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 Post subject: Vostok Inc. (Android - XB1 - PS4 - Switch)
PostPosted: Thu Aug 16, 2018 8:18 pm 


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Joined: 11 Oct 2008
Posts: 158
Location: Autobot City
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By request of Jimmy Goldman.

Time to "Mind your own business" in the shmup scene, and what a way to mind'em with Vostok Inc.



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CORPORATE AMERICA! ¡LOOK OUT! ¡LOOK OUT!
CORPORATE AMERICA! ¿Who's gonna save us? ¿Who's gonna save us now?


There's only one objective in this Twin-Stick based game: BECOME THE RICHEST MAN ON THE GALAXY!! But to do that, you've must battle your way across the Solar System as you start from scratch. Guided by your broker Jimmy Goldman of course.
To start your business in space, you need money or "Moolah", which is the galactic currency of this game. Once you get enough Moolah, it's time to find a planet. As you start in the Solar System or "Sol", Mercury is the more-than-obvious place to start your money-making emporium. Once you placed all the buildings you wanted, there's two ways of picking all the Moolah obtained in the planet. One is leaving the planet and wait until it reaches a desired number. Or buy the Automatic Moolah Transfer which makes your Moolah counter go up by itself according to the Moolah Per-second on that planet. Buying this upgrade is the most recommended thing to do in this game.



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Kits that give your profits from a punch to a blast.

Building Mines, F.A.R.M.'s, Power Plants along with many other structures is the key to achieve large amounts of money. The only problem is that the individual price for a building increases for the next bulding.
There's also options for helping you to build multiple things at once like tapping a button to build 1, 10, 100 or all what you can with all your Moolah available. Also, buildings have upgrades that increase their profit production capabilities and even getting boosts from other buildings, increasing your overall Moolah production much further. To unlock better buildings you'll have to complete certain objectives to obtain them and give your profits a punch.



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Cornered, trapped, and forced to fight. If this is business then someone will go kaput here.

Most of the time, you'll get an "ENEMIES INCOMING" warning, and you'll get one or even three fast moving drones around you. If you don't take them down in time, the screen will lock in that specific place forcing you to face a few waves of enemies. Until you destroy all the enemies or you get destroyed. However, engaging in Screen Locked battles result in bonus Moolah, so it becames a kind of a necessary evil to face in your mission to create a galaxy-wide business.



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TO BE INTERRUPTED

Like any other game, Vostok Inc. has a storyline involving taking enemy factions so your company can take over the galaxy. However, the game will interrupt the gameplay to bring the dialogues. If you hated Megaman X5 and Triggerheart Exelica Enhanced's Story Mode for its interruptions, you'll hate this part of Vostok Inc. since pressing Start/Menu doesn't skip the whole cutscene and you have to tap A again and again until the conversation ends.



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Vostok Inc.: Corporate Display of Power

Picking Moolah isn't just used to build Moolah-producing facilities and Auto-Transfer satellites, They can be used to upgrade your ship. To upgrade your ship, just dock with the Motherbase. It will give you the option of upgrade your radar, increase your hit points and shield points and power up your weapons and unlock combinations.
Your ship's initial weaponry is a basic Machine Gun with a low damage rate and firing range. Fortunately, Vostok Incorporated cares about their worker's safety with an array of weapons which can be enabled by combining three weapon types: Vulcan (Green), Laser (Blue) and Missile (Red)

01.- Green = MACHINE GUN: Your default weapon, a basic vulcan shot design to protect yourself from enemy attacks.
02.- Blue = ION ACCELERATOR: A hyperfast Laser shot that pierces through solid objects. Very powerful for a basic laser weapon.
03.- Red = MISSILE BARRAGE: A "Twin Missile" shot consisting of firing two missiles with homing capacity, they might take some time to chase and hit the target, but once they do, they cause a good amount of damage.


