by Darryl B.
Legal mumbo jumbo: Stage Select might have a cow (or serial killer let loose) if this is reproduced elsewhere without their consent first. So I'd check with them before attempting to put this elsewhere, bucko.
This did appear on the Vectrex wiki first, but as long as there's a link provided to it, then according to wikis that makes it legal. So no calling the on the copyright police for you. (Whoot, here it is: vectrex.wikia.com/wiki/Sectis)
And one last note: this won't make the least bit of sense if you haven't played this game, but you can click on the above link to read all about it first for gameplay instructions and the like. If you're not gonna do either, well, go play World of Warcraft then.
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 there isn’t a real sure-fire way to deal with sectoids, other than 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 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.
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 below, 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.