Lost In Translation/Vanguard

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This page is a stub for arcade games that are part of the Lost In Translation series using information based on MAME (version 0.113u2).
For an example of preferred content and layout please refer to Out Run or The Ninja Warriors.

Vanguard marquee.
No screen shot.
Vanguard control panel.
Manufacturer SNK
Released 1981
8-way Joystick
4 Button(s)
Main CPU M6502 (@ 930.000 kHz)
Sound CPU Mono
(2x) SN76477
Raster (Vertical)
256 x 224 pixels
61.25 Hz
64 Palette colours
Screens 1
ROM Info 17 ROMs
47,168 bytes (46.06 KiB)
MAME ID vanguard · vangrdce · vanguarj

About The Game

Vanguard is a multi-scrolling arcade video game shoot-em-up.

Shoot down enemies with your laser. Keep a close eye on your ever decreasing fuel gauge, luckily each enemy that you destroy will add to your remaining fuel. Find the energy pods to be temporarily invulnerable), the energy pods will also increase your fuel level. At the end of each level you must defeat a boss that is guarded by two moving force fields with holes in them. The computer will then announce the name of the next zone using some nifty early 80's synthesized speech. The different levels include Mountain Zone, Rainbow Zone, Styx Zone, Rainbow Zone 2, Stripe Zone, Rainbow Zone 3, Bleak Zone, and the City of Mystery.

Additional Technical Information

Players : 2

Control : 8-way joystick

Buttons : 4

= > [1] Fire Left, [2] Fire Right, [3] Fire Down, [4] Fire Up


Released in July 1981.

Licensed to Centuri for US manufacture and distribution (October 1981). This game put SNK on the map in the US.

Vanguard is the first colour game from SNK and it was one of the first shoot-em-ups with a 8-way directional fire.

The starting music is inspired by 'Star Trek' soundtrack (release date is 1979).

The music when you get the power-up is inspired by 'Flash Gordon' soundtrack.

A Vanguard unit appears in the 1982 film 'Jekyll & Hyde... Together Again'.


Target Points
Mist - Bouncing starship 70
Harley - Fighter 50
Helm - White UFO 80
Amno - Pink UFO 100
Base I, II, III - Buildings 100 - 400
Garine - Bouncing aliens 100 - 400
Barrier - Energy barrier 800
Kemlus - "C" shaped worms 100 - 400
Romeda - Arrow shaped ships 100
Gond - Boss at end of round 1,000 - 8,000

Tips and tricks

When you start the game, your fighter, will be at the left side of the screen. Keep in mind, this is a scrolling game. This means you can go no faster then the right side and no slower then the left side. You can, however, vary your speed in-between by pushing the joystick back and forth. The biggest key in getting through this game is learning how to use the joystick to speed up and slow down because you will sometimes be put into some very tight areas that will require precision joystick control. Here are some strategies for getting through them. There is no break between the areas, but you can pretty much tell what area you are in by the landscape and/or the enemies.

Cave Zone

This zone is pretty straightforward. The cave is wide enough for you to manoeuvre out of harms way: -

  1. There should be no reason that you can't go through both areas energized. The energy stations are abundant in the cave zone.
  2. The Harley's like to group up in packs of five or six. They will fire on you and an occasional Harley will break from the pack to try to ram your fighter. They usually stay on one level and don't move around a lot. Very easy to evade.
  3. The Mist's are a different matter. They move around all over the area and they are rather difficult to hit. You will have to use your lasers from different sides very effectively.

Rainbow Zone

In these zones you will be going diagonal up or diagonal down. The first part only has three aliens while the second part of the zone has six aliens moving up and down: -

  1. On the diagonal up parts, get your fighter in between the second and third aliens during the first part. Reverse this on the diagonal down parts.
  2. On the second part, you will have to get in between the fourth and fifth aliens. You may have to use your top laser to clear out the alien above since the top three alternate with the bottom three. Reverse this on the diagonal down parts.

Stick Zone

There are no energy stations in this zone so you will have to do some quick manoeuvring and firing in all directions. This area also narrow significantly. Use the same tactics from the Cave Zone.

Striped Zone

You only have to deal with ground targets in this zone. This, though, is the problem since those targets are clustered very close together: -

  1. You should be able to go through this area energized since energy stations are abundant in the lower parts of this zone.
  2. If you aren't energized, make sure you decided quickly to go high or low. If you go high, you deal with bases and Garines (bouncing aliens). This can be rough if you mistime it. The bottom has more targets but you must destroy the barrier. You do this by destroying the upper or lower stand that fires it up.
  3. This zone lasts a while but the pattern remains the same.

Bleak Zone

You will be going up instead of sideways. The scrolling now is you can't go faster then the top of the screen or slower then the bottom of the screen: -

  1. Enemies on this screen are actually pretty easy to get through. Just stay in the middle and keep firing. The Romeda may give you trouble since they like to fire left diagonal shots.
  2. If you go into the debris left from the Kemlus, a backward 'C' will surround your fighter and you will get 1090 points. You can do this three times. After the third time, if you try this, your fighter will be destroyed.

Docking Zone

This is for all the marbles. There are many hazards to avoid as you try to take out Gond: -

  1. First, as you enter there are lasers to your left and right. You must quickly get into the second part. Gond is protected by two layers that have openings. These openings line up for only brief moments. Try to take shots through this opening.
  2. After a short amount of time, walls will close behind your fighter. You only have a limited amount of time because there are five walls and if they close before you take out Gond, you lose your fighter.
  3. The only good thing is if you fail to take out Gond, you advance to the next round. Of course, you don't get the bonus for Gond.
  4. After you make it through each set of cave one and cave two, the action gets faster.


  1. Vanguard (1981)
  2. Vanguard II (1984)

Cabinet and Artwork


Atari 2600 (1982)
Atari 5200 (1983)
Atari 800

The contents of this page are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.
The sources used include MAME (version 0.113u2) and history.dat (revision 1.28 - 2008-10-18).
Please see http://www.arcade-history.com for credits.