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Written by  :  Trixter (9119)
Written on  :  Feb 10, 2003
Platform  :  Lynx
Rating  :  3.75 Stars3.75 Stars3.75 Stars3.75 Stars3.75 Stars
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Summary

Proof that coin-op conversions can be just as fun as the original, regardless of resolution.

The Good

Being a fan of the original game, which blatantly plagarizes Aliens with a comic-book feel, I was pleasantly surprised by the Lynx port of Xenophobe. Not only is it true to the arcade coin-op in gameplay, but it manages to expand gameplay without being unfaithful to the original.

The original game uses a resolution of 512x480 to display three seperate playfields, so that you can see yourself and two of your teammates at the same time. Even though a single playfield is a third of that, you would think it impossible to represent a virtual "512x160" on a tiny 160x102 screen -- but the results are fantastic. Check the screenshots yourself if you don't believe me. It's clear that every single sprite and background was lovingly retooled for the Lynx's small screen down to the level of single pixels.

Because the playfield only represents the current player, you can ComLynx one more than the original, up to four players at the same time. To compensate for this, the designers made an interesting choice in doubling the number of characters you can play, and allowing you to play them until the game is over. For a single player, this means that you have more "continues"; for multiplayer, it means that you can continue at least once.

Multiplayer has another surprise in that you can play a snotterpillar. Not played for points, playing as a snotterpillar is just to screw with your (now former) teammates when there aren't any continues left.

The Bad

The only bad thing I have to say about the Lynx port of Xenophobe is that it retains the difficulty level of the original arcade game. The premise is great, but the core concept can overwhelm you on the later levels to the point where you are constantly getting spit on, zapped, knocked down, chomped, and hung (via tentacles) for 10 to 20 seconds on end, without any chance of fighting back. Teamplay strategies may mitigate this.

The Bottom Line

Even if you're not a fan of the arcade original, you owe it to yourself to get this if you own a Lynx. Multiplayer is a blast, and single-player gives you enough continues that it stays fair longer.