One of the great classics of Mac gaming, Spectre brings me back to a simpler time in the 1990s, when my brother was the computer patriarch of the house and resident super-geek (I mean that in a good way).
The manual describes the "backstory", which is pretty much irrelevant to game enjoyment, but it's supposed to be some sort TRON-like cybergame. The premise is to manuever around the grid (it has bounds), don't hit the blockades (displayed as 2D shapes in a 3D space), collect the flags, and avoid the red polygonal tanks which zoom around and try to kill you. Soon enough you'll come across yellow tanks, which take more hits to kill.
They're actually an interesting looking polygon (kind of resembling Zelda's bombchus), but because of their speed, you'll end up just facing a triangle-looking thing. By no means the graphics will impress anyone today but it was incredible when it came out as it was fast, smooth, and fun.
It was a big success on the Mac, spawning a few lesser-known sequels, but it also managed to get a SNES port.
This has a number of problems. For one, it was made without enhancement chips. This was made after the Super FX chip was out, so not only does everything look really awful, it's also very slow. Get used to hearing "TANK DESTROYED" over and over again. Of course the SNES version is very playable, but you have to re-learn almost everything. If you have to restructure your whole strategy, then your port is trash. Which this is.
It's unfortunately not easy to play these days otherwise, playing it on SheepShaver at least (it may work on Mini vMac as well) had an annoying tendency to screw with the dead-zone direction, so soon enough I was drifting in one way or another. This never happened when playing on a real classic Mac.
|The SNES version.|
In working on this post, I was surprised to see Spectre on the Mac App Store, but it's not that kind of Spectre, though a new-style iOS port was done.
Getting Spectre isn't difficult, as the Mac Garden has Spectre and a few of its sequels. Getting a Mac emulator set up? More difficult. If you already have an emulator, it works great, except for that whole drifting bug.