Looks like the environmentalists were right. In the year 2049, Earth has become inhospitable to human life, thanks to all the littering and pollution, forcing humanity to escape to the stars. They leave mechanical "Orbots" behind on Earth, tasking them with cleaning up the planet for their return.
Raster, a high-level Orbot who watches Earth through a planetwide computer network, is accidentally attached to a working nuclear missile by a lesser Orbot and subsequently goes insane, becoming an evil dictator named Warhead. He declares himself ruler of Earth, brainwashes all the other Orbots, and begins preparing to execute any humans who dare return to their planet.
Enter Vectorman, a humble Orbot in charge of cleaning up toxic sludge by discharging it into the sun; being off-planet at the time of Warhead's takeover, he was not affected by his brainwashing. As he lands on Earth after his last trip, he finds chaos and confusion. Being the only Orbot left capable of challenging Warhead's rule, Vectorman takes it upon himself to destroy the errant Orbot and restore peace on Earth.
In the sequel, Vectorman 2, having successfully defeated Warhead and putting an end to his tyranny, Vectorman immediately resumes his sludge-cleaning duties. While on a routine garbage run, his barge is shot down by a mysterious missile. Evacuating it and descending down to the surface, he finds himself on the outskirts of a seemingly abandoned research facility overrun by a horde of mutant insects with unpleasant designs on the planet. Vectorman must find the intelligence controlling them to save the Earth yet again.
The games were very well received by critics and players alike, not only for their amazing faux-3D graphics and cool techno soundtracks, but for being highly enjoyable games that weren't too hard to play. Part of the game's appeal was the entire design of the "Orbots" themselves - characters made out of several individual sprites (which, as the name indicates, were mostly spherical in nature) that could be rearranged in a variety of different ways. The gameplay played this up, allowing Vectorman to transform into a variety of different forms, arranging his orb sprites so that he resembled things like scorpions or tanks instead of a humanoid, each form having their own gameplay quirks (or even entire stages dedicated to them).
A third game for the PlayStation 2 was planned, but was ultimately cancelled.
This video game contains examples of:
- A Winner Is You: The ending of Vectorman 2. Also, while a lot of other games don't have much fanfare for clearing a level, this game takes it to the extreme, displaying a very simple score count and immediately moving on to the next level.
- A.I. Is a Crapshoot: The villain of the first game was a peaceful managerial robot overseeing the decontamination of Earth, until improper maintenance lead to its head being replaced with a nuclear weapon and it becoming a genocidal maniac, converting all the other Orbots (again, meant to decontaminate the Earth for the benefit of mankind) to its cause. Averted in the case of our hero.
- And Now For Something Completely Different: Several stages change Vectorman into some other object where you'll have to blow something up, including every type of Bonus Stage in the second game.
- Brain Monster: The final boss of 2 is a giant black widow spider with an exposed brain in her thorax. Sure enough, that exposed brain is her weak point.
- Bubblegloop Swamp: Levels 1-4 of the second game.
- Bug War: The second game.
- Chain Reaction Destruction: Most bosses like to explode in that manner.
- Cheat Code: The code for moving anywhere you want is appropriately C-A-L-L-A-C-A-B (L meaning Left on the d-pad).
- Chiaroscuro: Quite a few environments feature intense contrasts in lighting. Vectorman's sprite darkens or brightens to reflect this. Under the right circumstances, just using the Arm Cannon can generate a dramatically half-lit sprite.
- Collision Damage: and lots of it. Most damage inflicted comes this way...for you AND the mooks.
- Difficult, but Awesome: Finding a 10x power-up and then collecting a 1-up before it runs out.
- Digitized Sprites
- Directionally Solid Platforms: Like most examples, you can jump onto the majority of platforms from underneath.
- Double Jump: Jet Boots. Also a useful weapon.
- Down in the Dumps: Levels 16-17 of the second game.
- Enemy Roll Call: All the enemies are listed in the closing credits if you beat the game without cheating.
- Flash of Pain: Vectorman's blaster makes bosses lighten up...briefly.
- Floating Limbs: The Orbots' limbs consist of floating orbs. As an animation for leaning on a wall, Vectorman in particular can pop out two orbs on its arm, and juggle them with the hand on that arm before tossing them back in position.
- Gusty Glade: The 16th and last level (briefly, before you reach the boss) of the first game, and the 18th level of the second. As a sort of call back, the former is called "Twist and Shout", and the latter "Shout and Twist".
