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Spike

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This article is about the 1983 game. For the character, see Spike (character).

Spike

Spike

Developer GCE
Publisher GCE
Release Date 1983
Genre Action
Platformer
Mode Single player
1-2 players alternating
Media Cartridge
ROM file


Spike's girlfriend Molly has been kidnapped by his evil nemesis Spud! Spike must rescue her while climbing ladders, jumping platforms, and avoiding the denizens that are out to cause Spike's demise in this pseudo 3-D platformer.

GameplayEdit

Spike starts out at the bottom of the game screen. There are three sets of platforms that he must climb to make it to the top to reach Molly. The platforms move from side to side and Spike must place ladders as the player(s) feel fit will best help him make it from one level of platforms to the next.

The first level has no enemies (except if Spike falls to the ground below); Spike must climb ladders to get the key, and then once he makes it to the top, he can move Molly's cage and then jump into it to save her with. Unfortunately Spud immediately recaptures Molly, and with level two, Bouncers are introduced, which bounce up and down while moving from one side to another on a row of platforms; once the Bouncer reaches a screen edge, they will reappear at the next level of platforms. Spike must either avoid or kick the Bouncers away, but Molly's bow also starts appearing on this level and makes it's way to the bottom of the screen; if Spike is able to grab it, it will freeze the Bouncer for a short time.

Then on the third level, Birds start appearing, and then Bouncers start joining them as well afterwards. The platforms will also change size (alternating between large and small), the enemies and platforms will move quicker, and the platforms will also change direction each time Spike kicks an enemy if the player makes it far enough into the game.

Spike will lose a life if he falls through the spaces in between all platforms to the ground below (also, if Spike reaches the edge of a screen and the platform he is on is pushing him into the edge, he will be pushed off onto the ground below) or gets touched by an enemy and the game will end when he runs out of lives. An extra life is awarded with every 10,000 points.

ControlsEdit

Menu screen

  • Choose from one or two player game--button one
  • Start game--button four

In-game controls

  • Move Spike--joystick or D-pad (four directions)
  • Move ladder/cage--button one
  • Kick left--button two
  • Kick right--button three
  • Jump--button four

ScoringEdit

  • Kicking a Bouncer--100 points
  • Kicking a Bird--200 points
  • Collecting a Key--500 points
  • Opening Molly's Cell--2000 points

TriviaEdit

  • This was the only release from the original GCE lineup of games that could talk (as the Vectrex didn't have speech capability). Molly says "eek...help...Spike", sounding like the pieced-together automated phone services of today, then "oh, Spike" when she is rescued, while Spike bellows "oh no! Molly!" when she is kidnapped, and "darnit!" when he loses a life.
  • This game would propel Spike as to being "the unofficial Vectrex mascot", as he has since appeared in many modern Vectrex homebrews, such as Spike's Water Balloons (on the All Good Things and Vectopia cartridges), Spike Goes Skiing and Spike Hoppin'.
  • Following in the steps of Fortress of Narzod, a homebrew port for the Commodore 64 of Spike was also created in 2010. A YouTube video of it can be seen here, leaving the majority of the game elements intact.

LinksEdit

  • Separate Spike page (character)
  • A review (6.5/10) and the "darnit!" soundclip can be heard at vectrex.nl
  • Click on the tabber below for another review!

ReviewEdit

Spike was a pretty interesting take on Donkey Kong. It wasn’t the greatest clone or anything like that, since I think it’s more fun to jump over barrels and smash enemies with a hammer and such. After all, the screens are fairly bare with enemies – only one or two on the same level with you – but it still presents a challenge though by placing ladders where you need them, grabbing the key to Molly’s cage, making jumps, avoiding enemies AND having to make it to the top to free her (finally!).

The game can end up being a bit fast-paced, the controls are fairly good and the graphics are ok. The sounds are somewhat sparse, but again, there’s not many enemies on each screen, although an attempt was made (although I could be wrong on this, as I’m just theorizing) to compensate for that for having some rare in-game music during gameplay. Granted, it gets cancelled out for a split second here and there since there wasn’t an extra microprocessor for the Vectrex to be able to handle music (nor an extra chip to get around this was included in the game itself either), but it’s still one of the few Vectrex games to have this feature.

And then of course, there’s the hilarious sound clips to make up for that, since the Vectrex in itself wasn’t able to handle digitized speech, yet Spike talked, ferociously saying “oh no! Molly!” and even more so with “DARNIT!” Molly, on the other hand, sounds like she’s reading off a cue card (and doing it rather badly), which adds to the hilarity.

This game is kind of hard to rate nowadays, as it might’ve been worth a 7 back in the day, but I never played it myself until after 20 years of release once I finally got my hands on it. People have complained about having to use every single button on the controller (kicking in the directions of left AND right to try to rid yourself of pesky enemies), which can get kind of wonky, and it’s especially hard to rate when there’s homebrews nowadays that spoil you with several games on each cartridge or ones that are great by themselves even with only one game, as this just has one game that just speeds up and doesn’t really get any better.

Still not a bad game in the least though, no matter how you look at it. And Spike’s tale (tail? Har) continues on in many homebrews nowadays. Nice legacy. 6.5/10 (Review by Darrylb500)


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

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