Domark Ltd
1989
Arcade: Action
£9.99
£3.99
English
ZX Spectrum 48K/128K
Multiple schemes (see individual downloads)

40,41
Oliver Frey, Richard Eddy
Chris Bourne

Essential plot element one: The Xybots (zibots) have invaded a nearby moon and constructed a vast, multi-level base.

Essential plot element two: Two heroes, Major Rock Hardy and Captain Ace Gunn (no doubt trying to live down their parents' horrendous taste in names), have infiltrated the base and are out to eliminate the Master Xybots, driving all the minion Xybots into an uncontrollable panic and preventing system-wide invasion.

Designed as a two-player game, though a single person can select a character and play on his/her own, the screen is split into three main parts. With the score, lives, bonus attributes and a map of the mazes level at the top; the action is viewed from two windows, split vertically at the bottom. Both windows independently show a 3-D isometric view of the corridors from behind the appropriate player character.

Rock and/or Ace move (and slide strangely) around the maze and can shift their viewpoint through 90 degrees. A standard blaster takes care of the Xybots (some more easily than others) and a limited energy Zapper can freeze them for a while; damage taken from them can be restored by collecting pods. Keys open up previously inaccessible areas.

In-between levels, extra equipment can be bought with coins pocketed from the corridors' floors (the lift doubles as an international armoury, apparently).

At intervals between the evermore difficult and complex mazes, a duel with a Master Zybot is a tough and unpleasant experience.

Tengen have produced a highly accurate conversion of a playable coin-op. The game is approximately a 3-D Gauntlet (but with the futuristic robot-blasting of oldie Berzerk) with the advantage in the two-player version that you can both do whatever you like rather than the restrictive following of one another - although team work can provide fun itself.

The graphics are fine - though the bright white corridors can strain the eyes a bit. Apart from that the small space for action has been used in the best possible way. Great blasting fun all the way, check it out as soon as possible!

RICHARD

CRITICISM

'The 3-D environment adds tension and realism to the maze game format; Gauntlet was exciting but being able to see who and what was going to attack you, and when, provided no surprises. Though it's clichéd in concept and fairly simple in execution, Xybots generates a good atmosphere and its gameplay is addictive. It's a bit tricky (sometimes frustratingly so) but it's the sort of direct action which has you coming back again and again. Even if you're no Gunn or Hardy (cue lively but immature summary), go and grab hold of this - before the Xybots grab you!' OLI

Fast 'n 'furious blasting with a neat view point.

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