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Video Game / Spectre (1991)

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A series of first- / third-person shooter games, somewhat similar to Battlezone. The first game was released in 1991, for macOS. Subsequent games included Spectre Supreme (1992-3), Spectre VR (1993) and Spectre VR CD (1994), the latter 2 of which were ported to MS-DOS and Microsoft Windows. There was also Spectre for the Super NES, which differed considerably from the original game. In 2010, a remake known as Spectre 3D was released for Apple iOS, including all of the original levels and most of the sound effects, but with significantly upgraded graphics and a rather suicidal "Arcade" mode. This version sadly seems to have disappeared from the App Store, and it's future is uncertain. In 2022, the developers of that iOS game released an HTML5 Web Game adaptation of it, titled Spectre WEB, on their official websitenote .

The player controls a tank. Options for camera placement include a first-person view, a third-person view from above-and-behind the tank, a directly-overhead view that follows the tank around, and a long-distance directly-overhead view that shows the entire playing field. There's also a "radar" view in the upper right corner of the screen. The player is allowed to customize the stats of the tank at the beginning of the game, trading off between speed, hit points, and ammunition. In single-player mode, the object of the game is to collect all of the flags in order to proceed to the next level. There is also LAN-based multiplayer. Subsequent games in the series added special weapons (each of which becomes available upon reaching a specific level), additional enemy types, additional items/power-ups, and additional environmental features on the playing field.

Provides Examples Of:

  • A.K.A.-47: In Spectre VR's complex graphics mode, the hunter-killers bear a remarkable resemblance to an SR-71 Blackbird spy plane. (In low-graphics mode, they're just pizza-shaped wedges, so the resemblance is lost.)
  • Capture the Flag: Present as a multiplayer mode.
  • Critical Annoyance: The klaxon sound when your armor is low. (Unlike in many other games, this sound doesn't play constantly; instead, it plays when you get hit by an enemy while your armor is low.)
  • Invisibility: One type of enemy tank is invisible, but shows up on the radar. Another kind of enemy is just the opposite (visible, but doesn't show up on the radar).
  • Level Editor: VRchitect could be used to edit Spectre VR matrix(level) files allowing for changing everything from colors, to what weapons enemies used to which ones appeared on which levels to the layouts of the game grids, also if you really knew what you were doing you could do even more advanced changes using Rezedit
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: In VR CD's FMVs. Played straight in that the evil corporation in the game is called Macrosoft, then subverted when it's CEO is shown to be Bill Gates Clone # 17.
  • Platform Hell: "Arcade mode" on the iOS version. Very reminiscent of the monster party rooms in Rogue, but in real time
  • No Plot? No Problem!: The original game, at least. (There's something of an Excuse Plot in Spectre VR CD, but the Large Ham theatrics in the cutscenes tend to make you wish there wasn't.)
  • Point Build System: The method for customizing your tank before the game begins.
  • Retraux: In a way, although the game predated Wolfenstein 3-D by a year, it more resembles Battlezone and very early 3D games like Elite or I, Robot than it does Wolf.
  • Scoring Points: You're awarded points at the end of each level based on how well you performed on several criteria, including how much time you spent on the level, how often you were hit by the enemy, and how many enemies you destroyed.
  • Sentry Gun: One enemy type is an immobile turret that launches guided missiles.
  • Threatening Shark: The slicers look like shark fins.

Alternative Title(s): Virtua Combat