Commodore User

By Melbourne House
Amiga 500

Published in Commodore User #53


You'd think if a company had constructed the baddest original shoot-'em-up anyone's seen for ages, they wouldn't want to go and package it up with a load of drivel about fighters, starfleets and pseuco-acceleration. I suppose the resident naffo sci-fi freak at Melbourne House had to have their bit of waffle. Philip K Dick they ain't.

Good job I junked the instructions and dived straight into the game otherwise I might have been seriously put off what is a near arcade quality piece of blasting. Xenon is a vertically scrolling shoot-'em-up with play, much like an inverted R-Type, and it's converted from their own Arcadia machine.

You have four levels divided into four sectors. The object naturally is to make it to the end. You can play as two different types of craft, a land-based tank or a fighter aircraft. To get anywhere at all in the game you'll have to switch between the two. You'll also have to pick up the multitude of extra weapons and add-ons that shooting various gun emplacements along the route will reveal. It's one of those games which gives you a dozen different kinds of firepower when you hit the fire button. Naturally it results in some fairly serious destruction.


That's not to say you become invincible. The amount of flak from gun emplacements and alien ships is massive. Each time you get hit you use up fuel, restoring your shields. Collisions result in more drastic energy loss.

Each section also has a sentinel, which is basically one big mutha who pops up halfway through a level and another even bigger one which appears at the end. These also seem to sap all your weaponry, so you end up firing pathetic little shells at the monster. You'll have to stay well out of its way and pour masses of fire at it before it starts to glow and explodes.

Liquidating the humungous monsters takes you on to the next sector, whereupon a fuzzy, digitised figure will appear in the corner of the screen and mutter the words "Sector Two". If they were going to have speech, they should have made more of it.

The first sector is a futuristic landscape of domes and tiled squares. Section two is pure flying as you avoid the wall at the side. It's back to switching between ships for the third level which is similar to the first. Finally it's back to the aircraft to complete the last part.

Xenon is one of the best shoot-'em-ups to appear yet on the Amiga. Don't be put off by its slowness at the start because it speeds up (it's much quicker than the ST version anyway) pretty drastically and you'll find the screen is cluttered with all manner of flying objects. A class blast.

Mike Pattenden

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