All Good Things
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7  |  *Mostly* Good Things
Darryl B. , 12/9/2009 11:10:02 PM
All Good Things cartridge, box, manual - fatmanallgood.jpg

Homebrewer John Dondzila sure has done a lot for the Vectrex, which included many "firsts": he released not only the first new Vectrex game in over 10 years after the Vectrex bit the dust, but that game was also the first Vectrex homebrew ever (of Vector Vaders, in 1996).  He also released the first Vectrex cartridge with more than one game on it with Patriots, which contained that game and a hidden bonus one on the cartridge as well.  

And he ALSO broke down many barriers with All Good Things: it was not only the first 16K cartridge for the Vectrex ever, but it also had a whopping five games on it as well...another first.

So, lets get into those games then!

Rockaroids: yep, this Asteroids clone wasn't just released as a limited edition cartridge to come and disappear as quickly as it did, it was also included on this compilation!  The player controls a ship that destroys asteroids (of course) that split into several smaller ones when shot, and bonus U. F. O.s appear for big points and fairly big problems, since they shoot at you.  Sometimes you'll get your butt kicked, then at other times once you get into the groove of things, you can get scores of 100,000 points, since it's a bit easy, which is pretty high considering the point values of the asteroids (10, 20, and 50 points) are half of the ones from the arcade original!  I give this a 6.5 out of 10.

Vectris: here's a game that I can't understand at ALL.  No, not the gameplay, as I know how it works: being a Tetris clone, that means that shapes fall from the top of the screen down to the bottom; rotate them as to how you want them and place them in strategic areas to get them all to line up correctly.  Once an entire horizontal line is completed, that line will disappear; have too many shapes pile up to the top of the screen and it's game over for you.  The game has a welcome pause feature, but the part I can't understand is how Dondzila can make the simplest games so addicting, since this is the only Tetris clone I've played where there are no bonuses, no levels that end and a new level starts up, it's just one continuous level that keeps speeding up until you're doomed.  Also, people have complained about what a horrible flickerfest it is on the eyes, but if you use a colorful Vectrex overlay (like Scramble, which is what I use) I've never found it to be a problem. 7 out of 10 on this one.

More Invaders!: you know how it is, space invaders move in a group from side to side, once they hit the edge of the screen they drop down, drop bombs at you, a high scoring U. F. O. appears several times during a level, etc. (add, rinse, repeat).  However, there's a few new wrinkles with this one, like the saucer shoots back at you, although you'd have to be asleep or distracted by your house blowing up to ever get hit by it. There's also secret bonuses of a whopping 500 or 1000 points if you discover what they are, and from the second screen onward the invaders will, at times, start splitting into two small invaders when shot.  The game runs slow and the invaders don't start going really fast until there's hardly any left at all.  But I give this a 7 out of 10 anyway since I'm a big Space Invaders nut and I had a bit of fun with this for a while. (Think I CARE that they're a bunch of big 'v's?)

Spike's Water Balloons: eh.  This is a clone of the popular Kaboom! game that came out on a ton of gaming and computer consoles in the early 80s.  Instead of a "Mad Bomber" dropping bombs that you have to catch, it's the unofficial Vectrex mascot Spike having to pop them with his (too narrow) head, thrown by his enemy Spud.  Dondzila incorporated the addition of being able to kick the balloons back up if you miss them (a la the arcade game of Kickman), but it didn't really help out with this game (since that turns it into a button-masher), and there's too long a pause in between lives and levels, which is unacceptable when the original Atari 2600 version didn't have this at all.  I only give this a 6 out of 10 for trying to add something new, but it doesn't really add much to the game, which was great as it was. (Just another case of 'go play the original'...)

Bonus hidden game: this is a puzzle game that appeared on the TRS-80 computer as well as some handheld rig a friend of mine had ages and ages ago that I can't remember what on earth it was called.  It's hard to judge this one since I think there's only one solution to it and it's not really fun at all, if you ask me.  I really don't know how to rate this, so I guess I'll just give it a 5 out of 10 for what it is (i. e. not fun and really no replay value at all); there's not much to it, really.

The graphics for the games are ok for the most part, and the sounds range from ok to good (although hearing the gunshot signaling the start of a new level all the time on Rockaroids and Invaders! gets annoying), although the control is pretty decent throughout.  This is probably THE first homebrew cartridge you should get for those who have finally tracked down their first Vectrex ever, since the games run slow for the most part, as Dondzila would get better at his craft as he went on.  It's worth the money (as per usual with his stuff), which I give it a 7 out of 10 altogether.

Keep it up, Dondzila! 7/10
 

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