Released by Sega in 1995, Vectorman was one of the last great games for the Sega Genesis video game console. While Vectorman is just a platform game with nothing really innovative in terms of gameplay, it does feature some of the best graphics ever seen on the Genesis. Some have even said it looks like a Playstation game. This is debatable (partly due to the fact that the Genesis cannot handle transparency effects), but it's definately a good-looking game.
Vectorman himself is a robot, formed of several disconnected objects; his feet and hands aren't actually attached to his torso, they float in the air, with several spheres floating in between. He almost looks polygonal, and yet is well animated; you'll see after playing for a while, he has a lot of personality for a robot. Most other characters, objects, and backgrounds in the game don't look as good, but even so, they're still above average for Genesis graphics.
There are a few levels with top-down viewpoints, but most of the game takes place in side-view, just like most platformers of the 16-bit era or earlier. To help Vectorman through the game, he has a few cool tricks at his disposal. Pressing the jump button while he's already in midair makes a little burst of jet power come out of the bottom of his feet and give him another little upward boost; this will get him past a lot of obstacles, but isn't too useful against enemies, so he can also shoot bursts of light from his hands. Besides these things, there are a few powerups to be found by destroying TVs that hang in various places in the level; some are for his light weapon, including one which grants some MAJOR rapid fire; others will temporarily turn Vectorman into a different form such as a drill or a bomb.
Not as useful as these things are the "photons", which are scattered throughout the levels and sometimes released when an enemy or TV is destroyed; these just give a few points when picked up and more bonus points at the end of the level. A few TVs also contain multipliers, "X2, X3, X5," and possibly even an "X10," which temporarily increase the points added to your score for picking up photons and destroying things. Unlike in most platformers, your score is actually important in Vectorman, as enough points will bring extra lives. Extra lives are a big deal here because there are no continues.
The first level is average platform fare, hopping around on, well, platforms, and fighting a few other robots, wall-mounted turrets, and insect-like creatures. There's not too much to be said about this level, but it will teach you the ropes a bit. The key thing to keep in mind here is that this is NOT Sonic the Hedgehog, and rushing will get you killed. Don't let the timer scare you; you have plenty of time to finish the level.
Not only will rushing get you killed, but it will keep you from finding powerups and photons. Jump up onto the first little tower (right above the first enemy robot) and destroy the TV above you for a five-way shot powerup. Soon after this, there is a fairly long fall; when you hit bottom, kill the turret and go left; there are two robots to kill, near a field of 12 photons floating in the air, and a TV containing an "X5" multiplier. Moving back to the right, you'll eventually fight your way up a hill with a bunch of bugs and a big flag at the top. Look up here. You'll see two photons floating in the air. Jet-jump up to them; Vectorman will land on an invisible platform; jump him up to the left, collecting five more pairs of photons; jet-jump over the next pair for four more and a TV containing a weapon powerup that's a little hard to describe; it makes Vectorman shoot two shots whenever he shoots, and they kinda swirl around each other as they go. After collecting the weapon and these four, you can jump through the other two, collecting them as well.
The only part of the first level that will really give a new player a lot of difficulty is the boss, a large red bomb-dropping airplane, but after fighting it a few times, you'll catch onto its attack pattern, and then it's not too hard at all.
If only the second level made as much sense; this finds Vectorman transformed into some kind of rail-riding vehicle. The track swings back and forth on the screen during this level and looks pretty cool, but this is little more than a distraction; I think what you're supposed to do here is avoid the bullets and shoot the large robot's hands as many times as possible. If you're about to crash into one of the hands, jump. The large robot will fall off a few times, and eventually he won't get back up and the level is over.
Level three is more interesting than level one; some dock or bridge structures over shallow water, and a few platforms floating around with the turrets you know from the first level on them. If you've taken a hit or two, and you probably did during that annoying track level, go left after jumping into the water, there's life energy in the TV there. You'll have to climb out to the left, which will put you back where you started. Later in the level, you'll walk over a closed-in part of the level that seems to have monitors and other cool shit inside; to get in here, go a little to the right after you pass the point where it looks like Vectorman could get in (he can't...yet), you'll find a floating platform with a turret on it; kill the turret and then destroy the TV above it for the powerup that makes Vectorman into a bomb; go back to the left to where you just were and detonate. Now you can get inside. After getting all the photons back in there, break the TV for a 'fish' powerup. Go back to where the platform that had the bomb over it was and go over the next bridge. Step down onto a floating platform, then down off of that, you'll see a small passage that looks like the one you were in a minute ago. Go through, kill the bubble enemy and break the TV for a 1-up. Sega likes to reward those who take the time to explore. Anyway, keep looking for these little niches with powerups and photons as you proceed through the level, moving to the right. Very straightforward.
Vectorman may not be Sonic the Hedgehog, like I said before, but Level 4 is like the obligatory annoying underwater stage you find in every Sonic game. Lucky for you, Vectorman is a robot and has no need for oxygen. Still, though, you're likely to get a little confused here. At least there are no annoying mazes, you're basically just trying to move upwards. Eventually you'll reach the top, where breaking a TV rewards you with a powerup that turns Vectorman into a rocket and he blasts out through the ceiling, on to a tricky, two-part boss battle: a pelican and a polar bear. Again, though, once you've gotten the hang of its attack pattern, you'll have little difficulty beating it.
Level 5 is where the real confusion starts, and on top of that, the colors make it hard to see in some points. There's also a rain (or waterfall or something) effect in one point that makes it even harder to see. This is intentional, of course, but not as much of a mindfuck as the higher levels of Zoop. I can't really advise you on where to go in this level, being that I'm not too sure myself, but one sticky point involves a robot with a mask on the front; the mask doesn't take any damage. What you have to do here is first, jump up and shoot the top part a bunch of times until it blows off. Now the mask and legs will walk around; jump back and forth over it until you can get behind it and pound the hell out of the thing with your light bursts. This will remove the mask (although you've been shooting the legs); resume firing at it until it's gone.
Level 6 is more confusing, and in addition to this, is something of an obstacle course. You'll spend a lot of time here riding on different kinds of moving platforms and floors. It's not too hard to find your way through, but the boss will probably give you a lot of trouble. I still haven't managed to kill it. It does look cool though.
Again, Vectorman doesn't have the most original gameplay, but is a challenge and a worthy purchase for any platform fan. Even beyond just getting through the levels, there are secret areas to look for that would add some replay value even after completing the game, and having some of the best graphics you'll ever see on a Genesis doesn't hurt either.