Retro Game of the Day! Vapor Trail
Vapor Trail by Data East. And Telenet. And Renovation. And.. Oh well, let's just stick to Data East. Arcade release 1989, console (Sega Genesis) in 1991.
Yep - this is another game that sucked me in at the movie theater. Sometimes I think going there to actually see movies was beside the point, I really just wanted to play some decent videogames.. This one, "just another shooter" released during their heyday, was actually rather memorable. As with all games of the sort, the story and character were both absolutely irrelevant; the graphics and sound were what were the main draw!
These games had the ability to suck you in, at this point arcade shooters were really hitting their stride - clean, crisp graphics, wonderfully cheesy-but-awesome 80s metal, and gameplay that was balanced just so, you would die often but feel compelled to keep feeding quarters to the machine to get just a little bit further.
The game itself was nice, a 2 player affair which to this point was seldom seen in shooters of this nature. Particularly unique to this game (I am sure it'd been done elsewhere, but it's got to be pretty obscure!) was that from the outset you could choose one of three fighters, each with different strengths/weaknesses. Not only did the ships look differently, they played differently enough (and with different powered-up modes) that the game felt very fresh.
The "powerpack" you could attach to your fighter gave you an immense feeling of firepower, and though they cribbed quite a bit from Raiden's playbook here, it felt different enough (and, I will argue, superior!) that the game could stand on it's own.
Vapor Trail is another forgotten title of yesteryear, good at the time but not good enough to see a resurrection on Virtual Console at this point. That's too bad as it's a fun little blaster with some adrenaline-charged moments, and the music is, to be honest, rather kick-ass. It's a game I will pick up and play from time to time for some kicks, the Genesis version is passable but this is one game you really need to enjoy in MAME!