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Melbourne House
Arcade: Shoot-em-up
ZX Spectrum 48K/128K

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Chris Jenkins
Chris Bourne

We said it before and we'll say it again now - Xenon IS a classic shoot-'em-up, well worth its SU Classic status, and though it has now been compiled, cover-mounted and collated almost out of existence, if there's anyone left who doesn't have it, then they must have taken an overdose of penicillin 'cos it's the most contagious game in existence, and they should catch it this time around.

Great 128K music and sound effects accompany this vertically-scrolling fight-feast, as you steer a two-mode fighter over metallic landscapes. Switching from ground-attack to airborne modes using the space-bar, you shoot anything that moves as you flit freely around the smooth-scrolling screen.

There are four sectors, each divided into four zones, and each decked out with rotating gun turrets, ladybird-like ground craft, laser emplacements, and, at the end of each level, an enormous sentinel. These are not your everyday Mothercare bouncers - they're terrifically hard to kill, and you won't have the help of your special weapons such as wing-shooters, side-shooters, armour, lasers, homing missiles and revolving balls, which you collect along the way by picking up icons.

Bar displays show your fuel level, speed and energy status, but despite the claims that this is the 'thinking man shoot-'em-up', you can turn your brain off and just use your reflex shooting skills. Reach out with your feelings and blast em to bits.

Label: Mastertronic Plus
Memory: 48K/128K
Price: £2.99
Program By: Bitmap Brothers
Reviewer: Chris Jenkins

ANDREA'S COMMENT: Blast, maim, splaa-booom! I even broke two fingernails in my first game and still thought it was worth the suffering. A classic blast from the past.

Miss this and you might as well hand in your "Junior Space Warrior" badge. A shoot-'em-up classic.


Screenshot Text

Here we are in aircraft mode, and just skimming along what looks like an oil pipeline. The two enemy craft look as if they may be on their way to Iran.

Meanwhile in ground attack mode, we're attacking a medal.

Wizz, bang, boom - those Bitmap boys like explosions.