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.--. .- -. --.. . .-.

Panzer.png

Developer Der Luchs
Publisher Luchs Soft
Release date 2014
Genre Shooter
Mode Single player only
Media ROM file

Background[]

.--. .- -. --.. . .-. is the sixth game in Der Luchs's eight game freely downloadable game series programmed between STERNENKRIEGER and its following release. As a musician, these games were programmed quickly with a simple, no frills mentality similar to that of a "jam session". Most games were designed with intuitive game mechanics and a lack of things such as stages, levels, upgrades, bosses, etc., and in this way were not as much of an investment of Der Luchs's time as a larger release game such as STERNENKRIEGER or Irrelevant. The original intent was not to be released as a physical cartridge and it wasn't until an almost unanimous public outcry that Der Luchs decided to combine the eight games with VecFahren for the release of the N.D.W. 2014 Multicart.

Gameplay[]

The player controls a tank cornered down by hostile forces from every direction. To the left and right are indestructible turrets. Above are helicopters which constantly circle and planes which pass over interminably. Turret fire always comes from either the left or right while helicopter bombs drop directly down; however, plane bombs have a homing ability. With the exception of the turrets, all enemies and their projectiles can be destroyed, but will almost immediately be replaced with another hostile. The player is provided with five lives from the beginning and can be rewarded with atomic bombs as enemies are destroyed. The player can only fire two projectiles at a time, which will have to travel out of range before more can be fired. In addition, the tank can only fire in four directions: directly left, diagonally left (approximately 45 degrees), directly right and diagonally right (approximately 45 degrees). This necessitates the need to being at the left or right sides of the playfield in order to hit targets above on the opposite side from the player's tank.

Controls[]

Main Menu[]

  • Begin game-button 1

In-game[]

  • Move/Aim left or right-left or right on joystick or D-pad
  • Aim up-up on joystick or D-pad, plus direction (left or right upper angle)
  • Pause/View score/lives/bombs-button 2
  • Use Atomic Bomb-button 3
  • Fire-button 4

Scoring[]

  • Destroy turret bullet-2 points
  • Destroy helicopter bomb-5 points
  • Destroy homing missile-5 points
  • Destroy helicopter-10 points
  • Atomic bombs are awarded randomly

Trivia[]

  • .--. .- -. --.. . .-. is "Panzer" in Morse Code, while Panzer is both the German word for "tank" and a type of tank employed by the German military. Morse Code is also used at the title screen both as the artwork displayed and the sounds while on the screen.
  • No points are awarded for enemies or projectiles destroyed by the player's atomic bomb. It is simply a tool for preserving lives.
  • The game has a few bugs, one of which is that not all projectiles are destroyed when the Atomic Bomb is used. Another is during the pause screen, where the graphics for the number of Atomic Bombs remaining can become garbled.
  • This was one of several of Luchs Soft’s games (another being ZUFALLSTREFFER) that stated "This is a free version of .--. .- -. --.. . .-. If you paid for it, you've been ripped off! Thanks for the attention. - Der Luchs" after the title screen is shown.

Links[]

  • Official site
  • Click on the appropriate Tabber below for a review and/or playing tips.

Review[]

Der Luchs/Luchs Soft is a rather unique entity for the Vectrex, due to releasing several games that are very simple, such as VecFahren and Irrelevant, yet at other times he looks to getting out more complex works, such as Untot (a scrolling beat 'em up), and N. B. Z., which has cutscenes and dialog in it, quite rare for a Vectrex game.

.--. .- -. --.. . .-. is simple, placing the player in a very enclosed, claustrophobic environment without a lot of room to move (or make an error). A lot of the time it can be difficult to get in a good shot at the overhead helicopters as well, plus you have to keep an eye out on the turrets that are right in your face/on your level as well. This makes for some frenzied, fun, but at times unfair gameplay, especially when one of the bugs rears its ugly head, such as when the Atomic Bomb won’t take out all projectiles (and hopefully this will be fixed once the N.D.W. 2014 Multicart is released and this goes on it, or at least I assume it will).

