and the play area is a lot larger, running several screens across and down.

Sectis can be seen as a cocoon at first, and if the player destroys all 25 sectoids, he will emerge from the cocoon in a final battle with the player once the player's ship enters that area. If the player is able to destroy Sectis and enters the final portal that appears afterwards then the game ends.

ControlsEdit

  • Turn ship--left or right on joystick or D-pad
  • Fire--button 4
  • Thrust--button 3

Trivia/notesEdit

  • Once the player's shields start taking several hits, the damage to their ship is similar to Vectrace, as its shape changes.
  • The main menu screen music is the same that is found on 3D Sector-X and Continuum.
  • There is a "mini-movie" before each level: with The Outskirts of Hell, several sectoids fly forward in a first-person perspective; for The Labyrinth of Oculis, Oculis flies by, and for The Lair of Sectis, Sectis' cocoon appears and disappears, gradually getting closer until Sectis himself can be seen inside the cocoon in the final shot.
  • The puzzle part of the second level is a foreshadowing of the gameplay for the following Continuum game, which involved the player flying their ship into vortexes in order to solve puzzles. The puzzle for this level would also be the exact same puzzle (and can be solved in the exact same manners) as the second puzzle in Continuum.
  • This was the second game in the Sector-X series, which started with 3D Sector-X, was followed by Continuum, will be further followed by Hellhole: Sector-X IV, and will be concluded with a fifth Sector-X game (originally titled Sector-X V: The War in Heaven, but this has been canceled for now as the series has taken a new direction).
  • This is more of an action/shooter game with a couple of puzzle aspects to it, whereas the majority of Continuum involved solving puzzles, with only sectoids appearing in two of the puzzles and two Mourning Stars appearing in one.
  • All of FURY's games have been limited edition, which this is the first game to be given a trial as to being an unlimited edition cart. Cartridges are also individually numbered, which the number appears after the Vectrex bootup screen.
    Sectis cart

    Sectis Limited Edition cart.

  • For those that pre-ordered the game, they received a limited edition Sectis t-shirt with the Sectis logo embroidered on the front and the cartridge came in a clear case (see at right).
  • At the time of release, programmer George Pelonis stated this was his biggest game to date.
  • The Sectis ROM was re-released in 2016 as freeware.

LinksEdit

  • Official Sectis page
  • Sectis walkthrough video
  • A strategy guide/walkthrough and review can be read below by clicking on the appropriate tabbers.

WalkthroughEdit

BASIC STRATEGIES/THE OUTSKIRTS OF HELL

A few basic tips (before going into specific level situations) includes avoiding all walls in the game. This is easy enough during most stages, except for the second one when you’re dealing with Oculis. Walls take off a shield unit per hit, whereas the walls housing Oculis means instant death upon contact.

Unfortunately as far as trying to deal with sectoids, there isn’t a real sure-fire way to do so (probably what everyone reading this wants), just try to get a “feel” for dealing with them, since, if you have a good sense of judgment when playing a game, you should be able to tell pretty quickly (which you’re going to have to!) if a sectoid is attached to your ship, you’re shooting but you’re not going to be able to kill it at the rate you’re currently going. So you’ll have to reposition yourself quickly if your lead is off.

Look VERY closely to see what’s going on when dealing with a sectoid: if you are spinning around with one, trying to shoot it, and you see that your shots are a little bit ahead of it, then take your hand off the turn button for a brief instant, then start turning again in the direction the sectoid is moving. If you do it correctly you’ll then be able to shoot the sectoid. If your shot is behind the sectoid, immediately turn your ship in the opposite direction and meet it again as it spins around and start over in trying to destroy it, since sectoids move at the exact same speed that your ship turns, so if your shots are behind/missing a sectoid, there is no way you’ll be able to catch up to it if you keep on turning in the same direction it is going.

Another thing to keep in mind is to find whatever angles work for you and use them to your advantage, although this can be a crutch in case it fails. For instance, when I play a game, I always go up from my starting position, dealing with the one sectoid there, head up to the next area and kill those two there. I then head left, flying at an 11 o’clock angle, which I can kill off that sectoid immediately a fair amount of the time. I then continue left with my ship facing the 9 o’clock position and can usually kill one of those two sectoids immediately that way as well. Of course, this is just some kind of mental conditioning, but it works fairly well for me, and if the above fails, I have to reposition myself quickly in order to compensate missing a sectoid.

