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Traxx (VIC-20)

Traxx VIC-20 Title & menu screen

MISSING COVER

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Written by  :  Katakis | カタキス (41094)
Written on  :  Feb 09, 2017
Platform  :  VIC-20
Rating  :  3.67 Stars3.67 Stars3.67 Stars3.67 Stars3.67 Stars
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Summary

Not an original, but still a great game

The Good

Traxx is a far cry from the great shoot-em-ups that Llamasoft offered us so far that offered addictive, fast and frenetic gameplay. From the title alone, I don’t blame you if you are expecting a racing game or a clone of QIX (which the VIC-20 received no official port of). It does not have an original concept, as it is based on Amidar, a game in which you need to paint a grid of squares without running into the different enemies that roam about.

While the game loads, you are presented with an attractive loading screen which tells the user what to do if they are not familiar with Konami’s popular game. What sets Jeff Minter’s game apart from Amidar is that the game is customizable. Besides the number of players, you can also choose how many pursuers you want (up to nine) as well as the game’s speed. New players would want to choose only one pursuer and keep speed at a minimum so that they can get used to the game. Try having nine pursuers and the maximum speed and the game poses a real challenge.

Traxx requires 8K of expanded memory, and it makes full use of the VIC's capabilities. Apart from a few elements that are either missing or changed, including the bonus game and the randomness of the mazes, the core gameplay is there. You control what looks like a fly, and the guards have been replaced by spiders. Going around the border of a square makes all the edges red, although the game would have been more colorful if the squares were filled in as well.

I enjoyed listening to Minter's rendition of the main theme for Amidar, and the clever thing about his version is that it is programmed to continue even after you lose a life, rather than go all the way back to the beginning. The sound effects are basic, with the usual ”life-loss” sound being taken from Minter’s other games.

The Bad

The game lacks the bonus stage where you get to pick a path and hope that it leads to something special.

When you complete a level, the grid flashes for a second, so Traxx is not recommended for people who suffer from epilepsy.

The Bottom Line

Traxx is a great game from Llamasoft in which the object is to make, well, tracks. This is done by going around the borders of each square without running into enemies. The company did a good job at replicating Amidar. Aside from some elements, the game mechanics are about the same, and the soundtrack is memorable just as it was in the arcade version.