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Thalamus Ltd
1989
Arcade: Shoot-em-up
£8.99
English
ZX Spectrum 48K/128K
None

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46,47
Ben Stone
Chris Bourne

Aliens - pah! Who do they think they are? Buzzing Earth in their doughnut-shaped ships again. In Sanxion (that's pronounced "Sankshon", if you're wondering - I did) they're not content with freaking out some poor old carrot cruncher who nobody's going to believe in a million years, this time they mean business - Golly!

The little green ETs from far away have been spying on Earth's technology and they're none too pleased with what they see. All this Jason Donovan and Kylie Minogue and enough nuclear weaponry to enforce it across the galaxy is a worrying sight for them - they don't want us tearing around the universe spewing genocidal war and Stock, Aitkin and Waterman tunes, do they now?

To stop such an event, a collective of alien planets formed The Empire and sent a powerful Android Culture Technician (ACT) to about with Earth's scientific discoveries and hopefully blow the planet to itsy bisty pieces. Unfortunately for The Empire the ACT crashed on our moon, so alerting Earth's defence corporate, who failed to locate the ACT as it limped back to its base (obviously it was a hard ACT to follow).

To cur the rest of a very very long inlay short. The Empire has mounted a kill or be killed operation on Earth, leaving you and a handful of other fighter pilots to ward off the waves of alien ships currently pouring from the skies.

The screen is split into three sections, the largest being the bottom section which takes up around half of the screen. This is the main playing area which shows a side-on view of the action scrolling from the right hand side. Your ship can move up, down, back and forward to the middle, giving you only just over a quarter of the Spectrum screen to manoeuvre on. The top section is an overhead scanner which shows the view from above your ship (pretty obvious really) - it's fairly useful when playing as it shows approaching waves of aliens well before they arrive on the main screen. The top and bottom sections of the screen are separated by the status bar which contains the usual stuff, lives, score and the like.

Considering there's never more than one wave of alien on screen at once the action's fast and surprisingly tough. If you're not an experienced shoot 'em upper you'll probably find the first level well hard to complete - perseverance is the name of the game though, just like in any other pattern game, play it enough and you'll soon learn to expect where the next wave of death is coming from.

The graphics are well above average but they aren't brilliant. The characters are well drawn and fairly detailed, as are the scrolling backgrounds, but in conjunction it's very difficult to see what's going on, particularly when you're over a complicated bit of background - this leads to a lot of wasted lives and mega frustration. The sound however, is excellent. The title tune on the 48K version puts some 128K music to shame - it's a brilliant rendition of the original C64 (spit spit) music by Rob Hubbard. The 128K version has some neat sound FX too and another great tune, this time it's a slightly lumpy stab at Prokofiev's Romeo and Juliet (you know the one "Dumm da dumm da, da-da da-da da-da da-da da-da da-da darr" It got to number 1 in 1863!).

My only real whinge about Sanxion is that the area in which you can move is far too small. This makes it extremely difficult to avoid the nasties and their lasers. Overall Sanxion - the Spectrum remix is slightly annoying but on the whole playable and fairly addictive if you persevere.

Sanxion is slightly annoying but on the whole playable and fairly addictive if you persevere.

70%
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