I find it always very exciting to dig into the history of old systems and games and from time to sometimes you find some gems that time seem to have forgotten about. In the case of Dark Tower for the Vectrex this obviously not the case, but it is a game worth trying and enjoying. Sadly it never got a commercial release and died in the wake of the big console crash of 1983/84. One of the lucky benefit of the internet is that the whole world is online and so Dark Tower was found, ROM was dumped and preserved for the ages to come. But as with every good Vectrex game Dark Tower would have had an overlay, manual and a box.
Over at Atariage, two guys announced a release and showed a dummy, but it did not go further than that. So, I sat down and did my own overlay based on images i found on the net. The result turned out quite nice.
Producing it with my given means was another story and it turned out ooooookay, but far from being perfect. I ended up printing all elements and let the plotter cutout all the dark blue areas. Our machines are good but they are not that precise to handle these fine stuff, so most of the white lines got cut a few millimeters off. This would need a printshop that can print white on vinyl and that would probably coast too much if only one of these is produced. I choose to carry on and finish as much of the five tries I printed out.
Very tedious fiddly work, as you can see. This is one of the tiny stars…
Next step was to transfer the cutout onto the transparent background, which was easier than anticipated.
As you can see here, the left printout is sacrificed in order to replace elemtnts that got lost during the process, so four tries left for the lamination process. Here’s one complete overlay ready to hit the oven.
Laminating this sandwich together sort of worked although there were air bubbles and the whole thing came out a bit wavy.
Adding water was another idea and this turned out to improve things a lot.
I ended up with four overlays that look okay at first glance. The offset of the cutter is the most annoying thing (e.g. cloud at the top does is cut off at the top and has too much white at the bottom). Re-thinking about the purpose of this overlay – to color the vectors on screen and setting a nice atmosphere for the game, I think they will look just fine.
Simon will burn an Eprom for me and put it in a cart, so Reproducing the label will be the next task… but before that: Let’s play it!
Usually I put all my reworked vectorfiles online, but lately these seem to be used a lot by people that make money out of it, without giving a credit or even a damn about the hard work involved in these type of projects – sad but true.
Meanwhile you can read about the game in detail: