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 Post subject: Vanguard II (Arcade - PSP SNK Arcade Classics 0)
PostPosted: Sat Apr 25, 2020 6:23 pm 

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Joined: 11 Oct 2008
Posts: 334
Location: Autobot City, Sugiura Base
Time for some vintage shooting. This time is SNK's Vanguard II.

When tunnel exploration is not enough, we strike a base.

Vanguard II makes a whole change from its predecessor as it changes the horizontal platforming for a vertical base shooting in the style of Namco's Xevious and Tecno Soft's Thunder Force. However, Vanguard II puts you already in the base, since the objective is to take down a certain number of pods and silos in order to destroy the central core. The best and more effective way to destroy the base is to attack the Power Pods and Super Pods that connect the sections where the silos are. Desyoting the Power/Super Pods will take the silos down with them, saving time and one or two lives in the process as some sections contain 3 or 4 Silos (both small and large) and the stages will be requiring more and more silos to destroy in order to attack the base's Central Core. Also, its more convenient to destroy all of them rather than the minimal requirement since they give you a bonus at the end of a stage and that could be the difference between getting a 1up or getting killed.
In an "All-range" arena, control is everything. As an 1984 shooter, the game allows you to move in 8 directions. Unlike Thunder Force where pressing the opposite direction when flying will make your ship turn (example: Left when moving Right), in Vanguard II, it will make your ship "stop" for a couple of seconds before resuming its flight path. Sometimes, putting the brakes on your ship is good for a quick re-aim or dodging an enemy, stopping for a few seconds is sometimes useful to avoid a collision with an enemy since they are faster than your ship and the basic moving couldn't be enough sometimes and losing all your lives means start all over from the beginning (yeah, this is one of those no continue games from back then).

Graphically, for a single "Stage-Boss", it completes its purpose as the battle takes multiple screens involving searching those Silos and Pods, giving the impression of being larger than you might expect as we have an early example of world exploration on each stage as you find the base's weakpoints. As a Vanguard game, its good to see how the game breaks with the concept of cavern exploration in favor of planetary surfaces and even bases. A better graphics card results in more detailed things like the pods which they look well detailed for the time being. Also, your ship has an animation everytime it fires the missiles it "lifts" its wings to fire them. The only complaint is that the palette is quite obscure since dark colors are used in most of the stages.

In the sound department there's not too much to say since the game lacks of music and there's only a few sound effects, resulting in a quite boring gaming experience. Just put "Video Games (Gets in your brain)" by Gibson Reinsch and Peter Gibson (under the band name Alien) and there you go.

Sometimes, a little vintage shooting is what we need to break the monotony of modern games, specially when most of them are disastrous, and Vanguard II is one of those vintage games to play.
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