Rainbow Arts
1990
Arcade: Shoot-em-up
£8.99
£3.99
English
ZX Spectrum 48K/128K
Multiple schemes (see individual downloads)

42,43
Nick Roberts, Mark Caswell
Chris Bourne

They came from outer space and built heavily defended battle stations in our oceans. For many years mankind was unaware of their plans, until they started to rampage across an unprotected Earth. In desperation mankind initiated Project Deep Star, its mission to throw a final challenge to the aliens, and you're the pilot who must guide the most technically advanced submarine type the world has ever seen against the alien defences.

Your first task is to buy subs from a rather nasty looking alien creature (up to nine can be purchased, if you have the dosh) and arm them. There are four types, though the only real difference apart from design is their weapons carrying capabilities. The most basic model can carry three weapons, the next six, the third nine and finally the top of the range can be armed with up to twelve different weapons Choose wisely between smartbombs, various missiles, bouncing bombs and drones which girdle your sub With 12000 points at the start you will only be able to afford the most basic options, but as you collect more points bigger and better weapons are available.

Eight horizontally scrolling levels stand between you and mankind's safety, and they're infested with every kind of psycho alien you can imagine: huge gun turrets, submarines, mobile guns, assorted missile launchers and more.

One thing is damn certain, you won't complete X-OUT on your first couple of tries, we had a cheat version that gave us all the weapons available, and even then the going was tough. Don't get me wrong, the game is hell to get through, but it avoids annoying you enough to make you chuck the computer away. The sprites are monochromatic, but some of the backgrounds are very detailed, as indeed are the end of level monstrosities which cost me most of my lives. X-Out is nothing new, but it is playable enough to warrant purchase.

MARK ... 85%

CRITICISM

'Shoot, shoot, dodge, shoot! That's all there is to it. This format of game has been used so many times that it just gets boring after a while. While playing X-Out you can cast your mind back to other games you've played, and it's almost identical. Who exactly gets enjoyment out of playing the same 'shoot all aliens in the level then the big monster' format? If it wasn't completely unoriginal, X-Out would be quite a good game. All the graphics and sound are reasonable with well detailed sprites, animation and plenty happening on screen. Colour is... well not there, except for monochrome, but then what isn't these days? All shoot 'em up fans will probably find X-Out a challenge and will get some enjoyment out of it, but it's not going to be a favourite of mine.' NICK ... 67%

Essentially playable wholly unoriginal shoot 'em up prone to a mixed reception.

76%
80%
69%
65%
62%
73%