28th December '15 - Sinclair ZX Spectrum Vega.

Yes, the ZX Spectrum Vega does have 128K games on it too and uses the sound enhancements that 128K Spectrums possess. That may appear to be an odd comment to begin a review with but I know it's something that a lot of people will want to know that hasn't been answered by other reviewers. If you play Xenon, Vixen, Auf Wiedersehen Monty, and many of the other games they will play as though you were playing on a 128K Spectrum with quality sound. Army Moves is also the 128K version of the game and I'm sure there are lots of others too.

When I first received my Sinclair ZX Spectrum Vega the first thing I noticed was the retro feel of the packaging itself. It resembles a box of an original Sinclair Spectrum that came out way back in 1982, albeit with a cardboard inner box rather than the original polystyrene. The Spectrum Vega has similar design features to an original Spectrum too, with the coloured lines on the bottom right hand corner and the rubber feel keys. (I suppose they are called buttons rather than keys because it's more of a joypad than a computer in the way it's used.)

It has two very long leads coming out of the back. One is a composite lead to plug into the television and the other is a USB lead for power. Ironically my modern Smart TV has multiple USB sockets but no composite connector so I had to use a scart lead adaptor which by luck I already owned.

There's a huge list of 1000 games on the menu. In many ways I feel spoilt for choice but I do have my favourites. The Duct is a brilliant game that has you drive a car within a pipe. Another of my faves is Vixen that appears far more difficult than I remembered. Some classics such as Jetpac and Sabrewulf are on it too but there are lots of amazing games that aren't. Game Over 2 is on there but not the first Game Over which seems a little odd.

One thing that surprised me is a game called Japanese Monster Castle 3. It's copyright message reads 2009. I wouldn't be surprised if there are other recent games on it too and maybe there'll be games specifically created for the Spectrum Vega in future. There is no built in BASIC editor, so if you do want to make a game you will still need a full size Spectrum or an emulator.

While the game controls have been mapped to the Vega buttons there will still be a main menu within the game with options such as Kempston Joystick, Sinclair Joystick, Redefine Keys, etc. These menus are to be ignored. Just press Select or Fire to begin the game. Some games will even have a Stop The Tape message at the beginning. I've also noticed some games will display their loading screen art while others don't.

There's the option to snapshot a game to a memory card saving your position to continue playing it later. I haven't been able to test this feature yet because it uses the tiny small SD cards that I don't have. You can also download new games, via a computer, to save onto the card then play them on the Vega.

Sometimes a game may ask for keyboard input. There is a virtual keyboard via the menu button, which is okay for a couple of key-presses, but it's not really suitable for adventure games. There's an amazing adventure game called Feline Fancy but I don't think I'll ever fully complete it before getting fed up with the controls.

As a summary I'd say it's definitely worth owning a Spectrum Vega as the vast content of games will have you playing for months if not years. Also the option of downloading new games is a big plus. My only quibble is the way the console connects to the television, USB and composite connection is a little odd. It is a little expensive too but as with all new technology it'll likely come down in price.


The funny design causes a sense of nostalgia.

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