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The Icon Bar: News and features: Review - Xenon 2
 

Review - Xenon 2

Posted by Rob Gibson on 00:00, 30/10/2000 | , ,
 
Xenon 2

 

GamesWare's vertically-scrolling shoot-'em-up for one or two players. Reviewed by Rob Gibson.
 

Note: This review was originally written for the Illusions disc magazine well before Acorn Arcade was born, so we make no guarantees that this game will work on more recent machines. Many thanks to Richard Goodwin, Phil Coleman and Rob Gibson for allowing us to reproduce this review on the site.
 



Like an Intercity express train the promised glut of 16-bit conversions finally seems to be appearing at this platform, a little late (try two or three years), but better late than never much to the relief of the paying punters that have been standing around waiting with only the Arc equivalent of Traveller's Fare to keep them going. Although there have been conversions in the past, the most notable amongst them being SWIV, Chuck Rock, James Pond, that other Bitmap Bros. conversion Gods etc., the coming of Xenon 2 looks likely to herald the start of a veritable feeding-frenzy of activity in companies around the country bringing us the cream of the crop of Amiga games.
 

It becomes evident that this is no ordinary conversion as soon as you double-click to load it. Up pops a sprite onto the desktop informing you that the game is indeed loading, a la Impression II, StrongEd2, The Hacker etc. After this the game installs itself on the iconbar, and you can jump in and out of the game as often as you please, although your position is lost and when you re-enter you have to start from the beginning again. It's a nice touch, and makes you feel as if you're dealing with professionals here, people who actually understand the Arc and can bring out it's full potential.
 

After clicking on the big blue space ship sitting at the bottom of the screen, the disk chugs away for a few seconds and as the credits fly (fairly) smoothly in and out of a face-on starfield effect, the strains of Bomb the Bass's funky tune 'Megablast' (which by a strange coincidence is the subtitle of the game) blasts out in glorious stereophonic sound. This rendition, although lacking some of the voice samples of the original (ie non-computer) version, is still of high quality; I was told that the Amiga actually used BTB's own samples, and on the conversion they certainly sound very true to both these previous formats. The tune plays over not only the credits at the start, but the game itself, and one over on the Amiga owners here, the full version is played throughout, whereas the poor half-Meg Commodore machine had to have the samples further reduced for the actual game tune. The tune can get a bit wearing even for a BTB fan like myself after a bit, and the options screen, which is just a keypress away from the credits, allows you to turn it off.
 

And so on to the game itself. The graphics are all that you've come to expect from the hype surrounding both the Amiga in general and the Bitmap Brothers in particular. Your ship, which travels upwards as in SWIV etc., tilts as you move sideways; thrusters burn as you move up or down; and when moving down, if you hit the bottom of the screen, the scrolling actually reverses and you go backwards. Beneath the rocks that border the screen scrolls two levels of parallax, namely a web of plantlife (amazing what can be achieved in just three colours) and a starfield effect. The rest of the graphics for this level look like the contents of a biology student's dreams the night before an important exam; this nightmarish world is inhabited by all manner of pulsating plants and rotating bugs, every one with atmospheric light sourcing. Spinning tokens and powerups, an oft-used Bitmap technique (see Speedball 2 when it comes out), are heavily featured also.
 

Ship
These graphics are achieved in the 16 colour mode 9.
Answers on a postcard as to why the 256 colour
Arc games don't even come close.

 

There are two ways of getting those all-important extras for your ship. The first are the crates that spin in from the left-hand side of the screen, which, when shot, reveal certain gifts such as speedups, rear fire, smart bomb etc. Secondly, as you kill more and more meanies, you can collect bubbles which are converted into cash for when you reach the shop; there's no warning as to when this happens, it just does, and you get to remember the area this occurs in.
 

Shopkeeper
"And as if by magic, the shopkeeper appears..."
Mr. Benn finds that those mushrooms
he had for tea last night might
not have been as harmless as they looked.

 

The shop is not only for buying new equipment, but for flogging off the old stuff as well. The best purchase was the "Nashwan", a short (10 second) taste of the complete works, every weapon available. This basically wipes out anything stupid enough to appear on the screen almost as effectively as a smart bomb, and is a great appetiser for the rest of the game.
 

Firepower
Nashwan: makes Rambo look like Noddy.

 

And now for the obligatory moans. I found the game a little tough, as the ship is quite slow-moving and you have to fight the controls a little even with both speedups; this is not the conversion's fault, quite the reverse, it is a faithful copy of the original (too damn faithful!). Hence, this is not the sort of game you give to a younger child to keep them quiet, as they'd soon be bawling about how they got killed two seconds after the "Get ready" message disappeared. Perhaps it's just a little late in the day to be thinking of this, but I think the game should have an easier learning curve; let's face it, I couldn't get to the end of the level without designing a cheat mod, and there are four more levels to negotiate. However, if you like a challenge, you're in for a treat. Also, there are a few concessions to duffers like me; for instance, it is possible to hit the scenery at the sides without penalty, although it is equally possible to get stuck on a rock as several meanies come crashing towards you; when negotiating the maze-like rock formations, if you make a wrong turn it's always possible to back up as mentioned before. It takes some practice, but it is playable. Most of all, however, it's the sheer style that makes this game a must for the collection.
 

Meanie
Certain Inferior Software
houses should take note:
this is a well-drawn end of level meanie.

