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Xenon 2 logo CU Screen Star

Imageworks Price: £24.99

Xenon 2 If anyone approaches rock celebrity status in the software world, it has to be the Bitmaps. It's something they've managed to archieve effectively in the space of three games. Speedball is their most famous, but Xenon II revives their first, a shoot'em up which turned heads for its excellent sonics and graphics when it was released over eighteen months ago.
Xenon II pursues the relentless quest for an arcade quality schoot'em up on the Amiga, and it's probably the closest yet. Like its predecessor it's a vertically scrolling blast, with an array of nasties and a ship which, when you've bolted every available addition onto it, is awesomely destructive.

The element which strikes your senses first though is its sound. The promised mix of Tim Simenon's 'Megablast' is every bit as potent as the original cut, and, married to the sound effects, makes this game to play with the sound jacked right up.
You won't find much that's new in Xenon II. The elements that have gone into it are tried and tested. It's the execution that saves it. Progress through each of the five levels is hampered by the presence of a bewildering mass of enemy characters ranging from metallic droids, symbiotic spheres and prehistroic crustaceans. Weird ammonities and trilobites zoom in and out of the screen and attempt to ram the ship and occasionally the screen is dense with activity. To its credit you can still see what's going on though.

Xenon 2 At the end of each level there's a large guardian waiting. Each needs to be approached and finished off in a specific way, but unlike some of the ones which dwelled in the original they can at least be tackled and overcome. Inspiration for some definitely comes from R-Type with hugh winding snakelike protectors which slide in and out of the guardian's tubes.
Every so often you'll be able to drop into a shop and buy and sell some weaponry. You can sell off items you've picked up on the way and use the cash to add to the credits you pick up as you destroy attack waves. There's at least twenty objects, side shots, power-ups, auto-fire electroball and nicest of all the 'dive' add-on, which allows you to flip underneath the parallax scrolling for ten seconds.
Graphically Xenon II is superb. The central sprite is clear, well-defined and large, as are the rest of the characters in the game. The guardians are huge and imaginitive, but it's the backgrounds and the colour which really make this game brilliant to watch. This is definitely arcade quality.

There are faults to be found with Xenon II. The necessity to have so much going on at one time means the game is slow. The scroll rate is just not fast enough and it can induce an element of tedium into the game. Also despite its impressive graphics and sound challenge somehow just isn't strong enough. Lack of variation might be the cause.
Despite these problems, there's little point denying that this isn't impressive stuff -it's what you bought an Amiga for. This is going to be a huge hit, and there's more.

Mike Pattenden

CU Amiga, October 1989, pp.40-41



Xenon2 Logo Gold Medal Award

Imageworks, Amiga £24.99

The first Galactic Conflict broke out a thousand years ago on the US West Coast with the Amiga-based coin op Xenon. A single pilot saved the Federation then by defeating the Xenites and rescuing Captain Xod. The Xenites aren't ones to forgive and forget though, so with aid of the megahip Bitmap Brothers (who made lots of dosh converting the original war) they've kicked off the Second Galactic Conflict in revenge. Five Time Bombs have been planted in the Process of Evolution, a surreal dimension made up of five evolutionary phases.

Life started in the sea of course, so the first level is filled with sea anemones, tadpoles and a massive Nautilus Shellfish which resides at the end of the stage. Maddened by radiation from the Time bomb planted beside it, this horrendous crustacean is mega-dangerous! Level two sees the rise of the insects with beetles, flies and a massive, revolting spider gnashing its mandibles at you. As on all the levels but the first, this level has two massive creatures to be defeated so it's as well there's Crispin's Swop Shop.

The Real Cash deposited by blasted aliens can be collected and spent here.
You enter the shop automatically when you get so far in the game, and once Crispin turns off his Walkman trade begins. Firstly you can sell off any add-on weapons you've picked up or bought previously, typically Crispin will pay half what it costs to buy an item. Next you can choose what to bolt on your ship from a range of 24 hardware items. Many of the items, such as the vital speed-ups, shot power increase, energy recharge and cannon pod, can be picked up from debris of destroyed aliens. The hardcore, magablasting stuff has to be bought though. And prices are steep. 6000 for homing missiles, 4500 for mines, 5000 for a flamethrower. What's more these awesome weapons can be built up together, and even duplicated. A taste of the possibilities is offered by the Super Nashwan Power, 600 for ten seconds of mega-blasting with a full kit of bolt-on weapons. One of the most remarkable add-ons however, is 'Dive' which allows you to swoop down to the uninhabitated lower level scrolling beneath the main action. You can keep your head down here for up to ten seconds at a time, but while your're hiding the aliens multiply making it that much harder when you pop up.

