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Vajra

version: jp - year: 1993 - developer: data west - publisher: pioneer - format: laseractive, LD-ROM2 - condition: mint - rarity: hard to find

Vajra is one of the very few LD-Rom2 available, and it is also one of the best. 3D goggles compatible.

 

These low quality screenshots don't do the game justice. The graphics are very sharp, although connecting the LaserActive to the TV via composite cables probably diminishes their impact on screen.

 

The 4 cross-hair setup allows to clear the screen of bullets more quickly but it is definitely less powerful. Here an airplane flies by, in the midst of a fire fight.

 

Each level consists of a long 1 on 1 boss fight...

 

...with plenty of chasing!

 

When your enemy is dropping his more powerful attacks, you should time yourself to detonate your smart bomb to cancel his attacks.

 

Mission completed! My healthbar (left) was almost empty, but I still had two bombs left (stars) to detonate. Each bomb also replenishes the health bar partially.

 

Just a few people worked on this game

Review - According to Wikipedia, the Indo-Aryan Sanskrit word Vajra means thunderbolt and lightning. It is also used to identify a ritual tool or a short metal weapon that symbolizes:
1 - the strength of a diamond, meaning it can cut through anything but cannot be cut itself,
2 - and the thunderbolt, which has an intrinsic “irresistible force”.

The Vajra which is often associated with spiritual power, is the rod-like object you can see on the cover of this Laserdisc.

Vajra for LaserActive was developed by Data West, the creators of the unforgiving Rayxanber trilogy. It is a shooter in which you control a crosshair and have to shoot your way out of 5 levels a bit like in the old coin-op Operation Wolf, with the difference that here, you move not only sideways, but also on the Z axis.

Interestingly though, every level is basically a huge boss fight against a flying mech, and this takes place within a urban setting. In the first level, you’ll be zig-zagging your way around skyscrapers, while the second level will see you chase another Mech in the city park and so on. Each level basically consists of urban pre-rendered settings played back by the LaserActive on which sprites generated by the Pc Engine NEC Pac-N1 module are applied.

What to say about Vajra?

Graphically, the 3D backgrounds look sharp, clean, but a bit simple since they are untextured, and they don’t seem to offer a lot of variety except maybe for the last stage which consists of a furious chase underneath the city.

The music has definitely that unmistakable Data West flavor which you might recognize if you played any of their games before.

The fast-paced gameplay is really the strong point of Vajra though, as not only will you have to race against bullets in an attempt to shoot them before they reach you, but you’ll also have to race time, meaning that you have to defeat your opponent before the timer runs out.

Time management is everything in this game so it will often happen that at one point, when the clock is ticking, you’ll be forced to disregard incoming bullets and focus on depleting the enemy energy bar as much as you can. This can often result in you being quickly incinerated but luckily, you can use some sort of clever smart bombs which clear the screens of bullets for a second and also replenish a portion of your health bar. You can unleash them by pressing button I on the pad. Learning to use these smart bombs is essential if you intend to go through the 5 levels the game has to offer.

Also by pressing simultaneously buttons I and II, you’ll be able to switch between the regular, more powerful single cross-hair and 4 less powerful cross-hair which are convenient when you need to rid the screen of bullet clusters.

In the end, Vajra’s main asset aren’t the graphics but the gameplay, which manages to transmit an excellent sense of speed and urgency.

Bottom line: Recommended, if you are serious with your Laserdisc gaming needs! 7,5/10


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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