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US Gold Ltd
Arcade: Shoot-em-up
ZX Spectrum 48K
Multiple schemes (see individual downloads)

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Graham Taylor
Chris Bourne

When you take away the awesome graphics from Xevious you're left with a pretty average sort of game.

So it goes. In the arcades Xevious looked astonishing. Spaceships looked really metallic and the landscape looked like it was real.

What can you expect from the Spectrum version? it's two-colour, green and black, and some of the background features lack detail. For example, the Xevious 'roads' are reduced to lines making them considerably less impressive than in the original.

There are some positive trade offs for some of these compromises however. No attribute clash, obviously, and a fair degree of detail in the spacecraft and some of the 'set piece' background sections.

Clever use of shading gives some of the sprites in Xevious a solid look too, an illusion of 3D. They may not actually look like metal as in the original but they look more substantial than with most similar games.

As a game Xevious follows a classic pattern. It scrolls top to bottom with waves of aliens to be blasted or avoided, getting ever more vicious and ever more erratic in their movement as you penetrate deeper into the game. There are ground bases you can destroy with difficulty - they lob bombs in your general direction - and finally there's a mothership you destroy only by hitting it in one specific spot (in this case the central reactor).

You must have heard this one before. Apart from anything else 90 percent of Lightforce follows this formula.

Mainly it's about stabbing away at the joystick and watching out for stray bombs. There are some definite techniques you can learn to help you survive longer. After a half hour's play I just managed to creep on to the bottom of the high scores board.

So what do I think of Xevious? I think it's a better than average shoot 'em up and as a conversion it's pretty good.

I'd like to have seen what Faster Than light would have done with it though.

Label: US Gold
Author: Probe Software
Price: £9.95
Joystick: various
Memory: 48K/128K
Reviewer: Graham Taylor


A good shoot 'em up and a reasonable conversion of an arcade classic. A definite maybe for joystick junkies.


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Learn the layout of the gun emplacements and line your ship up, in advance, with one in turn

Always try to destroy emplacements. Start firing the moment you see one, otherwise your chances of getting past without destroying it are pretty low.

Even if you have passed an emplacement keep your eyes open - they frequently lob a last bomb straight at you.

Learn the patterns of the alien ships. The disc-shaped ones, for example, move in a fairly simple zig-zag that is relatively easy to avoid if you are prepared.

Fire continuously!

Don't stay on the bottom of the screen. You may get trapped. Instead, give yourself plenty of room for movement.