Vortex

a game by Argonaut Games

Platform: SNESSNES

Genre: Shooting Games

So you loved Star Fox, and you've been waiting for more than a year for another space shooter that uses the Super FX chip? Wait no longer, jet jockeys, Vortex is on the launching pad and about to blast some good shootin' thrills your way.

Scoretex!

As the first third-party game to use Nintendo's Super FX chip, Vortex bears a striking resemblance to Star Fox and the other SFX game, Stunt Race FX. That means flat, polygon-based worlds, a behind- your-vehicle view, and swarms of angular enemies.

ProTip: Enemies that can't shoot you down will try to ram you. Avoid collisions at all costs.

Vortex does add something new to the SFX universe: the ability to morph your vehicle into new shapes without pausing the game. You fight as a huge, stomping Walker, a speedy Land Burner car, a flashy Sonic Jet, and a defensive Hard Shell. Each vehicle has its own strengths and weaknesses (the Sonic Jet is quick but guzzles gas, for instance), and each has its own weapons (the Walker has firepower galore -- Cannon, Laser, Multi-Rocket Launcher, and Seeker Missile). The strategy is to pick the right vehicle for the right situation and try to save enough weapons to defeat the end-level bosses.

This isn't a very strategic game, however. It's basically just thumb-blisterin' blastin' at everything that moves. Strong controls enable you to fire with precision, and the morph-on-the-fly technique is definitely cool to do and watch.

Study the landscape carefully so you can tell the enemies from the inanimate objects.

Vortex Views

Unfortunately, the graphics are inconsistent. Your vehicle gets visual details, but enemy vehicles are basically a few flying triangles. You get good 360- degree rotation, lots of targets, and strong colors, but you don't get any speed -- this is by far the slowest of the SFX games. As enemies gradually roll toward you, you float a lazy missile at them, and before impact you could almost make a trip to the fridge.

  • Don't waste shots during Missions. You'll need 'em to defeat the Mission bosses, such as Mission One's Warrior Crixus.
  • Proceed cautiously as you enter gates on Cryston. Enemies or traps often lurk just on the other side.

The sounds are standard shooter fare: fast-paced techno-poop (er, that's technopop) and basic zings 'n' zaps. Killer explosions or imaginative vehicle sounds would've added immensely to the intensity.

Vortex Verdict

If you like polygon shooters and you don't mind a plodding pace, you'll like Vortex. However, if you want high-speed action, you'll have to zoom to a different SNES galaxy.

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Vortex Downloads

SNES Vortex download

Barbarians from the Aki-Do system have stormed the Deoberon Capital of Trantor via an Interdimensional Vortex, and have seized control of the capital city, Trantor, and the powerful Al Core that defends the peaceful Deoberon world. Unable to destroy the Al intelligence, the dreaded Black Troop Generals removed the Core from its housing and hid the four data banks and the central Core on their own heavily defended wasteland planets. It's up to you, as the pilot of a robot (known only as "Morphing Battle System") to reclaim these data banks and restore the Al Core. Use your extraordinary transforming abilities that allow you to become a Sonic Jet, a Landburner, a Walker, or a Hard Shell to compensate for fhe varying terrains of the planets, from the frigid Cryston, to the scorching Magmemo. You will combat the Black Troop's vicious guardians with your vast array of rockets, cannons, lasers, and mis-siles. Even if you are skilled enough to reclaim the data banks, you must return through the dimensional gateway to Trantor, to face the Black Troop Master in the most brutal battle ever!

  • Manufacturer: ELECTROBRAIN
  • Number of players: 1
  • Difficulty: MODERATE
  • Available: OCTOBER 1994
  • Cartridge size: 4 MEG + SFX CHIP
  • No. of Levels: 10
reggie posted a review
  • Machine: SNES
  • Manufacturer: Electro Brain.

Morph between four different robots and blast polygon monsters in a polygon landscape. While this game doesn't even come close to virtual reality, it does have a lot of solid gameplay. This one should be rented before you buy it.

reggie posted a review
  • Machine: SNES;
  • Manufacturer: Electro Brain; Argonaut

Welcome to your nightmare! It's fifth hour Geometry class and you're postulating the theorem of the circumference of a group of attached integers - Eeks! Not to fear. Soon enough you're gonna be able to race home and revenge your confusion by pulverizing polygons in Electro Brain's (makers of Star Fox) newest game, Vortex.

You're in charge of the Morphing Battle System, and you gotta save the world. Sure, saving the world can be awfully tiring but you've got the power of the ultimate Morphing Battle System at your disposal. Storm through the icy world of Cryston destroying the enemy, while searching for keys, power-ups and elevators. Vortex is packed full of different perspectives which make this game appear like no other. The Morphing Battle System can transform into the Sonic Jet, the Walker, the Landburner, or the Hard Shell, and each mode has its own strengths and weaknesses.

Vortex was developed utilizing the latest version of the revolutionary Super FX chip, which is a definite improvement on the earlier FX chip. The FX chip gives Vortex the speed that's necessary for a game of this nature. However, because of the pricey FX chip, Vortex is only four megs in size so that it could be affordable for consumers. Hats off to the programmers for packing so much gameplay into 4-megs. I just wish they could have had a full 16- or 24-megs to work with.

As you may have guessed by now, I can't wait for the finished version of Vortex to come in the mail! When it does, I get to review this polygon bustin', shape-changin', speed-burnin' mother of a game! Keep your eyes peeled for the smokin' review in the next issue of Game Players.

The Morphing Battle System

Knowing when to change into what can be the difference between life and death.

The Sonic Jet mode is best for a quick escape, flying over traps, or reconnaissance missions, but it's a gas waster and has weak defenses.

The Landburner mode is best when searching the land for keys and power-ups, but it has trouble handling an aerial assault.

reggie posted a review
  • Manufacturer: Electro Brain
  • Machine: Super NES
  • Theme: Action

Electro Brain has renamed their F/X chip game, Citadel, to Vortex. Vortex will have the same plot and transformations of your mech. Like before, you can go anywhere on the battlefield you want, and transform into four different forms.

The visual effects in Vortex are unbelievable, with tons of scaling throughout the constant battle scenes.

Vortex uses a variety of viewpoints to give the player the best possible advantage. That way, you can see around you. Unlike most games, you'll be attacked from all sides!

If you want a fast-paced shoot-'em-up, Vortex will give you what you need. Are you good enough to save the world?

reggie posted a review

Vortex (formerly known as Citadel) is a 3D shooter similar to Star Fox designed to use the SNES Super FX 1 chip, a custom-made graphics accelerator RISC processor. It was developed by Argonaut Software. The player is cast as a soldier fighting the Aki-Do Forces, an evil empire bent on taking over the entire universe. To stop them, the player has access to an experimental mech, the Vortex, to travel the seven worlds of the Aki-Do system and destroy the bases.

reggie posted a review
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