- Hand Blast: The main weapon of Vectorman.
- Harder Than Hard: "Insane" really can be, given the ONE life and 3 hits (those can be gone in a flash). "Wicked" for the second game fills this slot better, thanks to the overhard enemies.
- Hornet Hole: It's not really a beehive, but levels 21-22 of the second game take place in some kind of egg-filled insect nest complex, which also has some Eternal Engine shades. The eggs that hatch contain enemies from every part of the game.
- Idiosyncratic Difficulty Levels: There's "Lame", "Wicked" and "Insane". Replaced in the second game by "Lame", "Cool", and "Wicked".
- Lethal Lava Land: Levels 5-7 of the second game.
- Lens Flare: Probably one of the earliest examples of lens flare in a video game occurs during one of the ice levels.
- Logo Joke: The first game's Sega splash screen has Vectorman landing on the Sega logo and nearly losing his balance. You can actually control him fully here and there's a semi-hidden TV in the top right that has a smart bomb you can use to short out the logo. Not to mention the level skip minigame you can trigger.
- Vectorman nudges the letters of Genesis on the box art shown above.
- Mercy Invincibility: Also an interesting weapon if used right.
- Second game made it harder for players to use the Mercy Invincibility by sending the player half a screen backwards with every hit.
- Mercy Rewarded: Easily obtainable in some levels, thanks to the Double Jump.
- Mini-Game Credits: In the first game, you can move Vectorman around the startup "Sega" screen. You can even damage it. It even functions as a sort of level skip. Bump into the logo and shoot it enough times and you get a letter-catching minigame. Catch enough and you can start the game on later levels.
- No Fair Cheating/It Makes Sense in Context: Use a single code anywhere in the first game, and you can't see the credits. This was doubly important when the $25,000 grand prize was the factor. You can cheat all you want to in the sequel."Congratulations! Now do it without cheating."
- Off-Model: All of the first game's box arts take creative liberties with Vectorman's design, but the European box art◊ is particularly off-model.
- One-Hit Polykill: The first game has a power-up called the bolo gun, a slow-moving shot which "crashes through enemy Orbots" and continues going through any enemies until offscreen or hitting a wall. It also has the possibility to push the enemy and hit it multiple times.
- Palette Swap: The first game uses several palette-swapped versions of the first level's tileset in subsequent levels.
- Can also be done to Vectorman himself in the second game by allowing him to get hit by a Paintbug. What's interesting about this is that whenever Vectorman's palette changes, so do those of the extra life icons (tiny versions of Vectorman) and any health items in the stage (spheres that share Vectorman's palette). This also happens in both games whenever Vectorman's sprite changes palette due to lighting, e.g. becoming dark when in shadow or being brightly lit by something nearby. The palette swapping of these things may have been intentional, or it may be a Good Bad Bug.
- Power Copying: Most of the transformations in the second game come from power-ups dropped by enemies.
- Punny Name/Shout-Out: Many of the level names are nods to (or puns on) 90's pop culture.
- Raster and Vector are graphics types. Raster is things like photographs, videos, etc, and vector is CGI dots-and-lines. Raster graphics break up into pixels when viewed too closely/blown up too big; vectors don't. The villain being named, (originally) Raster before getting too big for his breeches and fighting the incorruptable protagonist Vector, may be a reference to this.
- Scenery Porn: Especially the first game with as many background effects as possible.
- Sentry Gun: These are mounted on surfaces.
- Slippy-Slidey Ice World: Levels 4-5 of the first game.
- Shifting Sand Land: Levels 19-20 of the second game. Also contain elements of Remilitarized Zone, in that you're a tank.
- Spike Balls of Doom: First boss of the first one has them attached to its wings.
- This Is a Drill: One of Vectorman's powerup forms. Used to break through certain floors.
- Underground Level: Levels 8-15 of the second game. Kept from being as monotonous as it would otherwise be by including multiple level types, including standard cave areas, levels consisting mostly of dirt you have to blast a path through, and subway tunnels that Vectorman speeds through on rollerfeet.
- Vapor Ware: The Playstation 2 game. It was probably for the best.
- Vector Game: Subverted. The whole reason he was named what he was is because it looks like a vector game. But, ironically, the game actually didn't use vector graphics, but rather pre-rendered 2D sprites similar to Donkey Kong Country. His initial rival, "Raster," is named for an inversion of this.
- Weaponized Exhaust: The best part about the Double Jump.