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Space Frenzy

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Space Frenzy

Spacefrenzy

Developer John Dondzila
Publishers Classic Game Creations
Freeware
Packrat Video Games, LLC
Release Dates 2006
2015 (re-release)
Genres Multi-directional shooter
Platformer
Mode Single player only
Media Cartridge
ROM file

OriginsEdit

Although somewhat of an Asteroids clone, Space Fury still managed to be a bit of a unique offering when it hit the arcades in the early 1980s.

First off, it was one of the earlier games that talked, as a one-eyed alien appeared at the beginning of every game saying "so, a creature for my amusement", along with taunting the player at the beginning of every new round. It was also a bit of an "Asteroids in reverse" game, due to the player not breaking up big objects into small ones, but small objects would come together to form big ones, and plus players got to dock with shells to increase the firepower of their ship.

Then, a little over 15 years later, Space Frenzy would make a logical vector clone to be brought to the Vectrex (although minus the color from the arcade original).

ControlsEdit

  • Move ship left and right: joystick (or D-pad) or buttons one and two
  • Use thrust: button three
  • Fire weapons: button four

GameplayEdit

The game begins with two groups of ship segments appearing onscreen in an attempt to join together to form a cruiser so it can attack the player. If only a partial cruiser forms (i. e. the player shoots at least one segment out of a batch before its other segments join together), then it will chase after the player's ship. However, if an entire cruiser forms, it will float listlessly around the screen, not chasing the player, but it will shoot at the player's ship.

(One difference to note is that, unlike the arcade original, colliding with a ship segment is fatal, as the player[s] could pass through ship segments unharmed originally before a ship was complete.)

After each wave (note: unlike with the original, there is no bonus for completing a wave), the player is given the choice of three ships to dock with to increase their firepower. A bonus is given for time remaining after a docking. These ships consist of:

  • Top ship: fires a single line of shots in front of the player's ship and two at a time behind it
  • Left ship: fires three shots straight forward
  • Right ship: fires a shot forward, one to the left, and one to the right of the player's ship

(Note: unlike with the original, if a player is able to dock with three ship shells, the last one they choose will be their shell for the rest of the game; with Space Frenzy, the player is allowed to continually change ships with every round.)

ScoringEdit

Level one

  • Forming enemies - 10
  • Incomplete cruisers - 40
  • Completed cruisers - 20
  • Enemy shots - 30

Level two

  • Forming enemies - 20
  • Incomplete cruisers - 80
  • Completed cruisers - 40
  • Enemy shots - 60

Level three

  • Forming enemies - 30
  • Incomplete cruisers - 150
  • Completed cruisers - 80
  • Enemy shots - 100

Level four and on

  • Forming enemies - 40
  • Incomplete cruisers - 300
  • Completed cruisers - 150
  • Enemy shots - 200

ExtrasEdit

Space Frenzy variationsEdit

Without a VecVox or AtariVox+, the alien won't speak out loud, but overhead text will appear instead, with the introduction from Space Fury of "So, a creature for my amusement, prepare for battle!". At the end of a game, the text will read "Our battle is complete, warrior. You were a ___ opponent", with a rank depending on how the player performed (such as "adequate").

With a VecVox or AtariVox+ unit, however, not only will the alien say out loud the intro and closing rank, but during gameplay he will also state at the beginning of each new round either "So, you defeated my scouts. My cruisers will destroy you.", "You are starting to annoy me, creature. My destroyers will annihilate you.", "You survived! Warriors! Dispose of this annoyance at once.", "Is there no warrior mightier than I?", or "Does anyone dare challenge my imperial fleet?".

Playing with the Digi-Speech version allows the alien to talk out loud without an added voice module, with only saying the introduction and "our battle is complete, warrior" without a rank at the end of a game. However, there can be some technical problems using this feature, depending on the Vectrex it is played on (see the last note in the Trivia section in regards to this).

Super Spike World demoEdit

Super Spike World

Super Spike World demo screen.

