Vector Ball (Mastertronic) Review | Amstrad Computer User - Everygamegoing

Amstrad Computer User

Vector Ball
By Mastertronic

Published in Amstrad Computer User #48

Vector Ball

This is described as a cross between ice hockey, netball and Crown Green bowling. It is really a peculiar version of football, with one droid, rather than 11 humans, on each side. Two people can play against each other, or you can play the computer.

The game is played on a scrolling pitch which is three screens wide. The pitch is not flat, but has assorted lumps and bumps variously described as hills, ditches and waves.

You can choose any of these contours, or a mixture of all three. There is a goal at each end; all you have to do to score is to force the ball through the opposition goal using your droid, which can hit the ball or barge the opponent.

You have three, five or seven minutes in which to play the game, and there is a system of handicapping which puts more bumps on the higher levels, making it more difficult to control the ball.

The game, unfortunately, is almost unplayable. The direction in which the droid is moving is controlled with the joystick or redefinable keys; the direction in which it can shoot is controlled with Fire held down, as well as the joystick or keys.

As the game is extremely fast, this means that it is very easy to get flustered, press or release Fire by mistake and hit the ball in entirely the wrong direction. Own goals are depressingly common.

The entire playing surface is boring white on black; there is almost no colour, and the scrolling is so fast and flickery that it can be painful to watch.

The programmers have attempted to put the blame for this mess on the screen memory layout, which is really a case of bad workmen blaming their tools. According to the inlay card, you should be able to alter the mass of the ball and the droids, timeout, acceleration, breaking and friction. Not on this version.

Very little information is given about keys and options. Vector Ball is a clever and original concept, completely ruined by bad programming


The graphics bear a slight resemblance to those in Highway Encounter, but all similarity stops there. The worst part of Vector Ball is the instructions, which are complete nonsense.

It took me about four games before I realised I could play the computer, which is very good at gaining a four or five goal lead and then preventing you getting the ball.