The sound effects and graphics are ok (although the latter are simple for the most part, but I like the mountains), and I like the effect of a bomb being loaded onto a helicopter, which was a nice touch (even though it could mean disaster!). This can be addicting and is miles ahead (pardon the pun) of the first release of VecFahren, although that was meant to be simple and nothing real majestic. That game I still play some from time to time, but this one keeps me going for a lot longer though. 6.5/10

(Review by Darrylb500)

Playing tips[]

  • In general, TAKE YOUR TIME with a game! Helicopters are worth the most, points-wise, so you’re going to want to take out as many of them as you can, although they are not always in range, you could fire at them and destroy one of their bombs instead, etc. You’ll also be busy defending yourself from their bombs, as well as homing missiles dropped from planes and the turrets occasionally firing as well until you can line up one of them in your sights.
  • While awaiting a next target, take out a bomb here and there, just not to the point where you put yourself in a dangerous situation, such as when you don’t have the ammo to spare when an enemy projectile is heading your way.
  • Stay away from the furthest screen edges (left and right) as much as possible, as a turret could fire at any moment, giving you almost no time at all to react with the closer you are to it. Also, when having to approach the furthest left or right screen edge and you’re waiting for a chance to move back away from that edge, fire off a shot or two at a time in the direction of the turret that you’re currently facing to keep them from shooting at and destroying you, then move away from the turret as quickly as possible (when you can) to give your tank a safe distance from it.
  • Let a homing bomb from a plane drop for a while before you take action against it, since, if you were to start moving away from it as soon as it was dropped, it would be following you the entire time you’re moving around, giving you less time to react to anything else in your immediate surroundings with the closer it gets. (If possible, you should wait moving from a homing bomb until it is at about the middle of the screen.)
  • Don’t constantly shoot, lest you have nothing to defend yourself with unless your target of choice is close. Also, try to limit the number of times you shoot off at a target that’s far away, as it will take longer before you can fire again in case you miss, making you vulnerable to enemy attack.
  • The game has several glitches, which you’ll have to be ready to react to them: one is to be leery of the areas roughly a little off the center of the bottom by the mountains that can sometimes stop your shots (note: these positions could vary by Vectrex). Just move your tank a little past these areas and your shots should keep on going, rather than having your shots stop/explode in that area and a turret bullet could destroy a reserve (or last) tank in the process, as a turret bullet will usually pass through yours at that point, no matter how much you’re firing. When a homing bomb jumps from one side of the screen to the other (i. e. the plane drops it when it’s near the right screen edge, but it re-appears on the left), this usually isn’t a problem, as you could be on the other side of the screen from where the bomb is falling; if not, just treat it like I had outlined earlier in not immediately moving away from it if it has just been dropped. Finally, it’s not uncommon to use an atomic bomb and to have projectiles still coming your way, so take action as quickly as possible: if your atomic bomb removes all helicopter bombs, but not a turret bullet, you’d need to make the quick decision to shoot the turret bullet. (It’s also a good idea to use an atomic bomb when you think you’re going to be in a bind, but helicopter bombs could still be rather high up, giving you more time to anticipate if one or more bombs could still be airborne, or if they were to be destroyed, but a turret could fire at you and its bullet could still be coming your way after your bomb was detonated.)
  • When a bullet has been shot from a turret, even though they shoot at random times, chances are very good that same turret won’t shoot again any time soon. Still, shoot in the turret’s direction if you have to get close to it (as stated earlier), and move away from it as soon as you can as well.
  • Stock up on atomic bombs, then start using them more often as you start using up lives, especially if you are trying for a high score, as anything that is destroyed when you use a bomb is not worth any points.
  • Pause to check on your atomic bomb inventory often! You may have fewer (or more) than you think!
  • Keep on your toes at all times, as helicopters won’t always give you an indication they’re holding a bomb, as one could suddenly be dropped seemingly out of nowhere and will be coming your way.
(Tips by Darrylb500)

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