Genre: Platformer Developer: BlueSky Software Publisher: Sega of America Players: 1 Released: 1996
You have to give Sega credit where credit is due; they’re known for their sequels– good or bad. This game was a sequel to the “Mega Hit” VectorMan. At first glance, it just looks like another Duke Nukem or something if you look at the box. If you’re into REALLY obscure games Boogerman may come to mind… Vec’s just that little bit different. If you’ve ever wanted to play a game that’s faster-paced than Mega Man, but not a fast-paced action platformer like Sonic…
…you’ve just met your match. I can honestly say with true conviction both installations in the franchise of VectorMan are part of the ten best SEGA Genesis games you will ever play in your life.
The story thus far; (watch out for falling spoilers) VectorMan defeated the evil WarHead in the first mission. This game seems to take place some time after the original VectorMan, but not by much. My guess is it’s around 2050 to 2051. VectorMan’s got his old job back as a sludge barge pilot, and apparently he’s happy about it. Watch the dude rock out in his craft. Yeah, I think Vector’s got good taste in music too. Anyhow, the big green guy gets on up in space…and gets nailed by some missile thing. Lovely.
The game opens up with Vec falling to earth in his parachute form (reminiscent of plenty of other Sega games, Sonic especially). You have to fight off these…strange little demon bugs, only to find out that hey, that’s the plot of the game! You have to fight bugs and evil…insect things! No robots for you! You suddenly discover this seems to be a physical impossibility if you’re a newcomer.
VectorMan 2‘s difficulty is a bit more challenging than its predecessor. Thankfully, the “wicked,”"cool,” and “lame” difficulty levels are present, so you have some degree of control over how hard things get, but I don’t intend (to be frank) to play this game on “wicked” without calling my dad (or a cab, for that matter) at least once. Fast reflexes are necessary here; some days when I play VectorMan I almost feel like I’m playing a Mega Man Zero game. Then I remember there’s no way to whip a Wavebird or GBA across the room, and suddenly I immensely calm down. I go through so many Wavebirds that way.
As always, the graphics are spectacular. The sprites in VectorMan 2 are seemingly similar to the original; crisp, clear, and stunning. The minor touches in the VectorMan games feel like the ones in Sonic CD– you stop, shake your head, and think, “did they REALLY put that there?”. And then you laugh. Certain things make you want slowly explore around in the level, making you wish you were there in person to enjoy the vivid landscapes. Nifty touches like the blueprints in the first game abound here too. You can make out detail on all kinds of things, and the game’s so cleverly well-made you almost wonder if it’s secretly going to suck you in at any minute into its breathtaking alternate universe. The backgrounds and flooring are appropriate for VectorMan; he doesn’t get “stuck” easily like some characters in games do. The morph animations for VectorMan are appropriate and cool-looking, while still keeping a level of humor– the ridiculous tank mode for example is absolutely hysterical– reminds me of something out of a cheesy military game. The lighting effects are also incredible, as well; like when you fire your gun, you can see VectorMan’s body light up and then fade out.
The music is something that shines in every Sonic game, and it’s ESPECIALLY good here. The first level’s theme is very amazing, truly. Its overall feel is sad, but tries to be strong. Sega knew the Genesis was a dying platform, but even if it’s a swan song, it’s a beautiful one. You can really hear the emotion in the first, second, later, the fifth level’s themes; they’re incredibly deep, similar to the Volcano Valley theme of Sonic 3D Blast for the Genesis (don’t even make me get into the Saturn version otherwise I’ll start crying. That game was so darn good it’s pathetic.).
Sound effects are better here than the first game, but a lot of them are, as usual, recycled. The plus side is that VectorMan’s voice is a lot deeper and easier to hear. Some of his phrases are hysterical (“I’ll take that!” and “I want more!” stand out a bit) and his grunts, laughs, and one-liners give the game a charming feel, making it very fun to play– truly a game experience.
The control’s great. Some of the morphs take a while to figure out how to use, but once you get past that, it’s easy to play but hard to master– just the way a good game should be. The button setup’s very easy to use, even on my pathetic SG Propad. Goes to show me the game could have been ported to the SNES without a doubt.
My biggest complaint with VectorMan 2 is the lack of variety. The first few levels pull a Sonic with their 3-act-zones maneuver. The original game had very few “similar” levels, and if they shared a common theme, they were at least changed enough to make them feel different. The second game is disappointing, specifically in the subway/ruins area (which by the third subway run you wonder if you screwed up somewhere and are replaying the same level) which almost seems out-of-order in its grouping. However, this is a SMALL, SMALL price to pay for such a STUNNING game, and I easily can look past it.
Overall, VectorMan 2 is a true salute to the original, and even if it’s not that interesting to you because it’s not as good as a “modern” game…get over your stupid snobby pride and “lower” yourself to our level. Get in your car, dish out thirty bucks or so and buy this system and game. You’ll suddenly realize just how far modern games have lowered the bar.