Coo! Xenon. This of course is a game about that spanky Richard Branson nightclub in London's glitzy West End, where we had the YS Xmas party. (No it's not idiot. It's Xenon the Melbourne House game, and unlike Xenon the Xmas party, it's a goodie! Now get on with it! Ed)
Okay then Xenons a storming shoot-'em-up, which involves you moving up a vertically rolling scrolling hi-tech landscape, blasting ground defences and aliens until you meet up with the inevitable Big Meanie. But Xenon's not your normal run of the mill shoot-'em-up. Oh no missis, 'cos you can change your vehicle mode from jet fighter to armoured tank thing, the former being the safest and most manoeuverable means of transport, but the latter being the necessary mode for destroying batches of wibbly aliens. Also you get the special treat of taking on TWO big meanies per level! and they are well hard! (Ooer!) This is a dangerous chore, so why do it? I hear you cry. Well if you wipe out a whole caboodle of fat ladybird lookalikes for example, an icon appears, and if you don't, then, er, it doesn't. One icon boosts your energy, others alter your firepower. You can also get a brillo bubble, instead of an icon, on some screens, which will follow you about and fire simultaneously.
Xenon is a bit spooky in some ways, in that I actually got the impression that it became easier the further I got! I mean it s a lot easier to survive if your flying machine has super spanky fire power and the aforementioned brillo bubble, which you can put into use against the meanie! So persevere on the first levels... they are possible to get through even when you're in that crap tank thingy! Oh!... and while I'm having a moan, it is a little annoying that when you've finished the level, you take on the meanie with depleted energy, and if you get killed you have to go all the way back to the start! Ho-hum!
Still this having been said, Xenon is a reet gradely (as they say up North) space shoot-'em-up and a well tasty conversion that's worth the eight squidlies that those nice people at Melbourne House want you to shell out for it. It's addictive and pitched at a nice level of difficulty to keep you struggling. It boasts smooth graphics and nice sound especially on the 128K format It's a shame about the single colour screens, but with all the other excitement crammed into this little number, it's forgivable.
If this type of game is your space thermos of Rosie Lee then strap yourself to your Spectrum don your crash helmet, and prepare to blast your way through the alien hordes!!
A very good conversion which, as space shoot-'em-ups go, is a bit of a rip snorter! A mite tricky, but well playable and addictive to boot!