Zzap! Issue 54, October 1989, pp.70-71

Phil King Aren't shoot'em-ups dead yet? Nope, not by a long chalk if they're going to keep improving with games like this one. I'm no big fan of the game-type, but this one had me battling to get the joystick off Robin like everyone else. To start with the unbelievable presentation (both visual and audio), combined with the sheer number of enemies is overwhelming. You soon get the hang of things though -the difficulty/frustration level seems just right -and the megablasting begins. As for any tiny little flaws, apart from the slight delay of the Swop Shop loading in I can't think of any. This is the one to hock your grandmother for!

Robin Hogg Fantastic, superb, brilliant, bloody marvellous -I could go on and on calling out superlatives about Xenon 2. It's had enough pre-release hype to rival Batman and it's blown away all other Miggy shoot-'em-ups to date and I can safely say, for quite a while to come as well. The slow scrolling belies the frantically awesome ferocity of the game and it all gets worse with each yard gained, it really is a MEGA-BLAST when you're armed up but can you believe it, even coin-ops aren't this tough! As for the choice of in-game music -pah! What about some Heavy Metal?

Stuart Wynne The game of the Bomb the Bass album track kicks off with an appropriately impressive version of the Megablast, which continues in simplified form in the actual game. It's the graphics though, that really take your breath away. While the visual themes of the levels are imaginative and unique, their execution is well nigh perfect. From the silky animation of the tadpole enemies, to the retro-rockets on the fighter to the pilot light which ignites gas of the flamethrower, Xenon 2 sets a new standard in presentation. But what of gameplay? Well, to begin with it's not that much more than a standard vertically scrolling shoot-'em-up. But as you get further into the game the ability to scroll the screen back, dive down, and the unbelievable range of wonderful weapons, provides the vital difference. With the urge to get ever further into the game for yet more of those brilliant graphics, and build up a completely over-the-top ship, Xenon 2 oozes addictivity. Quite definitive Amiga shoot-'em-up.

Great intro and two-player option
Any of the five levels would be spectacular on their own, together they're unbelievable.
Good ingame tune and attractive sound FX.
Starts off hard but you soon learn the patterns necessary to complete level one. Graphics, weapons and sheer playability keep you glued to the joystick.
Even when your ship's trebled in width with weapons it's tough. Packed with value-for-money in short.
The Bitmap Bros aren't going to lose any street cred with this one.

Xenon 2 CDTV

Xenon 2 Logo CDTV

Mirrorsoft £29.99

When it came out, this Bitmap Brothers up-the-screen shoot-em-up was very highly rated for its detailed graphics, action-packed gameplay, neat power-ups and innovative pop-star tie-in soundtrack. Now, the graphics look dull and the gameplay revealed as being too enemy-heavy, with massive power-ups trying to balance play in which too little strategy and skill is required. It's been well superseded by a host of subsequent shoot-em-up releases, but set a few standards in its day. Only the soundtrack remains innovative, using the CD's sound storage capability to add a high fidelity Bomb the Bass remix track -that old Assault on Precinct 13 Megablast -put together in Roland's innovative 3D sound. Best bought by Bomb the Bass completists (yes, you can play CD Amiga soundtracks in a hi-fi CD player) rather than by gameplayers, it's well past its sell-by date.

Amiga Format Issue 39, October 1992, p.41

Amiga Format rating 32%

Xenon 2 CDTV

Xenon2 Logo CDTV

Zum guten(?) Schluss waren auch die Bitmap Brothers der Meinung dass es an ihren Baller-Meisterwerk bis auf den Sound nicht mehr viel zu verbessern gabe. Wie gehabt geht's also von unten nach oben durch's All, wobei Grafik und Gameplay auch heute noch zum besten gehören, was sich der Action Freak so antunn kann. Und die wundervoll aufgepeppte Musikuntermalung (12 Stücke von Betty Boo bis Bomb the Bass) hat der mittlerweile klassischen Alien vernichtungsaktion ganz sicher nicht geschadet!

Amiga Joker, October 1991, p.59

Titel Was ist anders? Bewertung Preis Hersteller Genre  
Xenon 2 Sound Super 89,- DM Mirrorsoft Action