This is simply the best shoot-'em-up to hit the C64 since Uridium. It looks good, plays well, it's awesomely addictive and it will warm the hearts of zap fans everywhere.
If ever there was a game that demanded a joystick with an autofire facility Sanxion is it.
No nonsense blasting with some excellent frills. Great graphics from the man who designed and programmed the whole thing - Stavros Fasoulas. Great music by the maestro himself Rob Hubbard and great spot effects from David Whittaker.
The game also has a novel two way split screen effect. The top area of the screen shows a plan/view while the main screen area shows the horizontally scrolling bit where most of the action takes place.
The top screen is really like a glorified radar screen - when playing you won't find yourself looking at it much, except maybe to watch out for things coming up behind you.
The alien attackers come in all sorts of shapes ad forms form normal-looking spacecraft to abstract shapes. Some fire scatter bombs some just fly on regardless. Some bounce up and down. These are the most awkward. They can trap you in corners unless you blast them before they get too near. Attackers fly in squadrons or solo.
As you fly the landscape changes from a futuristic cityscape to desert, to seas and then to forests - all very pretty. There are ten different levels or sectors to attempt. You get an extra life for every 10,000 points and there's a bonus game to play between each successfully completed level.
This takes place against an eye-numbing scrolling background. Droid targets zap across the screen and you have to quickly spot what letter is written on them. S spells shoot, C means collide, and P means pick up. Personally I just shot the little *?!*'s! You get a nice bonus after all this is over and then it's back to the battle once more.
Another thing to keep an eye on is the timer which ticks away on the right hand side of the screen. If you complete a level before this reaches zero - no mean trick - there's another bonus to be had.
There's a nicely presented hi-score chart and a two player option.
Sounds are spot on - from the title tune, to the neat droning engine sound of your fighter.
The game is packaged nicely and comes with one of those seemingly interminable sci-fi scenarios. Does anyone read these things? And are the people who write them frustrated authors? Answers on a postcard please...
So when you're off on the school bus and there's lots of hollow eyed people looking like they need a good night's sleep you'll know they've been playing Sanxion - not doing anything else...
C&VG has no hesitation in recommending Sanxion to zappers everywhere. It's fast and it's fun. Don't miss it.