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Released: 1991

Genre: Shoot-’em-up

Format reviewed: Amiga 500

Publisher: Rainbow Arts

Developer: Advantec

Submitted by: Ash H

The HQ of the Earth's defence thought everything was safe after the first victory in X-Out. But it appears that enemy activity is growing and once again you are called into action although this time you do not need to be alone, someone else brave enough can join you. Z-Out is the obvious sequel to X-Out but looks and plays more like a follow up to R-Type.

On the first level you are armed with just a basic laser but every so often a pod is left behind. Picking these up will increase the firepower to your ship. The first pod to pick up gives you a drone which can attach itself to the front or back of your craft, just like the R-Type series of games. After this a variety of add-ons including streaker lasers, fusion bombs, double shot and bouncing flames will take out the enemy. Satellite's can also be picked up which help protect your craft from above and below. Your drone will also absorb enemy fire as well as be a very useful weapon that can be propelled into the bigger guardians.

There are six levels to Z-Out, each one very different. The colour and detail matches that seen in R-Type 1 or 2 as does the design of the levels. As well as the arsenal of aliens to face, some almost pixel perfect flying is required to squeeze your craft through small and unstable gaps. A horizontal shooter would not be complete without massive end of level guardians and this game doesn't disappoint. Each one has his own music as well as his many defences. As with end of level guardians, there is a weakness in there somewhere.

I was and still am a big fan of X-Out on the amiga and my cpc. The shop system used was quite original but the game designers changed things around for this one. Most magazine reviews seemed to prefer this to X-Out but I am not so sure. If you like R-Type and not many people don't, you will surely like this. A hard game for sure but one you will want to see more of. It comes in second best to the likes of Apidya and Project X. But the two player mode gives this game that something extra. Although I don't know what because I never played it with anyone, one day perhaps.