|Modes||Single player |
1-2 players alternating
Spike's girlfriend Molly has been kidnapped by his evil nemesis Spud! Spike must rescue her while climbing ladders, jumping platforms, and avoiding the denizens that are out to cause Spike's demise in this pseudo 3-D platformer.
Spike starts out at the bottom of the game screen. There are three sets of platforms that he must climb to make it to the top to reach Molly. The platforms move from side to side and Spike must place ladders as the player(s) feel fit will best help him make it from one level of platforms to the next.
The first level has no enemies (except if Spike falls to the ground below); Spike must climb ladders to get the key, and then once he makes it to the top, he can move Molly's cage and then jump into it to save her with. Unfortunately Spud immediately recaptures Molly, and with level two, Bouncers are introduced, which bounce up and down while moving from one side to another on a row of platforms; once the Bouncer reaches a screen edge, they will reappear at the next level of platforms. Spike must either avoid or kick the Bouncers away, but Molly's bow also starts appearing on this level and makes it's way to the bottom of the screen; if Spike is able to grab it, it will freeze the Bouncer for a short time.
Then on the third level, Birds start appearing, and then Bouncers start joining them as well afterwards. The platforms will also change size (alternating between large and small), the enemies and platforms will move quicker, and the platforms will also change direction each time Spike kicks an enemy if the player makes it far enough into the game.
Spike will lose a life if he falls through the spaces in between all platforms to the ground below (also, if Spike reaches the edge of a screen and the platform he is on is pushing him into the edge, he will be pushed off onto the ground below) or gets touched by an enemy and the game will end when he runs out of lives. An extra life is awarded with every 10,000 points.
- Choose from one or two player game--button one
- Start game--button four
- Move Spike--joystick or D-pad (four directions)
- Move ladder/cage--button one
- Kick left--button two
- Kick right--button three
- Jump--button four
- Kicking a Bouncer--100 points
- Kicking a Bird--200 points
- Collecting a Key--500 points
- Opening Molly's Cell--2000 points
- This was the only release from the original GCE/Milton Bradley lineup of games that could talk (as the Vectrex didn't have speech capability). Molly says "eek...help...Spike", sounding like the pieced-together automated phone services of today, then "oh, Spike" when she is rescued, while Spike bellows "oh no! Molly!" when she is kidnapped, and "darnit!" when he loses a life.
- This game would propel Spike as to being "the unofficial Vectrex mascot", as he has since appeared in many modern Vectrex homebrews, such as Spike's Water Balloons (on the All Good Things and Vectopia cartridges), Spike Goes Skiing and Spike Hoppin'.
- Following in the steps of Fortress of Narzod, a homebrew port for the Commodore 64 of Spike was also created in 2010. A YouTube video of it can be seen here, leaving the majority of the game elements intact.
- Separate Spike page (character)
- Click on the tabbers below for two reviews.
Spike was a pretty interesting take on Donkey Kong. It wasn’t the greatest clone or anything like that, since I think it’s more fun to jump over barrels and smash enemies with a hammer and such. After all, the screens are fairly bare with enemies – only one or two on the same level with you – but it still presents a challenge though by placing ladders where you need them, grabbing the key to Molly’s cage, making jumps, avoiding enemies AND having to make it to the top to free her (finally!).
The game can end up being a bit fast-paced, the controls are fairly good and the graphics are ok. The sounds are somewhat sparse, but again, there’s not many enemies on each screen, although an attempt was made (although I could be wrong on this, as I’m just theorizing) to compensate for that for having some rare in-game music during gameplay. Granted, it gets cancelled out for a split second here and there since there wasn’t an extra microprocessor for the Vectrex to be able to handle music (nor an extra chip to get around this was included in the game itself either), but it’s still one of the few Vectrex games to have this feature.
And then of course, there’s the hilarious sound clips to make up for that, since the Vectrex in itself wasn’t able to handle digitized speech, yet Spike talked, ferociously saying “oh no! Molly!” and even more so with “DARNIT!” Molly, on the other hand, sounds like she’s reading off a cue card (and doing it rather badly), which adds to the hilarity.
This game is kind of hard to rate nowadays, as it might’ve been worth a 7 back in the day, but I never played it myself until after 20 years of release once I finally got my hands on it. People have complained about having to use every single button on the controller (kicking in the directions of left AND right to try to rid yourself of pesky enemies), which can get kind of wonky, and it’s especially hard to rate when there’s homebrews nowadays that spoil you with several games on each cartridge or ones that are great by themselves even with only one game, as this just has one game that just speeds up and doesn’t really get any better.
Designed by Tom Sloper, Spike is the mascot of Vectrex gaming. When you think of Nintendo you think of Mario, PS2 - Solid Snake, Sega - Sonic, but the Vectrex too has it's very own cool punk rocker dude gaming hero. Spike was made in 1983. Sloper was a big fan of Donkey Kong but wanted something a bit different from Donkey Kong so the perspective of Spike sought of comes from an on the side, tilted angle. (Sloper 1999)
In searching for a character Sloper was looking for a figure which did not use a large amount of vectors, because of the Vectrex flicker, and he didn't go for a round character as it would end up looking a bit like a square. So Sloper decided on the form of Spike who incidentally is named after one of Slopers' friend's father. Sloper also said that 'orders from above' influenced the creation of Spike (Sloper 1999).
Spike was one of the first, if not the first, home console videogames to incorporate speech and throughout the game the 'girl in distress' is Molly who utters words of helplessness for Spike to rescue her from the evil clutches of the villain, Spud. Wyrdward (2002) argues, Spike was "more involved than almost anything that came before it."
Since Spike's creation his character has featured in many 'home-brew' games such as, 'Spike Goes Down' by Alex Herbert, 'Spike Hoppin'’ and 'Spike's Water Balloons' by John Dondzila (also the much anticipated 'Super Spike World'), 'Spike's Spree by Mark De Smit and the yet to be complete Spikes Slam Pit by Mastrobuono. Also Andrew Coleman developed a game called 'Spike Goes Skiing' but was never officially released.
Spike is fun and it is very challenging in the later levels. The graphics are unique and the speech synthesis certainly adds to the appeal of the game. What I would love to see is a Track & Field (Kanomi) type game which uses all of Spike's characters, like Spud and Molly, for one or two track event. Spike is a good substitute till then.
Review written by Daniel Foot