Vanguard, known in Japan as ヴァンガード [Ban Gado] Vanguard" is scrolling shooter developed by TOSE and published by SNK in arcades in 1981. It was later ported to the Atari 2600 and Atari 5200. In the game's story you pilot a space ship through the dangerous Mountain Zone, Rainbow Zone, Styx Zone, Stripe Zone, Bleak Zone, and to the City of Mystery where you must defeat Gond before he destroys the space colonies. Each zone is occupied with a different type of enemy ship that must be shot and natural hazards that must be avoided. Vanguard used a unique for the time 2 joysticks, one to control movement, the other to control firing. It also was one of the first scrolling shooters to scroll in multiple directions over the course of the game. The famous musical tune that plays when you touch the energy block is Vultan's Theme (Attack of the Hawk Men) from the Flash Gordon film.
I first played Vanguard in the mid-1980s on my family's Atari 2600. My family and our neighborhood friends pretended it was like a Star Wars game and make believe we were characters like Yoda and Luke would It wasn't until years later that I learned it was originally an arcade game.
I no longer own Vanguard, but my current high score is 76,870.
- Overall: 4/10
- Best Version: Arcade
- Despite the Atari 2600's memory restrictions, Cartwright packed a lot of variation into this game's enemies. They follow different movement patterns, look different, and each have several variations.
- Even though the ship designs repeat, the palette shifts and the enemy ships adopt new movement patterns in subsequent waves giving the game more variety.
- Being able to control the ship's gun in different ways was a nice addition.
- The game has really nice sound for a 2600 game.
- Due to the extreme limits of the Atari 2600, the game is unfortunately too repetitive.
The 5200 is more like the arcade flyers. It shows a simpler ship firing at enemies in a more TRON-like environment.