Sidewize had you hafting the invasion of nasty Darland Mutants in a shimmering shower of laser fire. Since then the galaxy has been pretty quiet - not a mutant uprising or intergalactic scuffle in sight. You're getting on with whatever mercenaries do in their spare time when suddenly the interstellar communilink bursts into life: the planet Luna is under attack from unidentified alien forces. You immediately rush to the shuttle dock, board your craft and enter the fray.
One or two alternating players may participate in the combat which takes place against a horizontally scrolling skyline of buildings, factories and Prawn hives. Alien formations attack from all directions, chimneys belch missiles and enemy bullets fly through the air. Collision with buildings is fatal and results in the loss of one of three lives.
Basic laser fire can be temporarily enhanced by moving over uniform weaponry installation icons which represent four different types of improvements of: bullet-fire, surround-fire, shield and smart bomb. Each weapon comes in two forms, weak and strong, and since all icons display the same symbol you can never be sure of picking an improvement. A colour-coded status display at the base of the screen lights up to show the type of weapon currently in use as well as its diminishing strength.
As the battle rages on, your character's energy decreases and he begins to slow down. Picking up energy pods restores strength, and a colour-coded energy meter indicates current status of health.
Play is divided into three multiloaded levels, each of which culminates in a confrontation with the huge tentacles of a mother alien. Dodge her moving arms, blast them to pieces and the Crosswize mission is one step nearer success.
'Crosswize is a tremendous improvement over its predecessor, Sidewize. The graphics are very detailed and, unlike Sidewize, contain some attractive and colourful scenery. But, one major fault is that you can't turn and fire at the same time. Although this may sound petty, in certain situations it makes the game very annoying and almost unplayable. It's a pity to see the programmers making the game so hard - I fear that most people won't even get the chance to load the extra levels supplied on the tape, thus missing out on some great graphics and challenges. This isn't a game you can sail through: it requires great thought and a good memory. However, hardened arcade addicts will find all that they've been looking for. Worth the asking price.'
'Play Crosswize and become cross-eyed! There's just so much going on that you can't keep track of everything! All you can do is cross your fingers and blast away. It's very similar to its predecessor Sidewize, but the scrolling scenery is much more interesting containing little green houses with chimney pots that fire bombs at you! This method of collecting more fire power is the same, but the chance of collecting the wrong icon adds spice to the process. As with Sidewize, Crosswize is basically just a difficult shoot 'em up with little else to it. I found the couple of lives you are given hardly enough to get anywhere, and this proves frustrating when you die and have to start afresh. However, there's plenty of playability packed into Crosswize and if you like mindless massacres then this is for you.'
'Graphically Crosswize is a definite improvement over its predecessor, Sidewize (50%, Issue 44). Aliens, buildings, bullets and hero are clearly defined against a detailed and fairly colourful background. The control method however, takes some getting used to. Years of space peace have obviously taken their toll; your man is far less agile than he needs to be and frantic wiggling of the joystick meets with a slow, lethargic response. Turning is especially difficult; you can't change direction and fire at the same time. The size of the playing area doesn't help: hero and aliens are crowded on to a skyline already cramped by hazardous aerials and chimney pots. All too soon your space career comes to an untimely end in an undignified spray of pixels and some unimpressive sound effects. With a little perseverance your sprite becomes more manageable and against all odds play can get quite addictive. If you're looking for a tougher-than-average shoot 'em up this might just be the one!