for the Atari Lynx
Licensed by Bally/Midway
for 1-4 players
It's some time in the undisclosed future, and a human colony in a far-off planet lives in isolation. Their tranquility is interrupted when their orbiting space stations are overrun with Xenos -- bug-eyed monsters very reminescent of what Sigorney Weaver fought off in ALIENS.
If the Xenos get accustomed to human atmospheres on the space stations, they will eagerly attack the humans on the planet below. As a result, you (and up to three other friends) are called upon to kill the Xenos and save the day.
Okay, storyline's over. For those of you who are not familliar with the original Bally arcade game, Xenophobe has you maneuvering a hero through 23 space stations, killing (almost) anything that moves. You pick a persona from one of nine human and semi-human characters (different looks, same skills), then crawl, walk, jump and fall your way through the stations, getting weapons and artifacts, fighting the numerous alien critters.
There's not too much variety in this game. You get to grab treasures, explore rooms, and operate machinery, but the bulk of the game is killing the Xenos. There are 23 space stations of different sizes, hence 23 levels, and the manual hints at a "final confrontation" at the end of the game. Each level can end in one of three ways, from the high-scoring "destroy all monsters" (wasn't that a Godzilla movie of the '60s?) to the wimpy (and low-scoring) "escape with your life". Your hero stays alive as long as he has enough health points (lost when attacked by aliens or explosives); when he dies, you can pick another to continue the fight.
People familliar with the original arcade game will find that the Lynx version has been expanded a bit. The stations seem much bigger, with a bit more exploration than before. There are new artifacts, like the flying jetpack and the health-restoring vitamins, to help you survive. The Xenos remain the same: crawling critters, rolling rollerbabies, hypnotic Festors, and more, all of them creeping all over the place...
Early reviews of Xenophobe report that the game was too easy. Nah. In single-player games, you only get to play up to four characters before the game ends. In multi-player games, you play as long as undead heroes remain; when the pool of eight are gone, you all lose. With 23 levels of varying sizes, this game looks like it will take a while to master.
A few other goodies worth noting: In multiplayer games, one player can choose to be an alien spitting Snotterpillar, and hunt his friends. Compared to the arcade version, the Lynx Xenophobe is easier to control, thanks to all the buttons being used. Finally, like SLIME WORLD, Xenophobe makes it easy to Comlynx everyone up: Just wait at the main title page, until the correct number of players is displayed.
Graphics are adequate. Nothing spectacular, yet not dissapointing. Like the arcade, Xenophobe graphics look more "cutesy" than scary, with heroes looking like caricatures, Xenos looking cartooney, and assorted goofy touches here and there.
Sounds are also adequate but not outstanding. The opening title music is completely forgettable, and aside from a musical tune between levels, the only game sounds are the noises of battle. You want audio entertainment, go elsewhere.
Overall, An average-decent game, good for players who don't want complicated gameplay to get in the way. Best recommended for fans of the original Xenophobe arcade game, quick-action gamers, or multiplayer game fans.
Gameplay: 7.5 Graphics: 6.5 Sound: 6 Overall: 7