An attempted clone of the SNES' Super Mario World, the unfinished Super Spike World demo, is also included on the cartridge. The player moves Spike around several screens, collecting some kind of v-shaped prizes and some rods of some sort off of a couple of telephone poles, jumping on birds, what appears to be Spike's enemy Spud, and even what seems to be a rendition of the Enterprise from Star Trek. Spike also can jump on platforms, some of which move or will crumble underneath his feet, as well as a couple of trees. This goes on for several screens until it wraps back to the beginning. There is no sound and no way to die.

ControlsEdit

  • Move Spike: joystick or D-pad
  • Jump: button one
  • Exit demo: button four

TriviaEdit

  • The alien does not appear on the ROM version for those wanting to play Space Frenzy on an emulator.
  • The front box cover closely resembles the original GCE-released Vectrex game boxes.
  • At the time of its release, this was proclaimed by creator John Dondzila as to being his first "paperless" game, as the game instructions are "online"[1], rather than having them printed out and included with the game (although this doesn't include the Vectropolis 500 demo off of Dondzila's Vectopia release, as its instructions are also online). However, starting in 2009, several games (Vaboom!/Vectrace, Vector Vaders, and Thrust, for example) were released that had their instructions printed on the backs of oversized boxes, which was probably due to Dondzila doing this to save money, as he had never raised his prices for his cartridges (not counting shipping) since he started marking his homebrewed games in 1996 ($20 U. S. for all of his games, not including several from the Vectrex carts website that he took over from Mark Shaker, which several of those games are even cheaper) until 2013 when he quit producing cartridges. However, at the time, this was a first for Dondzila. (The game would be re-released by Packrat Video Games, LLC in 2015.)
  • With all Vectrexes having slightly different displays, the display can be affected when the Digi-Speech
    Alien

    Oops upside da head...

    version is played. A few people had posted on the Vectrex news group that the game ran fine with all of their Vectrexes they tried it out on. Others said they had to crank up the volume really loud to hear the alien, while another stated that the alien's volume was only slightly lower than the regular game sounds, but the graphics were distorted, with the alien's eye and pupil being separated and it looked like the alien's head was split open. (Note: Vectrex images can be hard to capture, which taking this photo at right proved, since lines aren't all drawn at once [too quick for the naked eye to see, but not the camera to catch], so not all of the details could be caught at the same time, like the eye problem. However, it still illustrates how the top of the alien's head seems to be split, along with the line going through his neck on his right [/the reader's left].)
  • The Digi-Speech version very closely resembles the Space Fury original, with the deep voice. When playing the regular version with a VecVox or AtariVox+, however, the voice coming from the SpeakJet sounds robotic and nothing like the voice from Space Fury, as the two technologies in regards to producing the speech are totally different.
  • Unlike how it states in the instructions, no extra life is awarded at 10,000 points on Space Frenzy, unless this was changed in later editions.
  • Originally on the Space Frenzy official web page and the cartridge box, it stated the game was VecVoice compatible. This was actually incorrect (it actually works with the VecVox/setting on the AtariVox+), and if the VecVoice/mode is chosen for those that own an AtariVox+, the speech will come out garbled.

LinksEdit

  • Packrat Video Games, LLC Space Frenzy page
  • A review and the voice clips from the Digi-Speech mode can be heard at the vectrexworld.com site
  • Click on the appropriate tabs below for a review and strategy guide.

ReviewEdit

For those that are familiar with where their Vectrex clone games come from, Space Frenzy is, of course, a clone of the arcade game Space Fury, which was a bit of an "Asteroids in reverse" game, where instead of shooting big objects into smaller ones, small objects would form into big ones in this game. The game was a minor cult hit and was only ported to the ColecoVision, then years later cloned for the Vectrex.

The controls to Asteroids were also similar as well: turn, thrust, and shoot (just minus hyperspace), as the player shot pieces of ships before they formed into bigger ones that would either shoot at or make a beeline for the player, should they form together.

