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Overview - Vectrex
In Cosmic Chasm the player assumes the role of a ship armed with a bomb, tasked with destroying the Cosmic Chasm space station. The game is divided into a series of individual rooms that are connected by a series of corridors. Inside each room, the player must contend with a set of diamond shaped enemies and a rapidly expanding central core. The player is also given the choice in each room which exit to take in order to pick the best possible route to the station's central core. Once the core has been reached, the player must deposit the bomb at the center, and then trace their steps back through the rooms to the exit before the bomb detonates.
Gameplay - Vectrex
The player's ship is armed with a set of lasers; a front mounted drill; a single bomb; and a limited use shield. The lasers are used (of course) to destroy the enemies that populate each of the rooms in the level map. In cases where the enemies swarm the player too quickly, the shield can be used to deflect them for a limited amount of time. The drill is used to open the various exits in each of the rooms by carefully placing the front mounted drill over-top of the forcefield and firing. The bomb is only used in the central room on the map, and is deposited at the core which triggers the end-level scenario.
The rooms in Cosmic Chasm are all very similar in their design. They all contain a certain number of enemies that home in on the player's position and try to collide. They also all contain a central core that quickly expands to fill the room. The state of the rooms is saved once the player exits, so care must be taken in order to ensure that a safe pathway is being left to escape through. The main difference between rooms are the number of exits, which correspond to the map screen.
The map was fairly simple in its design, and changed each time a new mission was loaded. Sometimes the player is blessed with only having to traverse a few rooms in order to reach the core, while at other times the route is much more complicated. Once the bomb is placed in the center room, the player only has about 15 seconds to exit the station before it explodes; speed is essential in this game.
The graphics in Cosmic Chasm are fairly straightforward in their design, but perfectly effective for the platform at the time. As the Vectrex only contained a grey monochrome screen as a default, each of the games usually came with a plastic colour overlay that would slide into some slots at the top and base of the screen to hold it in place. This allowed the player data (score/zone) to be differentiated by the colour blue from the main game area which is red. The base of the overlay also showed a representation of the controls as they laid out on the Vectrex controller and its four buttons.
The enemy and ship design is also very simple. The enemies are solely made up of small diamond shaped objects that a randomly spread across each room. The enemies attack by attempting to collide with the player. As soon as your ship enters the arena, the enemies immediately begin to home in on the player position. The speed at which this happens increases with the difficulty level.