Once again the Bitmap brothers came up trumps with a slice of classic arcade action with Xenon in 1988.
The Xenon series ended up being regarded as classic games on the Commodore Amiga and the first game in the series was extremely playable and also featured some excellent music courtesy of musical genious David Whittaker.
Like any good arcade style shoot em up there was a back story to explain why you were pitched in battle against a bunch of bad guys...
From the moment that Captain Xod's face appeared on the vid-com, you just knew he was in a spot of bother. As the only other ship in the sector it was up to you to go to his aid. Cue Sector One!
So - you had to fight your way through the many game zones whilst collecting essential supplies for the fleet. At the end of each sector you have a chance to refuel and reload ammunition - but only after you have defeated the end of level 'boss'.
So there you have it - a classic arcade game back story . In the game you had to negotiate four sectors, each of which were divided into four game zones. A nice voice-over (by a bloke wearing shades) announced each sector as you progressed through the game.
In a nice twist had a choice of two craft which could be changed at will depending on the environment. You were in control of a ground craft which was capable of eight-way movement as well as a faster jet-fighter.
It was up to you to select the appropriate craft to negotiate the current obstacles and you also had to be prepared to switch between them rapidly. Certain types of your opponents were ground based and some were airborne - meaning that only the right craft could destroy certain enemies you faced.
In true arcade gaming tradition there were powerups aplenty. Certain weapons could only be collected and used by the fightercraft and vice-versa. Shooting the aliens and their weapon emplacements revealed power cells which could be collected to give you some much needed extras.
The powerups available to the player were:
- A ARMOUR - Granted total invincibity for 15 seconds
- F FUEL - There were two types of fuel cell. Those with one orange band restored five fuel units; those with three gave you a full tank
- H HOMING - Gave homing missiles for 15 seconds
- L LASER - Armed your fighter with lasers
- G GUN - Canceled the lasers (boo!) and reverted to normal bullets
- P POWER - Increased the range of your shots
- R RATE - Sped up your ground craft
- S SIDE - Armed fighter with side firing lasers
- W WINGS - A can of red bull. Only joking, gave you wing-tip weapons
- Z ZAP - No, not a copy of the magzine. Two types of zap pills. A single orange band zapped all aliens on the screen; a triple band zapped aliens and emplacements
- Balls - Up to three rotating balls that followed you and replicated your fire pattern. What a total balls up
To be honest this game was quite tough and one for the seasoned arcade gamer, although with practice and learning you could find a 'knack' to taking on the various waves of the enemy.
Each time you were hit you lost at least a unit of fuel which was used to recharge your shields. If you collided with any of the aliens you suffered substantial damage and consequently used up more fuel.
If your fuel ran out you lost a life and had to restart from the beginning of the current game zone. Some aliens required more than one hit to destroy and some were indestructable - all of the traditional arcade gaming elements were here.
In keeping with this gaming tradition you would face off against a single large opponent roughly half way through the current level. This was a 'Sentinel', a supposed fully sentient enemy. As usual you had to find out the vulnerable points and concentrate your fire upon it - it was the only way to destroy these big bad boys.
Colliding with a 'Sentinel' was instantly fatal, and if that wasn't bad enough at the end of each section you had to take on another larger and more dangerous 'Sentinel' than the one you faced at the halfway point!
If you succeeded in defeating the end of level boss you were refuelled and re-equipped for the next game zone, but you lost any weapons you had collected in the previous section. Harsh!
We recommend getting hold of the real Amiga hardware - but if not then download an Amiga emulator and download Xenon. Alternatively you could try and play it online.
Please see our other Amiga retro game reviews - all links are listed in alphabetical order. Cheers guys
GENRE: Arcade Game
RELEASE DATE: 1988
RELEASED BY: Melbourne House
DEVELOPER(S): Steve Kelly, Mike Montgomery, David Whittaker
PRICE: £19.99 - UK
Classic Arcade Action:
Classic Games, Arcade Games and Amiga Games