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Atari STAtari ST User
The music is superb, and a neat touch in the way a digitised picture of one of the Bitmap Brothers - the programmers - pops up and announce the start of each section. This game is an absolute must and deserves a place in every arcade game collection. I can thoroughly recommend it to anyone looking for the ultimate fast action shoot-'em-up.
Atari STComputer and Video Games (CVG)
It's difficult for me to tell you how good Xenon is. All the clichés are too well worn. You know what I mean, statements like "it's worth to buy an ST just to play this" - that kind of crap. All I will say is that in five years of reviewing computer games this is the best shoot-'em-up I've played. This is arcade entertainment to play at home and no bull.
AmigaThe Games Machine (UK)
The different weapons to collect and the graphically varying levels give Xenon more depth than Insanity Fight
and other shoot-'em-ups in a similar vein. One of the best action games on the Amiga to date, setting new standards in coin-op conversions.
AmigaACE (Advanced Computer Entertainment)
The Bitmap Bros have managed to strike that fine balance between frustration and addiction, and have produced a wonderful game. It's just a shame all this sort of thing has been seen and done before. The sound is superb, the graphics are wonderful, and the gameplay is terrific. Xenon must be one of the best coin-up conversions to appear on the Amiga (not surprising considering the actual coin-up version is based around Amiga boards). A very competent albeit unoriginal game.
Atari STACE (Advanced Computer Entertainment)
It's still one of the best of its kind around.
Atari STACE (Advanced Computer Entertainment)
The Bitmap Bros have managed to strike that fine balance between frustration and addiction, and have produced a wonderful game. It's just a shame all this sort of thing has been seen and done before. The graphics are superb, the installations and explosions are wonderfully-drawn. Sound consists of some atmospheric tunes and great explosion effects. Control of your craft is good, though you can find yourself changing craft at a crucial moment simply because you were "waggling" the joystick.
Atari STST Action
We at the ST Action office haven't managed to complete level two yet and, having played the game for so long, you'd have thought we may have become bored with it by now but Xenon has been well designed and programmed with the result that the player yearns for that "one last go". It is interesting to learn that this game has simultaneously been released in the arcades on Mastertronic's Arcadia label. I suspect Xenon to be a big hit in the seaside slot halls, but, before you deposit those precious silver coins, I suggest you buy the ST version first and get in a bit of practice. Although Xenon represents nothing staggeringly new, it is well implemented and extremely playable. For these reasons alone, Xenon will surely be the finest shoot 'em-up to-date in your collection.
Atari STThe Games Machine (UK)
Players of the original won't be disappointed with the conversion as all the tactics used in the coin-op game can be applied to the computer version exactly. Xenon is the most challenging ST shoot-'em-up so far.
After the 50-year Arachnid War, the universe has settled into a period of trading and artistic accomplishment. Philosophy and religion have reached a point where science has answered many of their fundamental mysteries. Spacecraft have been sent to the edge of the cosmos and found close space, leading thinkers to believe that there were no more sentient species to be contacted. However, they were proven wrong with the sudden emergence of the Xenites, and their rapid colonisation of 15 planets. Now, ten years after their first appearance, the Xenites hold a grip of terror on the merchants and traders who dare to cross the vastness of space, for raids are frequent, swift and deadly.
ZX SpectrumComputer and Video Games (CVG)
It's you against the rest of the universe in this vertical scrolling blaster. The graphics and sound are quite neat, and the game is very playable indeed, if a tad tough. Overall, a very good blast, and well worth shelling out for.
Commodore 64The Games Machine (UK)
The Commodore version fares better on colour of course, than the Spectrum. As with the other versions, the aliens are a tough bunch to destroy, leaving you on the first couple of screens for a while, but none of the 16-bit playability has been lost.
ZX SpectrumThe Games Machine (UK)
128K owners are in for a musical treat - you'll be hard pushed to tell the difference between it and that on the ST. But for everyone it's a remarkable conversion. Animation is smooth, the number of aliens awesome, the alien-blasting finger-breaking.
