by Barry Leitch, Leslie Long, Martin Hooley, Mick Hanrahan
Micro Style
Your Sinclair Issue 48, Dec 1989   page(s) 66,67

£9.99 cass/£14.99 disk
Reviewer: Robin Alway

MicroProse must be running out of things to simulate, having already churned out games based around every possible type of death dealing vehicle. Oh, with the exception of milkfloats that is. There's a notable gap in the range when it comes to milkfloats. Now it's turning its hand to coin-ops with the first release on its new 'Games For Adults (But With No Whey Hey Parts)' MicroStyle label.

Xenophobe, the coin-op, is a viewed-trom-the-side, exploration-based, multi-player blasterama which usually prises a few 50ps from me whenever we meet. And, with the nauseating sincerity of Miriam Stoppard, I can confirm that this is a pretty authentic conversion.

The plot's contrived rubbish. My copy's on its way to the Friends of the Earth Recycling Dept. So let's concentrate instead on the real nitty-gritty of the game which is to clean up space stations packed to the rivets with some aliens of the Xeno genus. Said clean up job can be done alone or with another player and the screens split in half to provide each of you with a view of the action.

Each level needs to be rid of Xenos in a set time, before they completely overrun the place, and there's a nice selection of hi-tech sci-fi weaponry for you to utilise. Once the Xeno count on the space station is zilcho you're beamed back to ship and given a lilt to the next level (of which there's a total of four).

You won't find scarier baddies than the ones in this game. They sap your health points so inventively too. Some cling to you, others spit and the worst of all zaps zillions of health points with his mesmerising version of the Paddington Bear Hard Stare. The skill with which they've been drawn extends to all the graphics which, although monochrome, are beautifully crisp and clear. Spooky soundtrack too.

Xenophobe's biggest problem is life expectancy. The attempted strategy elements (having a selection of different characters to control and ID cards and keys to access certain areas, for example) might eek a few extra hours out of it but, on the whole, gameplay's fairly shallow, with the same combination of crouch and fire tactics appearing to get you past most of the baddies. The original's addictiveness came from an accommodating nature which allowed simultaneous three player games. Only couples can play together on the Spectrum and annoyingly this slows the game down pretty drastically. It's definitely worth seeking out though, but if the arcade machine didn't give you excited palpitations then this won't either.

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Life Expectancy: 68%
Instant Appeal: 73%
Graphics: 78%
Addictiveness: 77%
Overall: 76%

Summary: Fans of the coin-op will find this tasty, authentic conversion fills the gap. The enjoyment of everyone else will probably be short term.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

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