Also, if there are one or more Cruci-FIX Kits left after you have dealt with one or more sectoids, do NOT enter an area to do battle with two sectoids at once (every other screen has two sectoids) if you have more than one unit of damage to your shields if you can help it; if you have more than one and there’s a Kit available, go back and get it, since in no time at all with every complete rotation two sectoids accomplish, you’re taking double damage, which will quickly end your game if you’re not able to destroy them quickly enough.

And as far as the Queen Sectoid boss goes, keep in mind that after it is shot it will spin around a couple of times, but won’t make entire turns before it is vulnerable again, i. e. if you shoot it in the 12 o’clock position, it will become vulnerable again at about the 3 o’clock position (or so) after spinning around a couple of times. So anticipate where it’s going to resume it’s regular, vulnerable pattern so your timing won’t get thrown off, as it takes five hits to be sent away.

THE LABYRINTH OF OCULIS

The majority of this level is pretty easy, without a sectoid to be found.

In order to navigate through the maze, there are two ways to do this. The safer way is to take the left passageway in the Labyrinth and head in that direction. It would also be best to straighten out your ship first so it is runs exactly parallel with the walls, just in case you panic and fly off at an angle, which could lead to you accidentally hitting a wall and causing damage to your shields (if not getting caught by an emerging Mourning Star and destroying your ship and ending the game).

Once you get to a screen where a Mourning Star comes charging out from the top center passageway, just keep on going full speed without stopping and you won't get hit by it. After this screen is a passageway that leads straight up. Again, straighten up your ship so it is exactly parallel to the walls, which you will go through two more screens, then you'll hit a vortex to take you to the puzzle screen.

Or, another path to take is to go straight up from your starting point in the level and positioning yourself as close as you can to the left corridor in the next screen without alerting a Mourning Star to your presence. Once one does come charging through, fly past it (heading left) to the center corridor, fly up on the next screen, turn left down that corridor, then fly straight up afterwards to the vortex. However, this path is a bit more dangerous in case you veer off by mistake and hit a wall when you’re chased by a Mourning Star that’s right on your tail for the most part, but some may still prefer taking this path.

Either way will bring you to the puzzle screen, which also can be solved in a few ways. First off, do not touch any of the corner vortexes (i. e. the top left and right and bottom left and right ones), as they will just teleport you back to the Labyrinth. Then fly straight in a line, which you can fly straight up the middle until you hit the top middle vortex box, which then warps you to the bottom middle one; keep going straight up until you hit the middle box, then hit the top center one and middle one again to transport you to the next part of the Labyrinth. Or you can go in the opposite direction, flying straight down, hitting vortexes in that manner, as well as flying straight left or right; any straight direction will do.

The long way is to fly your ship over each center vortex (being top center, bottom, left or right center), followed by the center vortex after each one. For example, if you fly into the top center vortex, you will be transported to the bottom vortex, which you will then fly into the center one. Then fly into the right center vortex, touch the center one again, then the bottom. Touch the middle, then the left center vortex and enter the center one a final time and you'll be teleported to the next area. And any order will do, just as long as you touch each vortex once: it could be top, center, left, center, bottom, center, and right, center, or left, center, right, center, top, center, bottom, center, etc. Just touch each vortex box (again, except for the corner ones), followed by the center vortex each and you'll be teleported out.

Then you'll be in a one-way passage that leads up. Again, it's a good idea to turn your ship so it runs straight up, parallel to the walls, and stay in the center as you travel through a few screens, as with the very last one with the vortex at the end of the corridor will also bring about a Mourning Star charging you at the last second, so keep going straight for the vortex so you won't get hit by it. After that you will be teleported to one final one-way passage, which leads to the right and to Oculis, who is encased in a square-shaped chamber with openings in each corner.

There are two ways to destroy Oculis, being the more hazardous, and the longer, but safer way.

Sectisoculis
The direct approach is to just fly in between one of the gaps of his enclosure to the point where he stops shooting at you. However, if you accidentally hit one of the walls, it will destroy your ship and end the game, and even if you make it in safely he’s pelting you with fire in the meantime. Get close enough to him, though, and he’ll stop shooting, so shoot him five times, turn around and fly out of there before he explodes, then very carefully fly back inside to hit the vortex to go to the final level. However, be VERY careful in doing so, as hitting a wall is still fatal. Just try to recall what angle works best; for instance, in the photo at left, whenever I enter at point C, I have to fly at an angle that looks like I’m going to hit the right wall, but I don’t; if I fly close to the left wall my ship gets destroyed. Just keep in mind what angle works for you, since Vectrexes have slightly different displays, so what works for one person might not work for another.

The other way to deal with Oculis is to trick him into spinning around the wrong way, giving you more time to deal with him, enter his area and destroy him then.

