March 8, 1996 marked a day of rejoicing for Vectrex owners, as programmer John Dondzila unveiled Vector Vaders, which was not only the very first homebrew for the machine, but it also started the plethora of new games for the Vectrex as well.
Aside from having vector graphics and running a bit slow (although the game does speed up as more and more invaders are shot), this is a pretty standard Space Invaders-type game for the most part, having only one game and nothing to really differentiate it from a lot of the similar-themed other games out there.
The invaders (only 25 total) march from side to side while dropping bombs and the formation of invaders will drop down a notch once they reach the edge of the screen. The player’s laser base can take cover behind one of four bunkers on the screen, which the bunkers can withstand 16 shots from enemy and/or player fire before disappearing. A flying saucer will also pass overhead during a level and is worth big points if shot. The player starts off with three laser bases and the game will end once all bases are destroyed or if the player is “invaded” by the aliens reaching the bottom of the screen. However, an extra base is earned if over 3000 points are scored. The level number that the player is currently on is displayed at the bottom right corner of the screen.
- Bottom two invaders – 10 points each
- Middle two invaders – 20 points
- Top row invaders – 30 points
- Flying saucer – 50, 100, 150 or 300 points
- Move base left and right – buttons one and two
- Fire – button four
- Vector Vaders was programmed in only about four days when Dondzila had the week off from jury duty, as the case he had to appear on did not go to trial and he had taken the week off from work in case he got stuck on the jury.
- The instructions claim an extra base is earned at 3000 points, however, the base won’t be awarded until over 3000 points are scored (i. e. the player won’t earn an extra base at 3000 points, but it will be awarded at 3010 or higher though).
- This is pretty much a ”no frills” release from Dondzila, as every other Vectrex release from him since (Patriots through Space Frenzy) have included at least one extra game and/or bonus unlockable material of some kind.
- This could be one of the quietest Space Invaders games released, as there isn’t the usual “Space Invaders pulse” (i. e. the sound the invaders make when they move), nor even an announcement sound of the saucer appearing either.