Atari User


Author: Neil Fawcett
Publisher: Zeppelin Games
Machine: Atari 400/800/600XL/800XL/130XE

Published in Atari User #37


After taking a look at the pre-release version of Zybex in the March 1988 issue of Atari User I was delighted when the finished version arrived. Believe me, it was well worth the wait.

The game revolves around the fate of two rebels, Rinser and Cassalana. You control them in their bid to escape death row and execution - and before you think or say anything, not the one in Alcatraz.

To do this, you have to undertake an almost suicidal mission to the Czoken System. Once there you have to visit sixteen strange worlds and do battle with wave after wave of alien hordes.


If you survive you will be awarded a teleport crystal which allows you access to other planets in the system.

Eventually you will reach the restricted levels and the ultimate challenge - the Zybex itself. As well as needing the crystals for access to the other planets you are also governed by how many tokens you have collected.

After completing the initial level it is possible to advance up to level 12 in any order you want without a token, but after that you will need three tokens to get to the restricted areas. These are awarded after the completion of a level.


If you survive and retrieve the Zybex, the death rings - placed around your necks by your captors - will be removed.

To help you on the mission you have been given the Orbit weapon with its lowest power level.

As the mission progresses you can increase the destructive force of the Orbit by picking up debris of the same shape that appears on screen after you have blasted an alien wave.


Many different instruments of destruction can be collected including the Rail Gun, the 8-Way, the Wall and the Pulse. Extra lives are awarded in the same way - simply fly over the spare man when he appears.

The game has an original shooting system. You have built-in auto-fire which allows you to select any of the weapons you have collected by pressing fire to step through them.

In later stages you can have them all going at once - it was a real pleasure watching aliens explode all over the screen under a hail of laser fire.

Your weapons are displayed in two status screens that sandwich the main playfield - one for each player.

Another status line near the bottom of the screen shows lives remaining, score and which weapon you are using.

You can have both players on screen at the same time, and luckily you can't shoot each other.

The play area uses a number of graphics modes with a carefully thought out use of colour and superb scrolling. The alien landscapes for the different planets have been beautifully designed.

Similar games are often criticised about the design and animation of the hero and aliens, but Zybex doesn't suffer from any of these faults.

The animation and design of your player is excellent. His arm jerks back as he fires his weapons and he swings and tucks his legs as he thrusts upwards or accelerates.

Every alien wave that attacks you is animated in its own way: Some rotate and others pulse as they zoom across the screen.

The game caters for everything you would ever want. The high score table has a dual entry mode - two players with two joysticks can enter their names at the same time.

All game options are controlled using the joystick - all you need to do is simply highlight the icon you want on the main title screen and away you do.

One of my favourite features is the music. Several pieces are used throughout, but the main tune is so catchy I found myself whistling it all day.

A fine finishing touch to a wonderful shoot-'em-up.

Neil Fawcett

Other Atari 400/800/600XL/800XL/130XE Game Reviews By Neil Fawcett

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  • Survivors Front Cover
  • Airwolf Front Cover
  • Decathlon Front Cover
  • Four Great Games: Volume 3 Front Cover
    Four Great Games: Volume 3
  • Archon Front Cover
  • 4 Star Compilation Volume 2 Front Cover
    4 Star Compilation Volume 2
  • Boulder Dash II Front Cover
    Boulder Dash II
  • Computer Ambush Front Cover
    Computer Ambush
  • Rampage Front Cover