by Robert Spahl, Thomas Gittelbauer, David John Rowe
Firebird Software Ltd
Crash Issue 51, Apr 1988   page(s) 102

Producer: Firebird
Retail Price: £2.99
Author: R Spahl and T Gittelbauer

The salvation of the world is at stake. No time for preliminary explanations; just strap on a helmet, climb into a flying suit and embark on a bombing run over enemy territory.

The display gives an aerial view of the player's spacecraft flying over the vertically scrolling landscape of land and sea. Attacking alien vessels move in from the top of the screen, and ground bases fire from below. The player's ship is equipped with laser fire to combat airborne enemies and bombs to destroy ground bases. A target constantly superimposed on the screen indicates where the bombs fall.

A colourful panel to the left of the action informs the pilot of his score and the number of lives left. Outstanding performance is rewarded by an extra life every 10,000 points.


Joysticks: Cursor, Kempston, Sinclair
Graphics: as with most games of this genre the monochromatic backgrounds make the bullets hard to distinguish
Sound: repetitive tune
Options: definable keys

Shoot 'em ups hit the software shelves with monotonous regularity every month and Xarax doesn't stand out from the crowd: it's just a competent, rather unexceptional game. Bombing and blasting is moderately exciting at first, growing challenging as the gameplay progresses and finally becoming a tedious and repetitive chore. This is aggravated by the fact that enemy fire is difficult to see. If you want to while away an afternoon with some fairly conventional shooting then Xarax should fit the bill.

I remember when it was a pleasure to play a Firebird game because they were all original and fresh; Xarax is merely a mixture of old ideas. The tune doesn't flow properly and the layout and idea have been stolen from Mirrorsoft's Moonstrike. Despite this, the game is neatly set out and the graphics are reasonably clear. Colour is used well on the borders but is a bit lacking in the game itself, which eventually becomes just a matter of remembering the attack waves.

Presentation: 54%
Graphics: 54%
Playability: 52%
Addictive Qualities: 49%
Overall: 52%

Summary: General Rating: In a market full of monochrome vertically scrolling shoot 'em ups, Xarax is easily forgotten.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

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