Summary

It's hard, so not really for youngsters or beginners. It is extremely attractive however, and a very nice implementation; for example, the tracker player would crash if an old version of the VProtect module is present, so the game asks whether to switch off the module or abort the load. Also, it has A3010 joystick implementation built in. It won't however run on a StrongARM machine and there are other bugs to be aware of on earlier versions. Generally though, definitely a prestige item in the old collection.
 

  Review - Xenon 2
  This is a long thread. Click here to view the threaded list.
 
Rusty Message #88011, posted at 09:05, 5/6/2003, in reply to message #88010
Unregistered user I life for this game!! My wife burnt the disk because I played it every day none stop after work until bedtime. It almost ruined our relationship. I also need to know some cheat modes if anyone knows any, thanks
Rusty
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
Rusty Message #88012, posted at 09:08, 5/6/2003, in reply to message #88011
Unregistered user I life for this game!! My wife burnt the disk because I played it every day none stop after work until bedtime. It almost ruined our relationship. I also need to know some cheat modes if anyone knows any, thanks
Rusty
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
Mikey Message #88013, posted at 20:29, 12/7/2003, in reply to message #88012
Unregistered user cuz u need the second disk. must find it over the net. the downloaded is disk 1 only
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
Joris Claassen Message #88014, posted at 10:39, 28/7/2003, in reply to message #88013
Unregistered user The demo crash on my RiscPC
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
luca Message #88015, posted at 12:24, 21/8/2003, in reply to message #88014
Unregistered user sto cercando il gioco Xenon2 per pc
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
Djego Message #88016, posted at 20:33, 3/9/2003, in reply to message #88015
Unregistered user I Played this game there i was very young and it was and still is my favorit game !!!!
Its the Best game forever !!!
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
Mohammed Message #88017, posted at 09:42, 1/1/2004, in reply to message #88016
Unregistered user I remmember that i used to play this fantastic game when i 10 years ago and i wish that i can find this game so i play it again. so does this game exist or not?

if yes where can i find it?
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
Danny Message #88018, posted at 18:12, 27/1/2004, in reply to message #88017
Unregistered user Me again - suggest that you don't play the cheats or the invincibles. I've done this for other games (e.g POP) and it spoils the magic for you. Persist.
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
Super Naswan Power! Message #88019, posted at 15:50, 9/2/2004, in reply to message #88018
Unregistered user The finest shoot em up of all time and should be re-released on all formats, for ever.

God Bless the Bitmap Bros!
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
negli Message #88020, posted at 18:50, 5/3/2004, in reply to message #88019
Unregistered user i finnished this game when i was 10 so its not the hardest game ever.and we didnt have cheats back in the day either!
i dont remember how many leverls there were but i beat that spaceship some one mentioned any way. i think it crashed after that , but it was only on one disk.
i thinkj i still have that disket but id doesnt work on this new fangled computer!
email me if u find it any where mean while il try
and find the disk and get it working.
the game rulees along with blues brothers(which is available on the net!get it!its much more chalenging and has the best musiv ill ever c in any game!
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
negli Message #88021, posted at 19:16, 5/3/2004, in reply to message #88020
Unregistered user go to laurasmidiheaven.com for the sound track(its under amiga or sumthing)
ithink thats wright the adress but im not sure
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
Oldkid Message #88022, posted at 03:35, 11/5/2004, in reply to message #88021
Unregistered user You can download Xenon2 at for free:
takegame.com/shooter/htm/xenon2.htm
It's a Zip file (420kb).
For invulberability, press f7 to confirm on graphics selection at start, then press "I" during game play.
For Hex edit, the codes you get on the net are crap, they don't even exist. However, you still can Hexedit Xenon2.exe file to get free money. Figure it out yourself - good luck!
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
scotty Message #88023, posted at 23:14, 16/5/2004, in reply to message #88022
Unregistered user You can find the missing file for level 5 on this link:http://www.gkh.cz/intranet/nasi_studenti/mberni/data/xenon.2/S5/ Just copy sprites.vga to you s5 directory
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
mr rossi Message #88024, posted at 17:06, 9/1/2005, in reply to message #88023
Unregistered user Briliant game, i am selling a spare copy for amiga here: http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&rd=1&item=8160657282&ssPageName=STRK:MESE:IT
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
JUAN JOHNSON Message #88025, posted at 23:10, 31/5/2005, in reply to message #88024
Unregistered user the best of all that fucking old games.
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
ep-cosmik Message #88026, posted at 23:31, 24/7/2005, in reply to message #88025
Unregistered user Yes there is a windows DirectX version free, made by the bitmap brothers themselves.
It's possible to download it from their website, and google will lead you to with these keywords: "bitmap brothers homepage".

Where to download the Amiga module of this game?

Thaks for all who will contact me.
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
Nasser Message #88027, posted at 02:45, 27/3/2006, in reply to message #88026
Unregistered user Hey all. thank u for ur participation. That was a very wonderful game. I got it finally from the net but could not play on WinXP. Please tell me what settings required for an MSDos game to run. Thanks
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
zulu Message #88028, posted at 17:41, 27/3/2006, in reply to message #88027
Unregistered user I downloaded it from http://takegame.com/shooter/htm/xenon2.htm but the sound is very snatchy or rather unpleasant. How do I run this game properly on my WinXP machine?
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
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The Icon Bar: News and features: Review - Xenon 2