ZX SpectrumACE (Advanced Computer Entertainment)
The game that made The Bitmap Bros famous makes it onto the 8-bit machines. The graphics are as good as you could get from a Spectrum, and though all the extra weapons aren't there, the gameplay is. A great conversion of a good shoot-em-up.
Commodore 64Commodore Format
The thing about Xenon it isn't particularly fast, but it's very smooth and is set at just the right addictiveness and difficulty levels. You'll keep coming back to it when you should be doing your homework or going to bed or whatever (which could cause a few family related prob's).
Amstrad CPCComputer and Video Games (CVG)
The Amstrad conversion of the Bilmaps' first scrolling shooter hits the Amstrad budget market and we're pleased to report that it's a nippy little game with plenty of shoot 'em up action. The variety in the backdrops is a tad lacking but otherwise this is fine.
AmigaComputer and Video Games (CVG)
Ready yourself for plenty of vertically scrolling shoot 'em up action in this re-release of one of the first quality Amiga games. The action's a bit dated for gamesters of today, but those after a challenge could do a damn sight worse than this
Atari STST Format
[Budget re-release] Those attention-seeking Bitmaps struck out on the rocky road to stardom with this shoot-'em-up. In 1987 it was something of a bestseller but now it looks a tad dated. You must make your way through a plethora of levels, changing between an airborne ﬁghter and ground-based attack craft. If your budget doesn't stretch to Xenon 2
, then you could do a lot worse than sharpen your joystick thrashing skills on this simple blaster.
Graphically it's not too bad, with well defined characters and backdrops, although everything is pretty repetitive, variety to some degree being sacrificed to difficulty. And it is HARD - in fact I'd say that this version beats the hell out of the 16-bits in terms of toughness. Trouble is, it's this level of difficulty, together with the problem with the bullets, which ensures that Xenon's just pretty good rather than really brill.
Commodore 64Your Commodore
Decent vertical scrolling, an inventive use of the vehicles to swap between, reasonable music and FX, and the bas relief graphics that were to become a Bit Map trade mark (even if they didn't actually write this version) combine to give you a good blasting experience with the odd novel twist. [...] Xenon isn't as intense as many a recent blaster, but it is still pretty good value at a budget price, offering an entertaining number of features, if not division one destruction anymore.
The C64 game is even tougher with a hail of bullets and ships with a dull main craft leading to some confusion. Being sent back to the start of the level soon gets wearisome, while the tune is weak. Repetitive and unoriginal it compares badly to Silkworm.
Commodore 64Commodore Force
This little number caused a wave of excitement on the 16-bit machines a couple of years back. Pity it's magnificence didn't transcend onto the 64. A time waster.
Commodore 64Computer and Video Games (CVG)
Unlike the nifty Speccy version, C64 Xenon plays like a dead hippo. Dull graphics don't help the matter any, and the ship handles like a slug in treacle. Not a very good shoot 'em up, so leave it on the shelf.
Atari STPower Play
Es war Liebe auf den ersten Blick, doch die Beziehung hielt nicht lange: Xenon ist eines von den Spielen, die zunächst mehr versprechen als sie halten. Grafik und Sound sind gehobene ST-Klasse: gutes Scrolling, schön gezeichnete Gegner und starke Musik. Doch es gibt leider auch ein paar gesalzene spielerische Mängel. Schon der erste Wächter, der einem im ersten Level begegnet, ist nur sehr schwer zu besiegen - vor allem deshalb, weil man hier unsinnigerweise die meisten Extrawaffen abgezogen bekommt. Nahezu unspielbar wird das Geschehen ab Level zwei, doch wenn man hier hängenbleibt, versäumt man nicht allzuviel: In den weiteren Spielstufen wird wenig Neues geboten. Wer nicht gerade einen Hang zum Masochismus hat, wird mit Xenon nicht allzu glücklich werden - schade um die technischen Stärken.
Commodore 64Commodore User
Xenon is a truly dire game. The scrolling is smooth enough, but what a shame about the action. The collision detection is awful, as is the sprite masking. [...] At first glance, a conversion in the truest sense of the word, but at second glance, a steaming great mistake that should never have been allowed out of the Melbourne House stable. A joke, and no mistake guv.