THE "TWO WEAPONS COMBINATION" GROUP

04.- Green-Green = WIDE SHOT: A 5-way shot similar to the Spread Shot from Contra.
05.- Green-Blue (or Blue-Green) = PARTICLE BEAM PROJECTOR: Fires a laser beam that runs through the screen, with potential of multi-hits for those unlucky enemies who dares to touch the beam.
06.- Blue-Blue = MINE FIELD: A Back shot type weapon that fires mines from behind, resulting in a hard to control defensive weapon, as useless as the Cluster Bomb from Axelay.
07.- Red-Green (or Green-Red) = LOVE GUN: This weapon makes your ship shoot hearts to their enemies like if you're using a Care Bear. It turns enemies into friends as the "possessed" ships fire to their former allies.
08.- Red-Blue (or Blue-Red) = RUBBERIZED KINETIC FLAK CANNON: Fires a three way volley that bounces once it hits an edge of the screen or an enemy, allowing multiple hits in one shot.
09.- Red-Red = MEGA MISSILE VOLLEY: Fires a barrage of missiles similar to the Splay Missile from Strike Gunner S.T.G. in a very fast pace and more missiles at once.


THE "THREE POWERS COMBINED IN ONE" GROUP

10.- Red-Green-Blue (any order like RBG, GBR or BRG works too) = UNICORN STAMPEDE: "Heavy Machine Gun Rainbow Brite Edition" is the best way to describe this weapon. Your ship fires a stampede of cute unicorns that although it makes your ship look like it came from a videogame for girls. In a twist of irony, it causes considerable damages.
11.- Green-Green-Blue (or GBG, BGG) = ENERGY ARC: Fires lightning bolts that causes multiple hits on a single target, pretty much like a homing beam.
12.- Blue-Blue-Green (or BGB, GBB) = TARGETED PHOTON BEAM: The "Free Range" like weapon that hits a target near its range.
13.- Blue-Blue-Red (or BRB, RBB) = SINGULARITY POCKETS: The Black Hole type. It sucks an enemy to its center and the black hole explodes damaging it. But here's the catch, damages are quite minimal and its quite tricky to master.
14.- Red-Red-Blue (or RBR, BRR) = PLASMA HURLER: The Flamethrower weapon that shoots a short ranged flame, and also sets the enemies on fire, causing additional damages.
15.- Red-Red-Green (or RGR, GRR) = PLASMA SABER: The Lightsaber class weapon, it gives one single slash causing low-to-regular damages, your ship thrusts with each slash, so be careful when you use it.
16.- Green-Green-Red (or GRG, RGG) = GRAVITRON APERTURE GUN: This weapon is similar to the Singluarity Pockets, but with a cone-like short ranged beam that "captures" your enemies and damages them once the beam "fires".
17.- Blue-Blue-Blue = SUPER MEGA ULTRA LASER: The "Death Beam" of the game, a large blast of energy very reminiscent of the Ninja Beam from Aero Fighters and the Sword Over Weapon from Thunder Force V. However, the SMUL is too powerful that requires holding the right stick in a specific direction to aim and charge and once it fires, the ship is slightly pushed back and slows it down when the player moves.
18.- Red-Red-Red = BLAST BARRAGE: A much stronger version of the Mega Missile Volley which goes in a straight direction. Also, they explode at impact causing great damages.
19.- Green-Green-Green = THE OBLITERATOR: The "Heavy Machine Gun" type weapon that fires a rapid stream of powerful bullets, becoming a very useful "default weapon" for the rest of the playthrough.

You can also remove the weapons making your ship an unarmed target, but doing that is required to unlock the "Pacifism" objectives. Objectives are not just symbols of resounding success. In Vostok Inc., even failure unlocks objectives, such as losing your Middle Managers, destroying your ship by going beyond the limits of a solar system, and losing certain amounts of Moolah by respawning are objectives too.


As you upgrade your radar to explore the universe in depth and upgrade your ship, you'll find new objectives. One of them are the "Races", which is a simple "You VS the clock" as you race through multiple checkpoints to win bonus Moolah. Doing 20 successful races is part of the requirements to unlock one of the buildings, so its a must to obtain the Race detector on your radar. But the most important of all are the stranded astronauts. They can give you plenty of benefits once they're picked up on your ship.
These characters are of VITAL importance to your business.