Start at a corner; this should work at any corner, but the method I always use (/that I’ll use for this illustrative purpose) is at point A in the photo. Position yourself as to when he starts shooting in your direction, but not so far to the point where he stops. Right as he shoots, hightail it to point C. If you do this correctly, Oculis will spin, clockwise, in the direction towards points points 3 and 4 marked in the photo, giving you plenty of time to enter at point C and kill him. Keep an eye on him though, since if this doesn’t work and he ends up spinning counterclockwise in the direction of areas 1 to 2 in the photo, get out of there, as you’re going to be taking damage once he starts shooting at you, then try this trick again by starting over at point A.

Once you safely get inside his area and shoot him five times, get out before he explodes (and takes you with him), then carefully fly back in as described beforehand, and again, be careful of the still-lethal walls as you hit the vortex for the last level.

THE LAIR OF SECTIS

The strategy for shooting sectoids also applies here, although there are a couple of things to note in regards to getting repairs.

First off, fly several screens to the right of your starting point and pick off the lone sectoid. At the corner intersection of the farthest right/vertical passageway heading down is a Cruci-FIX Repair Kit. Go down one screen, pick off the lone sectoid there, then go left one screen and you have access to another Kit in case your shields take a pummeling later.

Then, repeat the process by going back to your starting point and head downwards towards the farthest left corner, as again you’ll encounter just one lone sectoid on your way there. Destroy it, go down to the bottom left hand corner and there’s a Kit. Then go back up one screen and over a screen to the right and there will be a second Kit again.

Also, you will only encounter two sectoids at one time at the very last two bottom horizontal rows and the far right vertical row (although you have to go down several screens at the very right before you encounter two of them at once if you’re starting from the top right corner and then head downwards). So keep these places in mind if you feel confident enough/you’re at a good shield strength to tackle the areas that have groups of two sectoids each.

Once you enter Sectis’ screen, don’t touch his cocoon, or else he’ll destroy you and end the game. When the battle time comes, even though he’s big, try to focus on shooting him straight up the middle, as he’s a bit wide and just being off by a fraction will end up not scoring a hit. And be alert for how he changes direction after each time he’s shot.

And good luck as you do battle with one of the hardest games for the Vectrex.

(Strategy guide by Darrylb500)

ReviewEdit

Well HERE’S a game that makes no sense whatsoever! You steer around some kind of ship, flying around in the same manner as in Mine Storm, Solar Quest, etc. (i. e. turning left and right and thrusting) until you reach a screen that has an enemy (known as a sectoid) in it, which, for some odd reason, no matter where you enter these areas, a sectoid will instantly attach itself to your ship. Shooting the s. o. b.s takes up the majority of this game (two out of its three levels), which at the end of those levels you then – guess what? – have to dispose of a boss in the same manner, except they take five hits to be destroyed! (Then level 2 requires the player to figure out their way through a maze, solve a puzzle and take care of a different kind of boss.)

Although some of the graphics are pretty bare (just lines for borders), the bright sectoids are pretty cool, and the sounds aren’t bad, although I didn’t really like the sound of the player’s ship thrusting, as it sounds like a mosquito.

So, you know how most of the game is in a nutshell there. However, for those who haven’t played it, you might not know it’s DAMN HARD. The sectoids move at the same speed that you turn and it can be pretty difficult to try to shoot them when that happens, having to match up their angle and trajectory and all. It’s like programmer George Pelonis looked at the two main characters tethered together in the Sega 32X game of Knuckles Chaotix and said “what can I do that’s somewhat similar, yet make it about five times worse?” I mean, I’ve currently played a little over 50 Vectrex games as I’m writing this, and out of those 50+ games, it’s either THE hardest, or the second hardest game I’ve ever played out of the bunch. And this is coming from someone who can get to over level 30 on Mine Storm and once beat a multiple world record holder/video game champion in an online gaming contest (no, I’m not saying who, so don’t ask). So for me to say it’s hard, yes, it very much is indeed!

I also know that Pelonis said at the time of release it was his biggest game to date (since all levels span several screens, especially the final one, which runs several screens across and down), yet the game’s still short, as you can beat the whole thing if you do everything correctly (which is unlikely!) in less than 15 minutes.

However, Sectis still has a bit of an addicting quality to it, somehow, for some reason. I’ve been playing it on and off for months; why I don’t know exactly.

Sector-X has been an interesting series thus far, with Continuum (the game after this one) being mostly in the puzzle genre, and it’ll be interesting to see what parts four and five of the series will have in store for us.

But until then, you’ve been warned! 6.5/10

(review by Darrylb500)

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