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Cosmic Chasm was an old vector arcade game released by Cinematronics way back in 1983. This title was first available on the Vectrex home vector console, and was only available in the arcades later. That is quite a reverse from the norm, usually games hit the arcades a year or two before they make it to the consoles.

In this title you play a brave space pilot who has to infiltrate a space fortress and blow up the power core. This is kind of like a cross between Star Castle and Descent. You fly a spaceship, but everything takes place indoors, which is what led me to make the Descent connection.

The game

Strap on your vector spacesuit, and hop into your vector spaceship. It is a good old ship, and it has seen a lot of action. From navigating the asteroid belt and blasting aliens around the sun, to attacking evil space cannons, your little vector ship has done it all, and this time it has been upgraded with twin blasters. You see the ship in Cosmic Chasm seems to be the same spaceship that is in every vector game. You control it using rotation buttons and a thruster button, with a laser and a shield button thrown in for good measure, just like almost every other vector game around.

Now here is what you have to do. You guide your ship through a space fortress room by room. Each room contains a center scetion that slowly grows and will eventually trap you if you are not fast enough. You can shoot the center section to slow its growth. Each room also contains several exits. One of the exits will always spew forth a bunch of bad guys, shoot them, then exit to go to a different room. Between rooms you get to see an excellent tunnel animation. The idea is to make your way to the center of the fortress, blast the power core, and then leave. There is a map at the top of the screen to keep you from getting lost.

This is a pretty decent game. It has a lot more to offer than the one screen of bad guys that most vector games have. It has my recommendations.

The Machine

People often mistake Cosmic Chasm machines for converted Dragon's Lair machines. That is because they shipped in almost the exact same cabinet. They both have the same side panels, overall design, and three-section marquee. But Cosmic Chasm differs in the angle of the control panel, and in the placement of the monitor.

The artwork on this machine is mostly purple. The sideart is done with two large stickers, and it shows a huge logo, and a scene of some giant girders out in space.

This title used a 68000 processor and a color X-Y monitor, which allowed for some very nice graphical effects that most early 80s hardware was simply not capable of.

Where to play

You can play this game on the Vectrex console or in the MAME emulator. Real machines are hard to find, and tend to be rather expensive and problematic. But happily enough you can legally play the emulated Vectrex version for free, see the Vectrex node for details.

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