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Released: 1982, Color XY, Vertical, 1 or 2 Players
Notes: Tac/Scan is the only Sega vector game to use a vertically mounted (portrait) monitor. It came as a kit for the standard Sega Convert-a-cabinet, and the flyer also shows a cocktail version.

Tac/Scan is my personal favourite of all the Sega vector games, and has some very unusual elements to its gameplay. The game also had fantastic sound effects. The whooshing sound during the change from 2D to 3D seemed incredible, and I can remember it to this day!

Game Description

Tac/Scan is the only game that I can think of that gives the player an entire fleet of ships to control. The player's squadron of 7 ships all move and fire in unison whilst remaining in formation. The game ends when the last ship in the player's formation is destroyed. When a ship is destroyed, extra ships can be added to the formation by pressing the "Add Ship" button, or by catching a bonus fighter ship in a vacant position in the formation. Sometimes the formation will change shape between enemy attacks.

There are three stages to each round of the game. The player's squadron is controlled with an encoder wheel. This allows the ships to swerve left and right to avoid enemy ships and bullets. Exactly how the squadron behaves differs according to which of the three stages is being played.

Stage 1 : Armada Attack

Tac/Scan Stage 1 The first stage sees the player's squadron at the bottom of the screen against a vertically scrolling starfield. The ships can be rotated up to roughly 30 degrees left or right of vertical, and the stars and enemies change direction accordingly. This also allows the player to aim his shots quite precisely at the oncoming enemies, and to avoid their shots.

The player's squadron is attacked by waves of Annihilators which fire small yellow star-shaped bullets. As the stage progresses, these are joined by Stingers which fire a single laser beam, often directly at one of the player's ships.

Occasionally, one or two extra fighter ships float down the screen and can be picked up by any available empty slots in the formation.

Stage 2 : 3-D Armada Attack

At the end of the first stage the player's view changes from overhead to an eye-level perspective behind the player's squadron of ships. The change from 2-D to 3-D is accompanied by a great whistling/whooshing sound.

The gameplay is essentially the same as the first stage but now the player shoots into the screen at the incoming Stingers and Annihilators. Piloting the ships through the barrage of Annihilator bullets is far trickier than in the previous stage, as is guiding the squadron to catch any extra ships.

Although the second stage is visually very impressive (at least as stunning as Tempest), it is not in my opinion as playable as the previous 2-D stage.

Tac/Scan Stage 2

Stage 3 : Space Warp Tunnel

Tac/Scan Stage 1 The final stage sees the fleet of ships escaping through the Space Tunnel to the next galaxy.

The player must guide the fleet of ships through a tunnel of concentric rings that twist and turn. Any ships that collide with the sides of the tunnel are destroyed. In later rounds the tunnels get longer, tighter and faster.

This is arguably the most memorable section of the game, and there were a number of home computer titles that featured remarkably similar gameplay and graphics to the Space Tunnel stage!

Tac/Scan Cabinet

Board Configuration

1 - CPU board (EPROM 1711, chip 315-0076)
2 - X-Y timing board
3 - X-Y control board
4 - Sound board "Universal"
5 - EPROM board (EPROM numbers 1670 - 1688, 1709-1710)


    1 Player Start, 2 Player Start

    Encoder wheel, Fire, Add Ship


Picture Gallery

Tac/Scan Manual - Cover Tac/Scan Manual - Second Cover
Thanks to Al Kossow for the second manual cover.
Take me back to that Sega Vector Homepage

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