Of course, there were a few differences from the original, such as no bonus at the end of a round, ship segments are lethal right off the bat (in both versions of the original and ColecoVision game, they're harmless at first), and the player gets to keep on docking with ship shells in order to increase their firepower with, unlike with the original where they're stuck with the third shell until they lose their last life.

Ah, yes, that's another thing that made the game different, was those nice shells that increased the players' firepower, along with the alien that would appear onscreen to mock the player with, being one of the earlier talking arcade games ever.

As per usual, programmer John Dondzila made a very simple concept still pretty addicting, causing me to forgive him for this release, as he kept on having bigger and bigger compilations as he went along (the first ever 64K cartridges of Vecmania and Vectopia, Gravitrex ALONE was a 64K game off Gravitrex Plus, not counting the other two games that came on the cart!). At least there are a few bonuses included, like using the non-speech version while playing (which can affect a Vectrex in various ways; see the Trivia part on the main page for a few examples), the speech version, or if a player has a VecVox or AtariVox+, using either the controller or buttons 1 and 2 to turn the player's ship, and the unfinished Super Spike World demo to play. For those that played the original might not be too impressed with the reproduced speech though, as it sounds robotic when using a VecVox or AtariVox+, which at first I didn't think it really added that much to the game, but then I got used to it and started enjoying it a bit more later.

I give this one a 7 out of 10, but barely, since its just the one game and demo. Still worth it though, as per Dondzila usual. (review by Darrylb500)

Strategy guideEdit

General playing tips

  • Shoot at least one piece out of every enemy ship group that's forming, as that will increase your score (shooting one or more enemy ship pieces will bring you more points, rather than just shooting one incomplete or completed cruiser), along with keeping completed cruisers at bay that will start shooting at you (as well as incomplete cruisers that will start chasing you). However, you will not be able to do this forever, once the game/ship pieces start moving faster and faster.
  • Once the game starts speeding up, when ship pieces appear and you are not able to shoot one immediately, pause and try to be able to determine when they will start moving so you can be sure to destroy at least one ship piece per group so they do not form complete cruisers; fire several shots in front of a ship piece in hopes that it will start moving and run into a shot and be destroyed.
  • Also -- even though you will be tempted to do it a lot, no doubt -- try not to constantly fire to the point where you're out of shots and can't defend yourself once a ship or cruiser is headed your way; if you're out of shots and don't move in time, you could end up being destroyed by an enemy collision.
  • Try to shoot in one direction as much as possible, as it will cut down on thrusting, yet take care of many ship pieces/cruisers at the same time, as targets in any given situation could include partial, complete cruisers, or just flat-out pieces that could be starting to join together.
  • When you thrust around due to avoiding enemies, be sparse and careful about it, as in no time flat your ship could possibly collide with an enemy ship piece or cruiser (as the Vectrex's screen is a bit small, increasing your chances of running into something as well that you might not be able to see, plus your ship's thrust is fairly strong). Also try to fly around in tight little circles around enemy ships, due to keeping in tune with the tips of not thrusting much and with shooting in the same general direction for as much as possible, which results in taking out enemy ships before they form dangerous complete cruisers (and plus shooting ship pieces also helps with your score), plus you don't want to be too far out of firing range with enemy ships as well.
  • As the enemy ship pieces tend to go offscreen, try to remember in what spot(s)/directions the pieces were forming/heading so you can try to take out one or more of them per group. Also try to do this when pieces are on the opposite sides of the screen, yet you can still shoot them (i. e. you're at the bottom and ship pieces are forming at some point along the top, which you can shoot at the bottom [if that way's easier and closer] and try to have your shots wrap around from the bottom to the top of the screen in hopes of hitting one or more of those pieces before they turn into cruisers).
  • Also in regards to screen edges, try to stay away from them as much as possible, since, again, with ship pieces going offscreen, sometimes you can lose track as to where they are and what direction they are headed (especially when things start speeding up), resulting in collisions/losing reserve ships in the process.
  • Most of the time you're not going to want to shoot straight at an enemy ship or fireball (although this is covered in more detail in the next section in regards to docking/gaining extra firepower).
  • And also on a similar note, if there's a fireball that is shot at you near the end of a wave/there aren't many enemies left and you're trying for the best score possible (as they're the second highest-scoring target period), then shoot it from an angle, and NOT straight on, as you might not hit it, you'll have less time to turn and thrust away from it if you find yourself missing it, and because if you lose a ship, you'll have to start the current wave entirely over (if you have any ships left in reserve).
  • Also DON'T take for granted when you're down to the last two (or even one) enemy ship[s] left at the end of a wave! If a ship is coming towards you and you're firing but missing the ship, then turn and thrust away from it, then turn and resume shooting at the ship when you're at a safe distance from it. Because aside from getting your butt kicked during a game, there's nothing worse than having to start a wave over when the screen's almost totally devoid of enemies, yet you lost a reserve (or possibly your last) ship when there was only one or two enemy cruisers left!
  • Also remember your ship/a reserve ship when it first appears at the start of a new wave will face in the direction it was in last, so be prepared to quickly turn your ship to face in a direction that will suit you best (i. e. if you're using the ship on the right side after docking with it, you should face sideways as much as possible to aim as many shots as possible towards enemies; after docking with the top ship, face away from enemies, as more shots will come out from the back of your ship, rather than from the front, etc.).
  • Stay in the center as much as possible, along with avoiding screen edges.

