Clean Sweep

Clean Sweep catalog promo.

Developer: GCE
Publisher: GCE
Genres: Action
Release date: 1982
Number of players 1-2, alternating
Platform Vectrex

Due to the usual pattern of a game making it huge, clones of that game usually come next, which Clean Sweep proved to be no exception for when Pac-Man got gigantic in the arcade. However, even though the basics of Clean Sweep were pretty much identical to Pac-Man (clear mazes of dots, use special areas to turn the tables on your attackers), the idea of the game was totally changed, as the player(s) controlled a vacuum cleaner used to suck up money that robbers have attempted to steal from the player's(s') blown-up bank.


The player(s) move(s) a vacuum through a maze in order to suck up dollar bills that are strewn throughout the screen. After several bills are vacuumed up, the vacuum will increase in size. After several size increases, the vacuum will become full and will not be able to vacuum up any more bills, so the money must be deposited in the vault in the center of the screen before the vacuum can start gathering up money again.

Robbers (which look like the player's blaster in Tempest) begin appearing, entering via the two escape tunnels (as opposed to Pac-Man's one) that run vertically and horizontally in the maze. If a robber catches the player they will lose a life; run out of lives and the game will end.

Along with using the escape tunnels (which will warp the vacuum to the opposite end of the maze [i. e. entering an escape tunnel from the bottom will cause the player to reappear at the tunnel entrance at the top of the screen]), there are four special rooms -- one in each corner of the maze -- that the player can enter in order to be able to vacuum up the robbers for a brief time. The robbers will re-emerge from an escape tunnel seconds later though, and any remaining robbers that the player was not able to vacuum up will start blinking, indicating that they are about to return to their previous, dangerous form.

The difficulty level increases by having the vacuum fill up quicker, causing the player to make multiple trips to the vault during a level.

Game variationsEdit

Game one is the regular game, whereas game two is a "lights out" variation where the maze walls cannot be seen.


  • After several levels are cleared, the infinity sign (a sideways 8) will appear at where the level number used to be, which the robbers will cease chasing the player then and just move about the maze in a certain pattern, never going back to their previous difficulty level. It is unknown if Clean Sweep was rushed to the market and this was not fixed or if this was intentional (although it would seem unlikely for the game to have its difficulty level max out so quickly).
  • Another version of this game was made available called Mr. Boston, which was a promotional release for a liquor company of the same name. The game is exactly the same except the player controls a top hat rather than a vacuum, plus an ad for the Mr. Boston company appears before the game starts. Less than 10 copies are known to exist and can sell for a very large amount of money.

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