Written by  :  Игги Друге (46434)
Written on  :  Jan 01, 2007
Platform  :  MSX
Rating  :  1.75 Stars1.75 Stars1.75 Stars1.75 Stars1.75 Stars

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Another unworthy conversion

The Good

When Xenon was first released, it was billed as a coin-op for your home. Of course, that home had to have an Amiga (or worst case: an ST) installed. It had nice graphics, one of Dave Whittaker's better soundtracks and some 16-bit gimmicks such as sampled sound and video.

The concept of transforming between plane and tank is also inventive, and something I've not seen even in real arcade games.

The Bad

The MSX could handle a game like this. It couldn't handle all the bells and whistles of the 16-bit versions, but look at a game like Zanac to see how arcade-like gameplay can be implemented even on the MSX1 if only the programmer cares enough.

What the buyer is presented with, is instead another Spectrum port. Only slower. The Speccy has much faster access to video memory than the MSX, but lacks sprites. Here is another game with slow monochrome graphics where you lose track of your monochrome ship (why didn't they use sprites?) in all the black and white "action". It is not worth the loading time, and it is an insult towards the hardware it is running on. The only saving grace is the soundtrack, which is just as good as on the Amiga and ST.

The Bottom Line

Xenon is an obscure game, dwarfed by its famous follow-up. It has not aged very well, but it is nevertheless an interesting piece of Amiga history. On the MSX1, it is an interesting piece in the long history of bad conversions.