This flick-screen action game combines shoot 'em up and platform elements, as you control a flying man who can gain an exoskeletal suit for extra protection (hence the name). Your task is to progress from left to right in each level, either along the ground or by using the arrangement of platforms. Most of the baddies can be avoided rather than shot, and this is often easier, especially as you can duck or jump to avoid them. As well as a standard gun (activated by tapping fire) you also have a limited number of missiles to take out installations (activated by holding down fire, which makes autofire facilities useless).
Credits (Commodore 64 version)
Average score: 76% (based on 12 ratings)
Average score: 3.2 out of 5 (based on 27 ratings with 1 reviews)
In Exolon, you are Vitorc, an astronaut sent to destroy a variety of aliens across five alien environments, as well as any obstacles that block his way. Each environment consists of twenty-five zones (screens) that must be negotiated carefully.
Vitorc has two weapons at his disposal. The blaster can be used against most alien swarms, while grenades destroy a large obstacle that stop you from proceeding. In addition, Vitorc can enter an upgrade station (only one on each level) that will change the blaster into a double-shot. I like the double-shot, as getting it means that there is less difficulty in killing aliens.
Exolon was originally designed for 8-bit systems. When they converted it to 16-bit platforms, Hewson decided to make everything bigger, including the main character sprite, obstacles, and the background (which is now animated). The game seems to be a lot faster due to the programmer tweaking the memory. For these reasons, I prefer playing the 16-bit versions.
I like the simple controls. You can only walk left and right, jump by pushing the joystick up, and release grenades by holding the fire button. The game has that “just one more go” addictive feeling to.
Exolon has a high replayability factor, since each zone cannot be re-entered. There are different routes you can take through the game. Most of the zones have an upper floor, which can be accessed with teleports. You can alternate between walking on the upper and lower floors, or just stick to the lower floors. I found out that the upper floors usually contain ammo and grenades, so if you are the kind of person who likes to hurl grenades at anything, the upper floors are for you. Once you have completed the game, it wouldn't hurt to go back and take a different route.
The game offers no level codes so that you can access different sections. Exolon expects you to finish it in one go; and if you lose all your lives anywhere, that's it. You have to start the game from the very beginning.
There is no option on the title screen that allows you to turn off the background music and turn on the sound effects. The same one piece of music does get annoying after a while, and the sound effects would have sounded great on the Amiga if they were implemented. The only option is to push the off button on your speakers.
Finally, I found the controls a bit sensitive. Many times I enter a teleport, only to warp back out again because I didn't know that I pushed up on the joystick twice. More often than not, when I do this, I ended up warping right in front of a missile. Not good at all.
The Bottom Line
Exolon is one of the games with no real plot. You have to blast your way through five planets that consist of twenty-five screens each. To do this successfully, you are going to need to use your blaster as well as grenades. Most of the screens have an upper platform, and the only way to get to these is through teleports.
The 16-bit versions feature large graphics, an animated background, and background music. There are a few bad things, too, including having to listen to that one irritating turn, the lack of level codes, and the sensitive controls. Other than that, this is a good game that every retro gamer should play once in a while.
Amiga · by Katakis | カタキス (43093) · 2011
The Amiga and ST cheat mode in this game takes it name (perhaps coincidentally) from a classic Sinclair Spectrum game (check the Tips section and search for the name if you're curious - it is not posted here as it'd be a spoiler)
- Commodore Format
- November 1994 (Issue 50) – #41 The All-Time Top 50 C64 Games
Related Sites +
retro*GAMER (The Making Of)
For combined platforms.
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Contributors to this Entry
Game added by Martin Smith.
Game added August 30, 2004. Last modified February 13, 2024.