Sunday 30 August 2015

Web Wars / Web Warp (Vectrex review)

Developer: GCE
Publisher: GCE
Released: 1983

Web Wars is an arcade style shooter that was released in some markets as Web Warp.

You have five lives and your objective is to capture 20 different creatures (the manual erroneously lists 21 available creatures). As you move automatically along the tunnel you use Up/Down to control your speed, Button 4 to shoot incoming enemies and Button 3 button to catch creatures when they're near you. Once you have a creature you can offload it into a Trophy Room by manoeuvring your vehicle into one of the brightly coloured squares. This does stop the action completely but it also helps you as any enemies that were previously in your vicinity are removed. If you collect a creature and miss two Trophy Rooms in a row you'll start to see Cosmic Dragons that hover above the surroundings and shoot down on your location. They can't be defeated so your only defense is to dodge their projectiles and quickly enter the next Trophy Room you spot. You're constantly juggling all these different things which gives the game real depth and intensity. The amount of bullets you can spray at one time is very impressive and there's some excellent enemy scaling meaning you can even shoot them when they're at the back of the tunnel. One nice feature I enjoyed is that you can simply hold down the fire button to shoot instead of having to continuously tap. My only complaint is that sometimes the Capture mechanic refuses to work and instead of collecting a creature you'll crash into them and lose a life. While primitive, the wireframe graphics look fantastic and I love the way the camera shifts around to provide a cool 3D perspective. The individual creature animations in the Trophy Room also look great.

Web Wars is a unique shooter on the Vectrex and the creature collection mechanic offers another incentive to play rather than just for a high score. At heart it's a simple game but it forces you to juggle several things at once while providing solid arcade style action that can get extremely addictive.

Random trivia: The source code of the game includes adverts for other Vectrex titles such as Bedlam and Cosmic Chasm, as well as credits for the programmers.

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