13
Jan
13

Spectre for DOS

First Level

First Level

Spectre was released by Velocity inc. in 1992. It is a 3d tank battle game very much like battle zone and its descendants. It had numerous ports for systems such as the Macintosh and even a console version that was on the super Nintendo. I have only ever played the shareware version as I have never found a commercial copy of the game.

I played it originally on our old 20Mhz 386 when I was a kid, and the performance was actually pretty good considering the capabilities of the machine. Under dosbox I’ve found it works well if you have the cycles set high enough, but you can experience slow-down when you are close to some of the texture mapped objects if you haven’t set it high enough.

Flags

Flags

The game supports VGA, and has some simple 3d texture mapped graphics. If your machine doesn’t work very well you can turn off texture mapping to gain a little extra performance. The landscape is however very sparse and dark. There are a number of objects strewn around each landscape most of them geometric shapes such as cubes, pyramids and some flat surfaces in the form of billboards. The object that is the most complicated and animated are the windmills that you find in the levels. Strangely all the objects that are textured use the one texture, which changes each level.

Sound comes in the form of either PC speaker, Adlib or Sound Blaster, but oddly in the demo version of the game I could only ever get the PC speaker to work, which is reasonable, but nothing spectacular.

Level 3

Level 3

Game play is relatively simple and very much like battle zone. You’re in an arena like space with obstacles, enemies, and some flags. To complete a level you have to collect all the flags and preferably kill as many of the enemies as you can. In the demo you only get the first three levels which are frankly a bit boring. The enemies aren’t all that clever and pretty much just come straight at you. From what I’ve read online there are many more levels that are much more difficult and have more interesting enemies.

Windmill in level 3

Windmill in level 3

As a kid the demo was pretty impressive, but I had played games that had 3d graphics and better gameplay. I found the demo was a nice demonstration of the technology, but didn’t really have a lot of good game play in it. The technology in the game itself was kinda impressive, but was over shadowed very quickly by games that came out even that year, such as Wolfenstein 3d. Perhaps the commercial version is a bit more fun and interesting, but that unfortunately seems to be difficult to find.

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