EXECUTIVES: They are more than just the crew to take care of. Rescuing all of them unlock special features like Happiness bonus, mini-games, buildings and objectives (i'll explain that later).
MIDDLE MANAGERS: Each one add a 3% bonus of your Moolah Per Second obtained in all the "colonized" planets. You can pick as much Middle Managers as you like (to obtain a 600% bonus for instance).
INVESTORS: The Investor duplicates your total Moolah (1,000,000 becomes 2,000,000 instantly), becoming one of the most useful characters.
CONSULTANT: If you pick a Consultant, he will give a 777% boost for 45 seconds, very useful for quick money gain.



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*To the tune of a certain Chicago song* Oooooh my God, it's hard for me to say "I blew it".

Stranded Executives, Middle Managers, Investors and Consultants don't last forever, once their O2 gauge depletes, they're dead and you'll have to wait for another one to appear and make sure you pick him/her on time.
You can also lose your Middle Managers by having your ship destroyed, leaving your "Escape Pod" as a last resort to reach the Motherbase without getting killed, Otherwise you can't pick them in your Pod since there's "no room" there.



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Spending time with your buddies revisiting an old 90's fad.

Along with exploring planets, build Moolah producing facilities, and race through checkpoints, you have other additional tasks such as taking care of the executives. This is gonna sound crazy but, you have to keep them happy and even play their games. In the purest style of Tamagotchi, the Digimon V-Pet and their keychain knock offs, you'll check their status in their respective keychain games where you have to feed them, give them drinks and rewards, all of them can be obtained by destroying asteroids or picking the "?" items in the mini-games. Giving them food and rewards increase their Happiness Bonus gauge, this increases the bonus production of Moolah in all your buildings, becoming a great help when its combined with the Middle Managers.
The mini-games are a variety of simple monochrome games that resemble those from the protable "Brick Game" Gameboy-wannabes. However all of them suffer a fatal flaw: You only have one attempt to succeed, which means your room for error is less than zero.

WOODGUY JR.: The objective of this game is to chop all you can in the fastest time possible, just like those ticket-based woodchopping games in a Chuck-E-Cheese. Like such, you only have one chance before starting all over. To unlock the objective and the XBOX Achievement you'll need 222 points done in a single session, making this objective virtually impossible to achieve due to it's "one try only" gameplay mechanics.

HIGHER OR LOWER: A guessing game. You have to guess by pressing up or down if the next card has a higher or lower value. The objective of this minigame is unlocked by 15 points, which could be more plausible than that from Woodguy Jr. But the random factor of Higher or Lower is another "impossible" objective, and it's "one chance only" rule makes things worse.

AQUATIC ATTACK: An horizontal submarine shmup that looks more like an R-Type ripoff. The objective is to obtain 100 points to unlock the objective.

SPACE LASER: First Person Shooter which can be considered a clone of Doom and Wolfenstein 3D. This is the only game where you have lives before losing. The "Objective" of this game can be obtained by reaching 30 points.

VOSTOK MICRO: A simple vertical shooter. The ship can only move horizontally like in Galaga and Space Invaders. You'll need 100 points to unlock the objective.

KART RACE: A racing game, you have to pass cars to obtain points. The Objective is unlocked by obtaining 100 points.

NIGHT DRIVE: This one is similar to Kart Race, but you'll have a limited field of vision simulating night lights. The objective is obtained by making 120 points.

CAVE CHOPPER: This game is similar to Flapping Bird. This time you're a helicopter flying inside a cave, since you're in a cave, your flight range will be limited, but to make it worse there's some mid-air blocks. Since tapping and hold the button controls the choppers flight, this is one of those hard games that requires some mastering. To unlock the objective and XBOX Achievement you'll need 666 points in one session. You'll have better luck landing the plane in Top Gun blindfolded or playing Silver Surfer with the Power Glove.

BALLOON POPPER: A "Point and Click" type of game where do you have to pop balloons without letting one of them go offscreen. The objective is unlocked obtaining 99 points.

