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 Xenomorph logo

PANDORA £24.99 * Mouse

W Xenomorph asn’t the film Aliens good? A lot of people in the software industry seem to think so, as more than a few games have been released based around James Cameron’s classic.
The latest to appear is Xenomorph, which puts the player in the boots of the Captain of supply cruiser The Mombassa Oak on a trip to Atargatis in the Sirius system. Tales have been told of ships that have set out for Atargatis never to return, which does not bode well for your trip!

The run starts off easily enough with all systems running properly, but the Crossover Drive malfunctions while travelling into Hyperspace (or Big Empty as the Trader-runners call it). The computer system and drives have been badly damaged, so you must search the base on Atargatis for supplies and equipment to make good your escape. On reaching the base, you soon discover the reason for the lost missions. The whole place is overrun with alien creatures – deadly enemies that kill anything not of their own kind.

The game starts with you in the cockpit of the Mombassa Oak, dressed in just your spotty underwear and armed only with a creditcard. The surroundings are viewed via a 3D window which at the press of a button switches to show your inventory screen.

Suits and weapons can be found in the remaining cargo section of your ship ready for you to take on the marauding aliens, but extra gear that may be handy such as radiation suits, rifles and mines must be found to get to the deeper sections, where the necessary equipment for your ship lies.

Some sections of the base have become dangerous, so there is a danger of becoming contaminated with radiation poisoning if you do not take the greatest of care. For this reason, medical supplies are essential to the well-being of would-be escapees.

Do you think you can overcome these amazing odds? Well, get your kit on and get out to your spaceship, then!
Maff Evans

Amiga Format, Issue 11, June 1990, p.45

Instead of the usual filled 3D effect, Xenomorph uses a ‘flickscreen’ 3D system of bitmapped images to simulate movement through rooms and tunnels. Occasionally this gets confusing, but overall the effect is well implemented and convincing. The most impressive use of graphics comes in the form of the equipment. There is a myriad of weapons and technological systems for the player to pick up and use, each fitting into the game well. Unfortunately, the sound is of a somewhat lower standard. Only a few actions have corresponding spot effects such as inserting a card in a slot, firing a weapon or opening a door. If more use had been made of the sound then the game would have been a lot more atmospheric, but as it stands it does not have much of the ‘outer-space’ feel of games like Infestation.

There is no doubting the fact that Xenomorph is big. Use of a map is essential if you are going to get anywhere at all, as it is easy to either get lost in the tunnels or to completely miss a vital location if you are not paying close attention. Once you are familiar with the layout of the base, however, it will still take a while before proper use of the weapons has been worked out – ammo is short and there are a lot of nasty creatures – so you will be playing for a few weeks at the very least.

Alien-infested complexes seem to be all the rage at the moment, so it is nice to see a game that manages to create an inspired and involving environment to challenge the player. Considering the competition that Xenomorph is up against, the game stands up rather well. The feel is much more ‘tech’-based than something like Infestation, using a whole host of computer equipment to complete the mission. Unfortunately, the weak sound loses to the atmospheric edge created by Psygnosis’ adventure, bu – this gripe aside - Xenomorph is not half bad!


 Xenomorph logo

Pandora, Amiga £24.99

Xenomorph S upplies, supplies! That's where your vocation lies. Unfortunately, while you're carrying out a routine delivery to a mining installation on Sirius B disastrous events occur to make you wish you hadn't taken this particular job.
The main part of your ship judders out of Hyperspace on the approach to Sirius B but its detachable cargo pod decides not to follow. Luckily, your on-board CNS (Central Nervous System) remains calm and manages to thaw you out – cryogenics are used extensively in the year 2134 – and informs you of the situation before shutting itself down. After a couple of choruses of 'Freeze a jolly good fellow' you get down to flying half a ship to your destination. Three arduous days later you arrive at the Essen mining station on Sirius B. You should be relieved at having made it but the distant lack of life in the complex causes concern. You wonder what on Sirius B could have happened to the 200 workers stationed here.

However, as your main objective is to repair the ship and get back, you swallow your fear and start to explore the complex in the hope of finding the necessary resources (and preferably nothing else). You need fuel for your ship, electrical components for your knackered CNS, and sustenance for yourself... but will you survive long enough to find them?

A t'riffic title track full of sampled shouts an' shots over an oriental(ish) tune is guaranteed to make you stop and listen before inserting disk B to start play. When eventually you do, the screen changes from a very nice graphic of the mining complex to six (equally nice) display windows. These show your view of the surroundings (the packaging states it's 'Full first person perspective'... I wonder what 'Half first person' would look like), inventory, status, direction, options, special equipment and items currently carried in each hand.

Xenomorph Locations update jerkily, but effectively, as you move around with distant areas shown in varying depths of shadow which lighten as you approach – a very nice touch.
FX are good, especially the noise made by your magnum (when you find it), but doors, machinery and so on are equally enhanced by suitable sounds.

As you explore deeper into the complex you come across panels containing clothing, weapons, food, drugs – to combat radiation, hunger and headaches – or computer terminals. Other objects, such as data disks, are to be found in hard-to-reach nooks and crannies within the complex. Some of the items available to you are explained in the booklet accompanying the game while many others are left for you to discover their use.

As you search and destroy (yes, you do come across the odd alien who needs a good trashing) keep an eye on your status window: lack of food and drink logically affects your health and too large a dose of radiation has a negative effect on your chances of returning home. Drugs can help with health problems but you need to know codes to access suitable medication – administering any old narcotic into your blood stream could be fatal.

The essence of Xenomorph is mapping: if you don't like having to chart your surrounding you may not appreciate this game. But if you get a kick out of plotting, pop out and purchase Xenomorph and get down to some Sirius game playing!

Zzap! Issue 61, May 1990, p.20