Marine Fox is the first game from programmer Mountain Goat released in August of 2015. It was inspired by the arcade and Atari 2600 classic Solar Fox.
You are captain Ariel Fox in command of the submarine "Medusa". Ariel is actually featured in the game on the Level announcement screen.
Your job is to gather all crystals from the sea floor but there is a catch...
The Sentinels have sent sharks to stop you.
The goal is to avoid being eaten while gathering all triangular crystals and advance through the levels. If there is any time remaining at the completion of a level (marked by a bar at the bottom of the screen), the player will receive a bonus of how much time is remaining. The player starts with five Medusas, which they will lose one whenever they come into contact with a shark. Once the player is out of Medusas the game will end.
Due to creator Mountain Goat asking for suggestions for improvements on Marine Fox on the Vector gaming forums, he took several ideas into consideration, which resulted in him tweaking the game and releasing the following.
This version played identical to the first, although a pause function was added.
This version had the most amount of changes to it, such as reassigning the pause function, as the ability to steer the Medusa using the Vectrex controller’s buttons was also added. The shape of the crystals along with the tempo of the game were also changed, making it easier. An additional fox insignia was added at the bottom of the game over screen. There was also a shark reset bug that was fixed, which originally caused a shark to “start down (or up) a lane normally, and after a short while it would jump back to its starting position on the top (or at the bottom)”, along with five power-ups being added that can appear during the later levels to help the player out if captured in time before they disappeared (being ones that sped up the Medusa 1.5 times its original speed for several seconds, a shield to make the Medusa temporarily invincible to shark collisions, an entire row of crystals would clear out, the ability to slow down the sharks for several seconds and the end of level bonus can be refilled to the max rounded out the power-ups).
The intensity of the crystals’ appearance was slightly changed, as well as the initial graphics bug that plagued the first three versions was corrected (see later Trivia section).
Differences from the original Solar FoxEdit
Other than the sub-surface scene as opposed to space, there are a few differences in game mechanics between the original Solar Fox and Marine Fox.
- The movement of the submarine is free form, not confined to a grid pattern. This is more in style for the Vectrex.
- There are no direct Sentinels, just animated sharks swimming up and down the vertical lanes.
- While the size of the grid is 8x8, the levels have changed from the original "racks".
- There is no bonus level with no enemies.
- The bonus time period lasts longer in Marine Fox than in the original.
- There are 16 levels in Marine Fox compared to the 26 in Solar Fox.
- In Marine Fox the levels get progressively harder by having significantly faster sharks and in later levels also more sharks.
- Start game–button1 (After initial first game; see Trivia)
- Move Medusa–joystick or D-pad
The controls are the same as with the original version of the game with the following addition:
- Pause game–button 1
Versions 1.2 and 1.3Edit
The controls are the same as with the original version with the following additions:
- Steer Medusa–buttons 1 and 2 (along with left/right joystick/D-pad control)
- Pause–button 4
- As of 2015, Marine Fox is one of the few games out of the entire Vectrex lineup (Pole Position being another) where it had no options screen and the game will automatically start after several seconds after its initial power-up. All subsequent games after the first one have to be started by pressing button 1 on the controller, however.
- After asking for suggestions for his game on the Vector gaming forums, Mountain Goat had just implemented a pause button suggestion for the 1.01 version of Marine Fox and had originally stated he would not make any more modifications to the game for a while. However, upon being able to dedicate some time to it a few days later, he was able to add/change a lot of additional elements and release the changes as version 1.2, thereby replacing version 1.01 very quickly.
- The first three versions of the game had a display problem when the very first game upon powering up the Vectrex started, as with the first several seconds of game play, the game screen’s graphics were severely jumbled. This was finally fixed with version 1.3.
- All versions of the game’s downloaded content included a flyer with brief instructions.