FLYGUY: Another Flapping Bird type game where you control a fly. Like in Cave Chopper, tapping the button makes you fly higher, the objective is to obtain 100 points in this game.

ZOMBIE COMBAT: A Robotron: 2084 clone, shoot zombies until you're surrounded and defeated. Make sure you get 100 to gain the objective.

TAPEWORM: Pick points that make your Tapeworm larger and faster without touching the worm. The objective is achieved by getting 50 points.

There's also another mini-game called Vostok 2084, but unlike the rest, this one is an interactive staff roll screen that lasts a few minutes. It is unlocked in the Motherbase by paying 1 Quadrillion Moolah for it.



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Boss Battle: Someone is going to be "Fired" out of existence.

After achieving a specific amount of Moolah, you'll be able to fight the boss of that Solar System. Once he's defeated, you'll need to locate the Warp Core. You can either find the Warp by yourself or buying the Radar upgrade to make things easier. Once you bought the warp to the next sector you can start the Moolah collecting all over again and repeat the "Collect-and-fight the boss" process until you reach the game's final sector: the Horus Star System.



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To quote Blazing Star: "Select Your Machine!"

Unlocking new Solar Systems also unlocks new ships. This could be a potentially interesting feature if it wasn't for a small flaw: The change is just aesthetic, there's no differences between speed, damage tolerance or power since all of that is on the purchased upgrades in the Motherbase.

Once your mission of colonizing star systems and defeating their bosses is done, there's one more thing beyond the "Congratulations" screen. You will unlock the New Game+ option. It will keep your unlocked objectives, but your money, ship upgrades, radar upgrades and buildings are resetted to zero. However, as a reward for completing the game and in return of losing your upgrades and Moolah obtained, you'll have a rotating mini cannon that provides extra firing support. You can get more mini-cannons after completing the game more than once (Finishing the game three times and starting again grants you 3 pods).
Also, starting the game all over again increases the amount of Moolah obtained in asteroids, for instance in the 5th New Game+ you can get 4 million in one single asteroid without building anything in Sol.


Graphically, the best way i can describe the game is "Minimalism meets Dire Straits". As the character portraits and building scenes are simplified plain CGs and the characters are quite reminiscent of those from the music video "Money for Nothing" minus the 3D, like some sort of experimental minimalist cartoon. The only 3D CG things in the game are your ship, the Motherbase and the Moolah Transfer Collector, so that means you're a CGI fighter in a 2D universe.



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Vostok Retro-music Player. The modernity in Interactive Musical Experience.

Musically, the game aims to an 80's style electronic instrumental paces reminiscent of the Hi-NRG (pronounced Hi-Energy) and Electro-Funk such as Stop, Kraftwerk and Yellow Magic Orchestra in most of the times. However, must of the time the music only plays a few instruments on certain segments like non-shooting exploration, menus and building placing mode. To hear the music at "full instruments" you would have to shoot, use the Booster or even enter in battle mode either on Screen Locked or in a boss battle. Fortunately, the game allows you to hear the game's soundtrack with a Sound Test option in the pause menu. This isn't just your common Sound Test, as you can play with the segments that makes the whole track. You can enable or disable drums, beats, waves, etc., making this an "Interactive" Sound Test.

As for the dialogues, i can describe them as the "Penguinese" of Shmups. ¿Remember Pingu?, that clay penguin and its strange dialogues like "Brabibiblabi. Iiii!! Chibibatatebishi!, Nug-Nug!". Vostok Inc. goes all Pingu with the fictional language, but without the fun and more repetitive 'cos no matter what the text says, your broker Jimmy speech is the same "Enemalasakik anilina navaruk sevakuk okinik sekuk", but as he appears "calling" constantly during your job it becomes repetitive and annoying a few minutes after playing the game making you wish to punch Jimmy's mouth and keep him shut. Fortunately, the game has the option "Block Jimmy's Calls", which keeps his mouth shut during the gameplay, except for the "Story Interruptions" such as the Boss Calls.



