Just got my Vectrex 3D Imager reproduction from Madtronix and figured I'd post some thoughts.
First of all, GET THIS THING .... secondly, wow I didn't realize what I was missing .... thirdly GET THIS THING!
Okay, I have been interested in getting a 3D imager for a while. But the value of them combined with the idea of getting the 3D-enabled games always seemed beyond my grasp. Then, this past summer, I picked up the Sean Kelly Multicart v2 which comes with 3D Minestorm, 3D Crazy Coaster, 3D Narrow Escape and even 3D Pole Position [fake] on it (more on Pole Position in a bit). So suddenly the idea seemed a lot more interesting.
Now that Madtronix is making reproductions along with lightpens and some of the old Vectorzoa games (as detailed by Vectex Roli) I decided to buy one.
John from Madtronix was super fast to reply to any questions I had and kept me appraised of the delivery every step of the way. Today my unit arrived and right away, I goofed.
In noodling around with the parts, I figured that the color wheels must just sit on the CD spindle but hey, what's this metal ring that says "Top" on it for? Maybe that goes over the spindle afterward? Like this? Yup it sure does, only since there's no color wheel, now that metal ring is stuck. And only then do I read "never use without a color wheel" written on the edge of the Imager.
So I emailed John hoping he was still up in Sweden and tried jimmying it with a screw driver. No dice. Fortunately John was still awake and emailed me back right away. Just use a razor blade (carefully) to life the ring back up. WHEW! Crisis averted and I made darn sure I only put that ring on after I have placed a color wheel in the unit.
Okay, so how does it look? Excellent I have to say. Due to my huge schnozz I am finding my nose is brushing against the color wheel a bit but some tweaks of the quite adjustable headstraps should fix that. I am also really surprised how small and quiet this is. I was expecting something more Oculus Rift-sized but no, the repro-Imager is much more compact. And you only hear a slight whispering of the motor when it runs, gameplay is just as audible as without the Imager.turned on.
And the games?
I wasn't sure how Minestorm could be 3D-ified and basically it's like playing in an aquarium. The enemies float around mainly in the background but when they float to your "plane" you can shoot them. Pretty fun though.
Crazy Coaster is a lot like Mad Panic Coaster for the PS1. You're looking ahead as the tracks shift left and right, sometimes there are tunnels so you want to keep your hands in for those portions, sometimes you want to raise your hands for ... extra points?
Narrow Escape is so far my favorite. The shooting sections use the 3D really well, though it's hard to tell how big your ship is so crashing into the side walls is a little easy to do. Then you must fly though openings in a wall and this part absolutely requires the Imager to succeed in. Could not be played without one (as Steve Benway once proved).
I'm about to load up the Lord of the Robots as well as check Fury's demo of Star Fury 3D from his Vector21 ROM, I'll fill in that info once I have it. And I'm hoping Fury makes more 3D Sector X carts soon.
Oh, and 3D Pole Position [fake] is exactly as described, it's not really 3D Pole Position. It's just Pole Position. Even with the 3D Imager plugged in, it does not engage when playing that ROM so there is nothing 3D about it at all. Too bad, that's the kind of game that would benefit.
Anyway, I was supposed to make this brief for my first impressions but I ended up writing quite a review here so I better stop now.
Anyone with any questions, let me know. But suffice it to say I am impressed and you should totally GET THIS THING!