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Domark Ltd
Arcade: Action
ZX Spectrum 48K/128K
Multiple schemes (see individual downloads)

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Chris Jenkins
Chris Bourne

Xybots. What do I think about the game?

It's OK. If you detect a little lukewarmness in my wheedling tone, it's because at first sight Xybots doesn't look vary impressive - especially compared to the original Atari coin-op.

Fortunately, if you persevere you'll find that most of the playability has been retained in Tecque's conversion, and especially in two-player mode, the challenge of Xybots will grip you despite the dubious graphics.

The main gimmick of the coin-op was the 3-D perspective maze shown from two viewpoints at once. The players could either team up, or fight it out for honour and glory. The plot's a bit like the ancient video game Humanoid - make your way through a series of mazes fighting off hostile robots. The main difference is the 3-D view, but since a map shown at the centre top of the screens gives away the position of the offending androids, and a big arrow marked DANGER appears pointing them out even when they're off-screen, there's not much suspense.

The two protagonists - Major Rock Hardy and Captain Ace Gunn, if you can believe that - scamper up the screen a bit, then it flips on to the next section. They can also move left and right, which is handy because the hordes of robots open fire as soon as they come within range.

To turn to face the fire you move the joystick while holding down the fire button. Your position indicator on the map also shows your orientation, so it shouldn't be possible to get lost, although I did find myself heading the wrong way into the complex on a couple of occasions.

Once you reach the end of a level, there are usually two options; Mister Softie's, where you jump straight into the transporter to the next level; or Mr Hard's, where you have to fight off killer machines before reaching transporter going to a MUCH higher level.

Tokens you collect along the way allow you to buy extra shields, bigger guns and better maps to bash the heavy-duty security droids on later levels.

Excellent 12SK sound and a boppy musical theme put the finishing touches to what is a surprisingly enjoyable conversion. I don't know if it would have been possible to do a better job of the graphics, but Xybots scores high for gameplay, so think about buying it.

Label: Tengen
Author: Tecque
Price: £9.99/£12.99
Memory: 48K/128K
Joystick: various
Reviewer: Chris Jenkins

Graphically dodgy but otherwise frabjuous coin-op maze game.