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Galaxy Wars : Space Launcher

Galaxy wars title

Developer C. Malcolm
Publishers Binary Star Software
Freeware
Release dates 2016
2019 (re-release)
Genres Action
Compilation
Shooter
Mode Single player
1-2 players simultaneous
Media Cartridge
ROM file

BackgroundEdit

Galaxy Wars, Space Launcher and Space Race all started off as arcade games. They would later be ported to the Vectrex in 2016.

Gameplay, Galaxy WarsEdit

The player controls a missile that appears at the bottom center of the screen at the start of a new game/level. The missile will flash, indicating it is in an invincible state. Once the player applies thrust the missile will be vulnerable to onscreen dangers.

The first danger are several comets that travel from one side of the screen to the other that must be avoided and cannot be destroyed.

At the top are U. F. O.s that also travel from one side of the screen to the other and they start firing at the player. The player must strike a U. F. O. with their missile in order to destroy it; a new missile will then appear at the bottom of the screen. If the player misses a U. F. O., once their missile makes it to the top of the screen it will reappear at the bottom.

With the more U. F. O.s that are destroyed the faster the remaining ones will move. Getting hit by a U. F. O. missile or a comet will destroy the player’s missile and the game will end when they have no more remaining missiles. If all U. F. O.s are destroyed, however, the player will advance to the next level, although they will first be granted a bonus for time remaining (which is denoted by a bar at the bottom of the screen).

Also, during a level a lone U. F. O. will glow a little brighter than all the others. If the player hits this U. F. O. first they will be granted the highest score possible. If the player hits any other U. F. O. it will be worth a random amount of points and no more U. F. O.s will glow brightest during the remainder of the level.

(Space Launcher)Edit

As with Galaxy Wars, the player controls a missile at the bottom of the screen that is invulnerable until they activate its thrust. There are indestructible star fields that travel from one side of the screen to the other at the bottom that must be avoided. At the top of the screen are two rows of densely packed U. F. O.s. Once the player gets close to a U. F. O. a shield will automatically activate for the player and the U. F. O. will be destroyed upon contact.

Past the U. F. O.s are docking bays which the player must maneuver their missile into. If this is accomplished, their missile will reverse and start heading back towards the bottom; if the player is able to touch the bottom screen border they will be granted a bonus for completing the level and for any time remaining (again denoted by the bar at the bottom of the screen) and they will then proceed to the next level.

Touching any star field, U. F. O. (without the shield being active or due to the player striking the U. F. O. with their ship, rather than their shield), U. F. O. fire or docking bay side will destroy the player’s missile and the game will end when there are no more remaining missiles.

(Galaxy Wars SL)Edit

This combines the gameplay of Galaxy Wars and Space Launcher. At the start of a new game Galaxy Wars will play first, and if that level is completed then the first Space Launcher level will start. All game rules remain intact, switching games with every completed level until the player loses all of their missiles and the game ends.

(Space Race)Edit

The player controls a missile at the bottom of the screen. Asteroids float across the majority of the entire playfield. The player must maneuver their missile to the top of the screen while avoiding asteroids; if they make it to the top they will be awarded one point and they will reappear at the bottom of the screen for another run for the top. If the player gets hit by an asteroid their missile will reappear at the bottom and they will have to try again.

The center of the screen has a bar that acts as a timer; once the bar reaches the bottom of the screen the game will end and whoever has the higher score is the winner.

This is a two player game only; one lone player can play either against the Vectrex opponent or two players can race.

Additional featuresEdit

Along with choosing from playing either Galaxy Wars, Space Launcher or both, the number of players (up to two) can also be chosen and the number of starting ships can be toggled (one, three [default], five, seven or nine, although this does not apply to Space Race).

Controls, main menuEdit

  • Go to options/Galaxy Wars/Space Launcher/Galaxy Wars SL menu–button 4
  • Go to Space Race menu–button 3

(Options/Galaxy Wars/Space Launcher/Galaxy Wars SL)Edit

  • Choose to toggle game, number of players and lives–joystick or D-pad (up/down)
  • Toggle option–button 4 after choosing/highlighting menu option from above
  • Play game–button 4 after choosing game and highlighting Play game option
  • Return to main menu–button 1

(Space Race)Edit

  • Choose one player game–button 1
  • Choose two player game–button 2
  • Return to main menu–button 3

(in-game, Galaxy Wars, Space Launcher or Galaxy Wars SL)Edit

  • Start level/new life–button 4
  • Move ship–joystick or D-pad (left/right only) or buttons 1 and 2
  • Thrust–button 4

(in-game, Space Race)Edit

  • Move ship, player one–joystick or D-pad (up/down only), buttons 1-2
  • Move ship, player two–buttons 3-4 on player one joystick

Scoring (Galaxy Wars/Galaxy Wars SL)Edit

  • Destroy U. F. O.–50-500 points
  • Bonus for time remaining (varies)
  • Extra life at 20,000 and 50,000 points

(Space Launcher)Edit

  • Destroy U. F. O.–50-1000 points (?)
  • Dock with bay–100-500 points (?)
  • Bonus upon completing level –500 points
  • Bonus for time remaining (varies)
  • Extra life at 20,000 and 50,000 points

TriviaEdit

  • The games were ported after, as creator C. Malcolm stated, "I discovered p[l]aying them in MAME", plus he "decided to make a port of Space Launcher after Vic of the 10p podcast covered it and asked if someone could make a Vectrex port. I added in the Galaxy Wars part as they are both very similar playing games, released around the same time."
  • The story to Galaxy Wars is as follows: "Alien UFOs are attacking the earth! You are mankinds [sic] last hope. Your mission: to defend Earth against the galactic invaders. Use guided missiles to destroy the enemy UFO fleet before they annihilate us all!" Space Launcher's story reads “Your mission, should you choose to accept it; is to pilot a daring mission to fly though perilous star fields and enter the heavily guarded enemy base to 'liberate' supplies for the allied forces in the Galaxy Wars. Only the bravest and most skilled pilots need apply."
  • In December, 2016, Xmas Space Race was released as a free ROM download, being the exact same game as Space Race except for it "just substitutes the rocket ships for Christmas trees", as Malcolm stated. Space Race was also included on the Bits 'N' Bytes cartridge in 2017.
  • During the title screens for the games, instructions and various info will scroll along the screen, along with a thanks section and shouties to various Vectrex personnel, related forums (Vector gaming and Atari Age) and the Facebook group Vectrex Users Unite!
  • Differences with the original games included the graphics being in vector, rather than raster. There were also brief cutscenes added for each new level for the Galaxy Wars/Space Launcher games. Also as Malcolm stated, "I added a bonus timer that awards points for clearing a level more quickly and the bright bonus UFOs on the Galaxy Wars levels to spice up the scoring a little." On Space Launcher, "alien symbols" were used in place of point values like with the original. The original Space Race also had a slight delay once a player finished a lap; with this port their missile instantly reappears at the bottom of the screen, plus the game was for two players only, with no computer opponent option.
  • The cartridge was originally released in early 2016. Its ROM was released from August through September, 2019 as a download at a low price, and again in December (until the 31st) as a free download.
  • Space Race was originally intended as a bonus hidden game but ended up being changed upon release.
  • During the game over screen for Galaxy Wars and Space Launcher, Nagoya Attack aliens appear, which is an upcoming game by Binary Star Software.

LinksEdit

Official site

Galaxy Wars SL (Vectrex)

Galaxy Wars SL (Vectrex)

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