Do you know what makes me sick? Sticking my fingers down my throat. Well, that and games in which I get blasted into millions of tiny pieces within seconds of starting them. XARQ, the new release from Electric Dreams, falls rather heavily into the second category.
Anyhow, despite this somewhat abrupt introduction to the game (not helped, I might add, by the rather cryptic instructions), XARQ isn't that bad.
Basically, the game follows the traditional lines of blasting everything that moves, as well as a number of things that don't. Graphically it looks a lot like Panzadrome. XARQ is actually a huge steel and silicon base situated on the watery world of Xarquon. The original purpose of the base is unclear but it has now gone renegade and switched itself into Planetary Cleansing Mode. Now this might not sound like a bad idea, but unfortunately it does involve XARQ burning off the entire surface. So into this scenario enters our hero in a hitech 'nik nik' powerboat. His mission is to flood XARQ before this super spring-clean can be put into effect. The speedboat is armed with four different offence/defence systems to make the job a little easier. A forward firing laser, guided missiles, mortar and depth charges. Steering is achieved by the rather cumbersome rotate left/right and accelerate/ decelerate off the four joystick positions. In order to destroy the power stations it's necessary to manoeuvre the boat into position and then select either the guided missile or mortar.
Whilst you're trying to coordinate all of this, the enemies' defences do not stand idle. On XARQ itself there are gun emplacements which track you and it's quite easy to get yourself stuck in a corner and be shelled to oblivion.
In all XARQ is quite an interesting game that's hindered by insensitive controls and the over-exuberance of the defences early on in the game. I definitely prefer it to sticking my fingers down my throat though!