Space Fury

Space Fury arcade title screen.

Developers: Sega/Gremlin (arcade)
Coleco (ColecoVision)
Publishers: Sega/Gremlin (arcade)
Coleco (ColecoVision)
Genre: Multi-directional Shooter
Release date(s): 1981 (Arcade)

1982? (ColecoVision)

Number of players 1-2 alternating
Input methods 4 Buttons (arcade)
2 directional joystick, 2 buttons? (ColecoVision)
Platforms Arcade Game, ColecoVision

Space Fury was a multi-directional shooter created by Sega/Gremlin, released on June 17, 1981. The player controlled a spaceship battling alien spacecraft. Like other early similar arcade games, it was controlled by four buttons: rotate left, rotate right, thrust and fire. The game was particularly unique in that the player could choose different upgrades for the first three levels. One upgrade would allow the player to shoot in a three-way pattern, another would allow the player to fire forward and backwards, and the third would allow all the firepower to be concentrated in the front.

At the conclusion of the following round, the player would then pick up another shell, although multiple ones could not be used together. The player was given a bonus for time remaining after docking with a shell, and after docking with a third and final shell, that would be the shell the player would keep for the remainder of the game.

Sort of like an “Asteroids in reverse”, where large objects were broken up into smaller ones, here spacecraft would initially appear separated, then join together, and would not be able to shoot if some of the pieces were annihilated before they converged, and would try to ram the player's ship at an increasingly faster velocity. If all four pieces were able to join together to form a ship, that ship would drift around the playfield, not actively pursuing the player, but it would shoot at the player’s ship.

The game continued indefinitely but stopped calculating the score after the completion of level four. Like with the docking screen, a bonus is given if there is time remaining at the end of a level.

Another aspect that made the game unique was between rounds and during the attract mode, the alien commander would taunt the player through the use of synthesized speech, as well as greeting them at the beginning of every game by saying “a creature for my amusement; prepare for battle!” The player was also given a rank at the end of a game by the commander, based on how well they performed.

One port, one clone, one remakeEdit

The only port Space Fury received was for the ColecoVision. Due to the system not being able to produce speech, the dialog from the commander (“...creature for my amusement”) would scroll at the top of the screen at the beginning of a game. The default game was slower and easier than the original, but there were several starting levels to choose from.

Then in 2006, with the original having vector graphics, it was logical for a clone called Space Frenzy to emerge for the Vectrex, as it had its own monitor that produced vector graphics. There were a few differences in the game, one of which involved the ship segments being lethal even before they joined together to form a ship (in the original, segments would pass through the player’s ship unharmed, but if a partial or complete cruiser was formed, colliding with it would destroy the player’s ship then). There were also no bonuses for docking or completing a wave, and the player is allowed to keep on having fresh shells to dock with, unlike being stuck with one last shell like on the original after three levels of docking.

There were also several ways to play the game, one of which was like the ColecoVision version where dialog would appear at the top of the screen. There was also a DigiSpeech version where the alien would speak, but with all Vectrexes being different, this brought mixed results: people online had said that the alien was so soft he could barely be heard, others reported the graphics being distorted on this screen, while others said that there was no problem at all. Having the homebrew add-ons of a VecVoice or an AtariVox+ was a third way to play the game as well, adding the taunts at the beginning of the game, at the beginning of a new wave, and for a ranking at the end.

The cartridge also came with an unfinished demo of Super Spike World, a clone of Super Mario World. All the player could do in the demo was pick up a few objects and interact with a few surroundings (birds, platforms, Spike’s enemy Spud) before the demo went back to the beginning in a loop.

And in 2008, a programmer by the handle of Sokurah created a freeware clone that ran on PCs and Macs. The game was pretty much the same as the arcade original, although docking with ship shells only came after every three rounds, docking with shells required the player to be very precise, and there was also an added fourth shell. There were also three additional alien entities added (along with additional dialogue) that would mock the player during the game and players could have their scores uploaded to the programmer's web site if they qualified. The game is for one player only.

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