Docking/extra ships

  • When docking with a new ship, if you're barely off when attempting to dock with one, you could pass right through it. It is imperative that you dock with a ship, so don't worry about whatever bonus points you're not going to get for taking too long to dock. Turn around, thrust to the point where you seem to be right in a straight line/path with a ship, then try thrusting into it again. You should also turn straight left and right for those ships, making sure you're lined up perfectly with them, THEN start thrusting, which you should have no problem docking with them then.
  • Unless you have a different preference, the order you should use when docking with ships is to dock with the right ship first, then the top one, saving the most powerful one -- the left one -- for last. (If you have a different preference though, then change this order around as to whatever you feel is best for you.)
  • Also keep in mind what ship is next as the docking screen comes up, as that way you will get the most amount of bonus points possible (if you're aiming for a decent score) by not wasting time and docking as quickly as possible. And especially remember when it's time to dock with the ship above you, as you can just hold down the thrust button the moment it tells you to prepare for docking, which you can dock with that ship as quickly as possible (having only one digit tick off from the timer) for the maximum bonus possible.
  • Use extra ship firepower CORRECTLY: as it was mentioned in the first section, most of the time you're not going to want to shoot straight at an enemy ship or fireball, as you'll want to make a quick thrust escape from one or more enemies when needed. In other words, after choosing the ship on the right side of the screen, you should fire at enemies sideways, which will enable you a quick escape, since you shouldn't have to turn your ship much for the most part to thrust away from them (plus your greatest firepower shoots from the sides, rather than from the front or back of your ship). With the top ship, you need to get used to firing at enemies that are behind you, since your ship fires two shots at once in the rear direction. (You also need to quickly thrust away if an enemy is coming up behind you, yet you can't shoot it, as their ships can be small enough to fit in between your rain of bullets. So also turning your ship a little to the side can also increase the chances of hitting your enemy then.) Finally, the ship at the left only fires in front, which, due to possible collision detection problems with the game, doesn't always guarantee that you'll be able to destroy a fireball even when you've got several rows of bullets being fired at once at it. As it was mentioned in the first section, thrust away and take these out from another angle, rather than head on.
  • And finally, if you get to point in the game that you've never been able to get past that point/you can't do much better, you might want to skip the worst ship/one you like the least and use the better ones when docking. Might as well make it easier on yourself!

(strategy guide by Darrylb500)

ReferencesEdit

  1. Classic Game Creations site


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

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