Probably the most talked about arcade game of the year has been Zaxxon, the complex scramble type game with amazing 3D graphics. Its cult following has probably been helped along by its scarcity. Of course there are favourable versions available for Atari (very good in fact), but it has been a cherished dream of Spectrum software houses to have a go. So it's only fair to say at the outset that this version - the first of its kind for the Spectrum, is much simpler looking and moving than the arcade or Atari version. But it's pretty good anyway.
For a start off Starzone haven't been frightened of reproducing the three quarter angle view in blocky 3D; the shadow is there, and so are the features of the arcade original.
Your basic objective is to take your attack fighter through the formidable defences of the Zaxxan fort and destroy it. These include numerous gun emplacements, fighter aircraft, laser force fields and walls of varying heights. As the walls approach you must fire your guns - the explosions give you the best indication of your flying height. Fuel runs out rapidly and is replenished, as in scramble games, by shooting up fuel dumps.
'Here we have a Zaxxon copy, the first for the Spectrum, and which takes the same form as the original. The movement is a little jerky and the individual graphics are fairly small but easily identifiable. Colour is well used and the keyboard play is good, though the perspective makes it difficult. Zaxxon fans should enjoy this one.'
'Your fighter is a single character size so it doesn't do all that lovely banking on the turns that the original does, but in most respects this is a very good copy and difficult to play well. The character movement is jerky but not to its detriment, I thought, you soon get used to that. Perhaps it makes fine tuning a little hard. But how nice to have a Zaxxon copy for the Spectrum at last.'
'Pretty triffic on the whole, not as smooth as the original and still plenty of scope for improvement over the next few months, but I wouldn't miss out on this one! My one grouse is that they chose dark blue for the floor, the black shadow tends to get a bit lost. It helps though if you have your contrast right up on the telly.'
: goodJoystick options
: KempstonKeyboard play
: responsive, but character movement makes it a little hard to judge accuratelyUse of colour
: very goodGraphics
: nicely drawn and detailed, but jerky movementSound
: fairly goodLives
: 5General Rating:
A first for the Spectrum, Star Zone's ZAXXAN.