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Xenon

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Released: 1988

Genre: Shoot-’em-up

Format reviewed: Atari ST

Publisher: Melbourne House

Developer: The Bitmap Brothers

Submitted by: Kurtis Cookson

I first saw this Bitmap Brothers classic on a Saturday morning kids show called Get Fresh. I was awestruck by the graphics and the action.

Xenon is a not your average shoot-em-up. You can fight with a tank or a jet. This is a great feature, although its a little distracting having to press the space bar in the middle of the action to change ship. There is also the option of waggling the joystick left and right.

Each level starts with a quick flyover from the end of the level to the begining. The action is fast paced and addictive.

There are various powerups to collect throughout each level. These include wing attachment guns, multiples that follow the ship, lasers and homing missiles. Your ship has a finite amount of energy that depletes with each enemy hit but can be replenished at various points throughout the levels.

The end of each level features a boss that has a weak spot. You need to make sure you have a particular weapon that makes eliminating the boss easier.

The graphics are superb, everything has a great metallic look. Great graphics became the hallmark of all later Bitmap Brothers titles.

The up-beat soundtrack is provided by David Whittaker and adds to whole experience. There is even a speech sample and short animation to introduce the begining of each level.