XIPHOS. What is it, where is it, and if you find it, what do you do with it? The answer to all these questions and more will be revealed thanks to the coldest killer in the Universe, the Han Solo of Adlington, yes you've guessed it - me.
The game is based on the continuing struggle between two warring factions in deep space (the Plo and the Qon), both of which are descendants from the same race, which in the distant past was silly enough to delegate total responsibility of running their near perfect world, to their ultimate creation Xiphos (booo, hissss).
Xiphos is a somehow familiarly mad entity, and would be villain of the piece. A huge super intelligence, which for reasons best known to itself, after hundreds of years of trouble free service, one morning announced "I quit".
Thereby plunging the now totally dependent Xiphonions into a technological dark age, with no power and no expertise to rebuild their crumbling culture.
You play the part of an undercover agent sent by the Galactic council of which the Xiphonion system was formerly a member. Your mission is to traverse the six levels of Xiphonion inner space, at the centre of which is Xiphos, not only responsible for the demise of the Xiphons but also suspected of causing strange disappearances and possibly altering the fabric of space time.
In order to travel through the increasingly hostile levels you take on the guise of a wandering mercenary fighting for either side, allied only to maximum profit. This has a dual purpose, not only disguise, but as the only method of raising sufficient funds via bounty, to buy supplies to continue your quest south, and towards Xiphos via the pole base at the southern end of each level.
Unfortunately travelling south increases an effect similar to gravity which dramatically depletes your energy. If, however, you travel north energy is increased, but it also means you'll be travelling in completely the wrong direction. (Tricky... eh?)
Here lies the trading aspect of the game. After firstly picking your target carefully and dispatching them to the next level of consciousness you will receive your reward, with which you can trade for goods with your victim's opponents.
A map can be built up of the various locations of stations and their allegiances, although this can change due to conquest. The conservation of resources is essential, as running out of energy was the main reason for my regular and early demise.
It's perhaps slightly unfair to compare Xiphos with Starglider II constantly, but it's almost unavoidable with the graphic similarity and the general scenario. Nevertheless I still feel the program lacks depth, being essentially a multi-