Atari A to Z: Vanguard

This one was a new one on me until quite recently. I present to you Vanguard, an unusual shoot ’em up originally released by SNK in the arcades.

Vanguard is unusual because it’s not just being one thing, unlike a lot of shoot ’em ups at the time. Instead, it shifts between horizontal, vertical and diagonal scrolling at various points in the levels, and even has some rudimentary boss fights. It’s also quite unusual to find a game of this era with a proper “continue” system, particularly in its home incarnations.

While its visuals may not look like much these days, it’s a great shoot ’em up that is still worth revisiting today — and there’s an Atari 2600 version too, for those who prefer to console it up.

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4 thoughts on “Atari A to Z: Vanguard”

  1. The coin-op Vanguard was amazing for its time. Aside from the changes in direction and the four fire buttons, an onscreen invincibility powerup AND a secret in the next-to-last stage was pretty groundbreaking.

    The home ports were, predictably, nowhere near as good.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I remember playing this version of Vanguard a lot. Having the music cue you when your invincibility was about to wear off was a rwally nice touch. It was only recently I got to play the arcade version and it’s cool too and will get a bit of play time as well. 🙂


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