Amstrad Action


Xeno

Author: Bob Wade
Publisher: A 'n F
Machine: Amstrad CPC464

 
Published in Amstrad Action #15

Xeno

Hero's another one of those intriguing games that is very simple in concept but strong on that indefinable quality - addictive gameplay. The action takes place in an oval arena with a goal at either end. On the rink are just three things: a ball and two objects looking like a cross between a cream bun and a curling stone.

They are in fact the two players, one or both of which can be under your control, and they're used for smacking the ball around the rink. The basic idea is simple: you just try to put the ball in the other player's goal by knocking the ball around with your bun.

There are three screens making up the rink, the ball always being in the picture but the players often being out of sight.

Xeno

You can play against either the computer or another player. In either case there are a number of parameters that have to be set up that determine the speed and difficulty of the game. Once you've started you must learn how to control your 'stone'. You can actually move an arrow freely around the rink but after a specified time limit it returns to the starting position. If you press Fire while it's away from you. the stone flies off in that direction.

The players alternate with their ar-rows. But if you delay and don't take a shot immediately, the arrow will disappear and your opponent gets another shot. Apart from the goals the rink is enclosed by elastic sides, so that when you or the ball bounce into it you just ricochet off.

You can set the amount of time allowed for positioning the arrow and taking a shot and also the speed at which the computer plays. The match is played over four quarters; you can set the length of these, up to a maximum of nine minutes each. These settings allow you to vary the game from quite sedate action and long matches to very fast reaction play and short matches.

Xeno

The computer opponent is very tough on the faster levels because he's very accurate and never misses a shot. However, you can put him off his stroke by ramming into him or shielding the ball from him. The two-player game is also a lot of fun with intense competition.

The only drawback with the game is that despite its initial addictiveness there just isn't enough variety or features to keep you hooked. For a while it's immense fun and a challenge but the lack of variety means it's easy to tire of the action.

Second Opinion

This has lovely graphics, albeit only in shades of blue. Battling against the computer at the higher levels can be real joystick-wrenching stuff - shooting your 'doughnut' at high speed toward the puck can be very satisfying, especially if you score a goal in the process. May lack lasting appeal, but is definitely worth a look.

First Day Target Score

Xeno

Beat computer at speed 5.

Green Screen View

Crystal (ice?) clear.

Good News

P. Simple and addictive gameplay.
P. Parameters allow you to change the game to suit any speed or skill.
P. Good rink and crowd graphics.
P. Competitive two-player excitement.

Bad News

N. Not enough variety in the action.
N. Awkward not always being able to see your player.

Bob Wade

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