The Game: Years before Robovac and Roomba, there was Clean Sweep, a vacuum cleaner patrolling the vaults of a bank and picking up stray bits of money. (Makes you wonder who programmed it, and who’s emptying the bag!) As you grab more wayward currency, your bag fills up; when you hear an alarm sound, you have to go to the center of the maze to empty your bag and start anew; until you do that, you can’t pick up any more dead presidents. But those aren’t the only alarm bells going off here: things that look alarmingly like huge forceps are chasing you around. If they grab you, it’s your money and your life. There are four corners in the vault that will power up your vacuum cleaner temporarily, enabling you to suck up those forceps and (for a brief while) grab all the cash in your path without filling your bag. Clearing the maze advances you to the next level; losing all your lives leaves the bank wide open. (GCE, 1982)
Memories: This interesting little take on Pac-Man for the Vectrex is so fun, it’s hard to put down. I’ve been somewhat merciless about Pac-clones in the past, but Clean Sweep shakes things up enough to be fun, making you go back and do things like empty your vacuum bag without really slowing the game down significantly.
Visually, it’s no masterpiece, but as I’ve said before, I’m not sure there’s really a way to hold Vectrex games up to any standard other than the arcade’s vector games, which sometimes weren’t that advanced either; in any case, the hardware is here trying to emulate something which originated in raster form, so it pulls it off with an economy of lines and dashes, and some slick animation for the game’s few characters. The Vectrex’s limited sound palette continues to make itself heard here, but again, it’s adequate for the game, with the bubbling sound of your bag emptying, or your vacuum “eating” an enemy, being effective enough.
Yet another dandy little “pick it up and play it” game on the Vectrex. Good stuff.