Xeno
Copyright/Publisher: ANF/Amtix, Release Year: 1985,
Genre: Weird Sports, Number Of Players: 1 or 2

As the years pass, old sports become antiquated and new ones are introduced. Look at history - the Romans thought it was great fun watching poor deluded Christins being eaten by lions. Then came the origins of football - soldiers kicking the severed heads of slaughtered opponents around the battlefield! The Vikings though it was a really neat game, but today we don't do things like that (more's the pity).

Inter-village rugby matches where the pitch could be up to two miles longs and the ball was rarely seen by the majority of players would seem very antiquated these days, yet it wasn't that long ago it was in vogue. And what of contemporary sports? What will happen to tennis, football and cricket? Will they be replaced by something new? A 'n' F think so, and have produced Xeno, a new type of sport which they think could appear in a future age.

Xeno is the sport that future generations will flock to see: two opponents enclosed in their respective saucer-shaped craft attempting to knock a puck into each others goal. Each game is split into four quarters, the duratiom (in minutes) being set by the player. There is also the option of one or two player match, with the single player version pitting the participant against the computer. The computer opponent has ten skill levels, one of which can be chosen before a match commences.

The match is played in a hexagonal arena surrounded by an elasticated wall, with a goal (a rectangular hole) at each end of the pitch. The opponents begin the match facing one another, with the puck on the centre spot. When the klaxon sounds the match can begin. The players make alternate moves, moving a cursor around the pitch using the joystick, and pressing the fire button when the desired spot has been reached. When the fire button is depressed the saucer speeds towards the cursor. When the saucer stops it's the other player's go. The 'time-out' (the length of time a player can take over lining up a shot) is definable, allowing you to take up to nine seconds each turn.

When the saucer is fired it zooms along its preset route, bashing puck or opponent. If the saucer hits the elasticated wall at speedm it rebounds, the speed and angle dependent on the impact. As the pucj is bashed around the arena the screen scrolls to keep up with the action. Consequently it's possible to go off the screen, forcing you to dictate your actions from an unseen position.

The object of the game is simple - to score as many goals as possible before the time limit expires. When a goal is scored play begins from the centre spot again, as it the beginning of each quarter. When the time finally expires the score is displayed, allowing you to gloat or cringe over your performance.

R.E.
It's fast! It's furious! It's frantic! It's also got a lot of faults the spoil what is a brilliant concept. The graphics are blocky and lacking detail, and sound is weak and virtually non-existent, which doesn't induce much of an atmosphere. Unfortunelately the action on the pitch doesn't amount to much either. It's also very frustrating, especially when it's trying to accurately place the pointer. If you fance a futuristic game of shove ha'pennt, give Xeno a whirl. it can be fun.
Julian Rignall
What's appealing about this game? Nothing, that's what. The computer is complete twit and there seems no difference between its 'intelligence' levels - the only way of changing the difficulty levels is by changing the length of the 'time out'. The graphics and sound are totally pathetic, with awful use of colour, and the overall impression given is of a shoddy, unfinished product.

Xeno's only saving grace is its two player option, but when a game is as boring as this you don't really want to play it anyway. If this is the sport of the future then I'm very, very glad to be stuck with the liks of football and rugby...

P.S.
Xeno is an all action, reaction game. However speed isn't everything - an absorbing game is, and sadly Xeno is rather dull. The graphics are poor - the main sprites are blocky, although they move smoothly enough around the play area. The crowd in the arena doesn't look much like a crowd though, and does little to create a suitable atmosphere.

When playing, things can become very confusing as the positioning cursor appears a fair way from your saucer and even gets lost off screen. Most frustrating. Xeno is excellent in concept, but I'm sorry to say that it could have been executed a lot better.


INTRO SCREEN

PRESENTATION 85%
Several options which allow you to change the parameters of the game, and a few neat touches during play.
GRAPHICS 26%
Unimaginative backdrop, use of colour and sprites.
SOUND 4%
Fortunelately, very few, uninspiring spot effects.
HOOKABILITY 40%
An initially interesting concept, but the poor gameplay soon gives way to frustration and boredom.
LASTABILITY 24%
The two player option might provide some lasting interest, but on the whole there's little to draw you back to your 64.
VALUE 21%
Vastly overpriced - a budget price tag would be much more fitting.
OVERALL 30%
A very poor and limited sports 'simulation'.


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