Walk into any arcade or fairground and all you will hear are the death throes of thousands of aliens as they find themselves blitzed back towards the planet Felch to the accompaniment of shouts of glee from the teeny bop army.
Spectrums and C64s used to whirr and shake wildly to similarly familiar intonations, but sadly, such games have been few and far between on the Amiga. Clutch your favourite joystick and arm your weapons though, because after too long a wait we have an out and out shoot-em-up on our hands once more...
Who remembers Wings of Death? It was rather underrated on its release a year or two ago; developers Eclipse have put their talents to work once more in what is essentially Wings of Death 2. I would like to lay out some kind of scenario for you. I really would, but unfortunately my copy of the game is the German version and comes complete with matching box and manual, and since my understanding of the language stretches no further than the name of one or two particularly lagers - you are scuppered.
But what do we need to know? No amount of Damsel In Distress sob stories are going to detract from the fact that the whole idea is simply to sit in your spaceship and obliterate everything that moves, are they? Lethal Xcess is ye olde fashioned shoote-uppe; on booting up the disk what I appeared to have in front of me was the chunky graphic-kill-bomb-shoot-kill-shoot-shoot-kill frenzy which I had been waiting for for some time - quite a change of direction for Grandslam who, it would seem, are making a real effort to break into the big league of late.
The ship is a fairly standard affair - just your average intergalactic cruiser with the usual blend of improbable shapes, large guns and strange Scottish men in the engine room.
You begin your voyage into mindless violence with just a few poxy triangular missiles, which can either be powered up or exchanged for other methods of destruction, and although the game, as a concept, represents nothing particularly new, the power-ups are well thought out.
There are seven upgrades, all introduced proudly by a digitised voice proclaiming "triangle!", "drone!" and, uh, "wiper", among others. Once you have collected a power-up, look out for more of the same, as each PU can itself be enhanced by amassing a collection of identical pods, making for an awesome weapon.
Such awesomeness is a necessity, actually, as the game is far from an easy ride. Even on easy mode the baddies come flying thick and fast, and on the subsequent two settings your three lives are likely to last about as long as a Bill Clinton tax promise. Throughout the five levels the number of enemy sprites increase, as does the difficulty in destroying them., and towards the end of the game only a huge weapon will do if you are to achieve any success in saving the earth, or whatever it is the manual tells us we should do.
Five levels - yep, not many is it? Fortunately, all of the are a decent length, and the sheer number of baddies make for a good sized game, although fiercer level guardians would have provided an even sterner challenge.
The speed of the ship could have been faster - when the screen becomes packed with enemies as it frequently does, the sluggish craft struggles somewhat keep out of harm's way, and can often be caught out by new arrivals at the bottom side of the screen.
One way (and the most fun, incidentally) to guard against the spaceman's equivalent of an early bath, is to team up with a chumly in the cooperative two player mode, and fight it out over power-ups and bonuses, but whichever way you look at it Lethal Xcess is a very good - not great, mind - effort in the now neglected field of the shoot-em-up.