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RELEASE DATE (NA): 1982 GENRE: Space Shooter
// review by SoyBomb

Zektor the Vektor Spektor.

Zektor. Not the leading producer of SoloCAT HD™ Ultra HDMI over HDBaseT extenders in the U.S. ...whatever the heck they are. No, Zektor... the vector-based game from Sega in November 1982.

Zektor is more of a footnote in Sega's history and has been largely forgotten or ignored by the company, save for its inclusion as an unlockable game in the PlayStation 2 edition of the Sega Genesis Collection, revealed by completing the second level of Altered Beast. That's pretty cruel, isn't it?

But Zektor is actually pretty cool and worth the suffering. It is a multi-directional shooter in the same vein as Asteroids. Eight cosmic cities have been taken over by malicious robots, and it's up to you to restore them to their rightful leadership. In your little ship, you first have to fly through two defense rings, blasting enemies called Roboprobes with your energy shots (which the game calls "ZIZZERS" for some reason), all the while avoiding "Moboids", dark holes that will either bounce you away or suck you in. Surviving the defense rings leads you to battle the boss directly in the city, where they are surrounded by a multi-layered shield. You can only shoot them in the weak, open areas of their constantly rotating shielding. It's not the easiest game, mind you: flying around in the free space with its retro physics DOES take a little getting used to. Of course, Asteroids fanatics will feel right at home.

Artificially brightened so you can SEE the darn things.

The most thrilling aspect of Zektor to me isn't the graphics or the gameplay; it's that Sega also included speech synthesis! That's right, the bosses will taunt and torment you with their primitive computerized articulations! Enjoy such wonderful quips as "So, you've come to take Ascella back. You'll have to fight for it." Then the robot sinks into the background and you get to have your shootout with probes and ‘oids. Otherwise, you're just listening to standard video game "pew-pew" sound

So, wait... let me get this straight: vectors AND speech synthesis?! You spoil us, Sega. Or, at least, you used to. Of course, having a game comprised entirely of vector graphics came at a price: the monitors they used to display Zektor were known to frequently catch fire. I hope they stuck these cabinets near the fire extinguisher.

Still, this was a visually impressive game, and it's still not worthy of shielding my eyes just yet. Zektor's an enjoyable play that's easy to understand yet very difficult to master. Unfortunately, tracking down a Zektor machine is not going to be easy, so your only hope is the Sega Genesis Collection on PlayStation 2. I actually suggest tracking it down; you also get a bunch of Genesis games as an added bonus! Yeah!

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