Review by KasketDarkfyre

Reviewed: 08/04/02 | Updated: 08/04/02

"Can You Complete Your Mission Before Zaxxon Zaps You?"

Finding one of these games in an arcade isn’t all that hard as long as you’re looking for a classic section. Zaxxon is one of the first games that I played in the arcade, that featured multi-level flying and enemy extermination. While the premise of the game is easy to pick up, controlling and understanding just what you have to do during the game is a completely different story. If you’re up for some challenge against a computer controlled enemy set that seems to have the advantage at all times, and you like the rather odd three-quarter view that this game offers, then you’re in for the ride of your life here!

-The Game Play-

Zaxxon is a side scrolling shooter in which you take control of a small fighter that must pilot through a large technological city in order to take on Zaxxon, a seemingly homicidal robot creature. Through the trip in the city, you can blast away at anything that comes near you, but you have to keep an eye on your fuel gauge in order to complete the stages. Now, the enemies that come at you aren’t your only hazards, and you’ll find that you have to learn just how to level your fighter out in order to get around the numerous obstacles that get in your way.

Another challenge to the difficulty is that if you don’t move your fighter around and you do absolutely nothing on the screen, then a missile will be fired at you that you just can’t avoid. This is to keep the player from simply leaving the ship at a certain altitude and coasting through the various stages. An added bit of difficulty that is here comes with the fact that you have to learn the altitude portion of the game in order to fly through some tough spots. Once you’ve gotten this down, then you’ll find that the game is fairly easy enough to complete!

Control in Zaxxon is done with either a flight stick that has the laser button in the control, or with a joystick that has a firing button on the faceplate of the game. Now, this might seem a little odd, but with the differences in the game play cabinet, you either work with a standing machine that features the fighter stick, or the bar table that gives you the simple to use joystick. Either way, controlling your fighter is easy enough to do once you’ve gotten the hang of it and the hardest portion of learning is the altitude system.

-The Visuals-

Visually, Zaxxon is a solid game that has plenty of technical stages and machinery themed levels. Explosions and laser blasts as well as neat looking enemies and obstacles in your way will give you plenty to look at. One of the coolest features however, is when you happen to get blown up, the screen flashes in strange, chrome fashions that give you the sense of really screwing up. Also, Zaxxon features a three-quarter view of the game, which is a different version of how most shooting games are! Aside from that, Zaxxon is pretty simple in the way that it is presented, and the shadowing effects of the enemies and your fighter really give depth to the overall experience.

-The Audio-

The audio is Zaxxon is pretty easy going, though the cabinet that I played seems to have had some problems with the sound effects. While the explosions and the blasts are all pleasant to the ears, they cut out after a few minutes of play and I was left with the constant droning of the music. The music selection that you find here is nothing spectacular by any means, and you’ll find that the game track repeats over and over, so be ready to hear little more than the sounds of other arcade machines!

-The Verdict-

Zaxxon is a neat little shooting game that gives you a different way to play along with some pretty interesting challenge. The visuals, even for a game this old, are solid and worthwhile and the control is challenging yet dead-on. The only bad point to the game that I could find was with the audio, though after a little research, I found that some of the older Zaxxon games had a problem with the sound card. No matter which way that you slice it, you’ll find that Zaxxon is worth playing if you’re into the old style shooting game!

Rating:   4.0 - Great

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