Tuesday, March 10, 2009
Zaxxon (C64, 1984)
Hello! Hope you like the re-decoration. That too much white was getting on my nerves, hence the change. Anyway, check out Zaxxon, an ancient shooter from 1984. It's a 3D isometric shoot-em-up, similar to Blue Max, albeit set in space. It's plot no-doubt involves the usual sci-fi nonsense. It's pretty certain that you're the good guy and you must liberate a planet - a galaxy even - from the bad guys. But hey, if you're feeling foul today, why not take the role of the villain? It's up to you.
The gameplay consists of basically two sections, one where you fly over what seems to be a space-base, and one where you're just shooting enemy ships in outer-space. The cool thing about Zaxxon (and Blue Max in that sense) is that it works in three different axes. See, not only you have to move left to right and backwards and forwards, but also up and down - change altitude in other words. That works quite neatly, even though it can result in a few clumsy moves with the joystick. This is a kind of shoot-em-up that is more sophisticated than your average vertical or horizontal shooter. And just look at those lovely shadows and explosions. Great for an 1984 game, no?
Wait a minute, did I say sophisticated? The main problem with Zaxxon is that it doesn't have enough levels. There's basically two space-bases and two outer-space sections. Finish those and you play them again - with slightly increased difficulty. Finish those and the game loops ever after. See, that was quite common in 1984. Games just weren't that complex back then.
In that sense, Zaxxon is a bit of an oxymoron. You have quite a sophisticated structure - and it is my opinion that this is a more sophisticated game than, say, all the R-Types out there; but you don't get enough of it cause there's not enough levels.