By Budgie
Commodore 64

Published in Zzap #6

Vortron | JR | PS | GP | Verdict


Vortron is a rather unusual shoot em up from Budgie, and the second one in their new range. It's the usual 'defend your planet against the invasion forces' stuff but has a few nice twists in the gameplay that make it quite an unusual little game to play.

You control of a thingy of indeterminate structure, a sort of alien that shoots laser bombs. In the middle of the screen is a planet and this is what you fire at. Aliens come from all sides of the screen and you have to blast them, quite tricky with the way the firing works.

Some pretty neat manoeuvring is needed to blast them all, especially on higher levels where the aliens are fair whizzing around the place and it's up to the old manual dexterity and reflexes to keep you alive. The best tactic is to keep to the edges of the screen, although not close enough for you to be taken by surprise when an alien bursts onto the screen. Watch out, too, for the strange gravity conditions and inertia that send your thingy tumbling all over the screen if you're not concentrating properly.


Once all the aliens have been shot (a set number shown at the beginning of each screen) you can enter a transporter and automatically go to the next level, and there are nine in all.


This is the sort of mindless shoot em up that has no object but to score crillions of points, and one that usually ends up being totally addictive. It's pretty good fun, especially with the new method of firing, but as with most games of this genre it tends to pall after a while. Still, it's a good zap for a few quid and one I wouldn't feel too bad about spending my money on.


Vortron is yet another nicely presented budget blast'em up. The firing mechanism is neat and, despite its apparent awkwardness, it is very easy to master. Even though Vortron is a regular zap-the-different-aliens-with-different-movement-patterns game, there's enough different combinations and permutations to keep things interesting. Shame about the sound effects, a nice little background tune would have livened things up a bit. Movement is good and smooth, though there's no animation involved. An annoying feature is the large pause between losing a ship and starting play again. Vortron is a pleasant game which is fun to play, but I'm a bit dubious about it's lasting appeal. Still, for the money it's a bargain.



You may think shoot em ups are a thing of the past - or should be! But this budget game from Budgie/Alligata just goes to show what can be done with a good simple idea and by ringing a few changes. What at first looks simple to play (and get high scores on) turns out to be rather more difficult, and the way the aliens hurtle at you from all over the place is satisfyingly mean. But what really makes this little game into a bigger one is the fact that your fire power can only be aimed at the planet in the middle; which means you have to dart all over the screen to be able to fire at the aliens you want to hit. In fact, this is a far better game, in my opinion, than Alligata's Shoot Em Up. It's certainly worth forking out three quid for.


Presentation 67%
No instructions, but then the game is simple.

Graphics 63%
Simple, but effective graphics.


Sound 58%
Just blasting sounds.

Hookability 85%
Especially with the interesting firing.

Lastability 61%
Good fun, but does get repetitive.

Value For Money 81%
A nice shoot-'em-up for three quid.

Overall 71%
Good ol' fashioned blasting.

Vortron | JR | PS | GP | Verdict