CURIOSITIES INC. (Some of them since the game has a lot of curiosities and fun facts)
- The promotional trailer was made in the style of an 80's commercial, however it is still very reminiscent of the local TV commercial video quality nowadays.
- Vostok is the name of a lake in Antarctica and its base of the same name.
- The title screen depicting your ship in mid-warp is very reminiscent of the "Zone is Over" from G-Darius.
- The name of the in-game currency "Moolah" is pronounced like the spanish word "Mula" which means "Donkey".
- One of the promotional illustrations featured Jimmy Goldman half-naked covered in cash, probably as a parody of a scene from the movie American Beauty.
- The objective name "Kylo When, Who?" is a nod to Kylo Ren from Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
- Another Star Wars reference can be found in the objective "Twelve Parsecs? PFFFT!" as 12 Parsecs is the record time of the Millennium Falcon doing the Kessel Run.
- The objective "Hard Knock Life" is a reference to the song "It's the Hard Knock Life" from the musical Annie.
- "Weyland Utani PLC" is a reference to Weyland-Yutani Corporation from the Alien franchise.
- "Huebert Burdoch" is a pun on Rupert Murdoch.
- "No One's Sky" is an obvious reference to No Man's Sky.
- "Here comes the boom" could be a possible refrence to a line of P.O.D.'s song "Boom".
- The Mine's upgrade "Hydraulic Fracturing" description makes a reference to Fracking and its pollution controversy.
- Jimmy's "LA, LI, LU, LE, LO" dialogue is a clear reference to Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty.
- Another Jimmy quote, "It's too dangerous to go alone" makes a reference to The Legend of Zelda.
- Jimmy's random quote "It's-a-me, Jimmy!" is a pun on "It's-a-me, Mario!" phrase heard at the startup screen of Super Mario 64.
- The "Do a barrel roll" quote is a reference to Peppy Hare's quote from StarFox 64.
- "Hey, Hey, Let's make some CRAAAAZY money" is a reference to Crazy Taxi.
- Jimmy's comment about Automobile shares are "really going places" is a reference to Toyota's slogan "Let's go Places."
- The achievement "You are my gun star hero" clearly refers Gunstar Heroes and Gunstar Super Heroes.
- The player death message "WASTED" nods Grand Theft Auto.
- Another game reference can be found in the death message "FAIL" which could be a reference to Blazing Star and it's "You Fail It!" message which inspired the Fail meme.
- The side effects comment on the Liquid Processor's "Energy Drinks" upgrade refers the controversy towards the potentially lethal side effects of energy drinks, specially Red Bull and Monster Energy.
- D.E.R.P.A. Building upgrade "Robot Cop" and its description nods RoboCop.
- The D.E.R.P.A. upgrade "All-Terrain Nuclear-Equipped, Walking Battle Tank" name and description is a reference to Metal Gear Solid and Metal Gear Rex.
- "Defence Contracts" description about keeping the natives in check can be a pun on the plot of James Cameron's Avatar.
- "Mega-Mecha-Millitary-Machine" description "NOTE: Does not transform" could be a reference to some of the Non-Transforming Transformers products and its phrase "Product does not convert".
- Said upgrade mispells Military as "MILLITARY".
- D.E.R.P.A. is a wordplay on "Derp" and D.A.R.P.A.
- The Church has the word Scienceology, which is a clear nod to the Church of Scientology and its scandals.
- The "Kids Meals" upgrade of the Fast Food Restaurant mention of the lead based toys is a reference to the lead-paint scandal that affected Mattel and Hasbro in the 2000's.
- The name of the mini-game Vostok 2084 is a reference to Robotron: 2084.
- The mini-game Vostok Micro is very reminiscent of the "Pocket Mode" of Gekioh: Shooting King, also known as "JIENRYU" in the japanese Shienryu version.
- The submarine from the mini-game Aquatick Attack somewhat resembles an R-9 from R-Type.


With a combination of Twin Stick shooting and addicting money racking and simple planet colonizing features, Vostok Inc. takes its place on the shooting giving something different from the basic shoot and destroy your enemies.



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Nothing says "Corporate Success" better than having a Beach-and-Pool Party with your homies.
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Ready to Shmuppin' again... No Guts No Glory!


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