Classic Computer Magazine Archive CREATIVE COMPUTING VOL. 9, NO. 9 / SEPTEMBER 1983 / PAGE 146

Colorful games for the color computer. (evaluation) Owen W. Linzmayer.


Glaxxons is a hi-res game for one or two players, each armed with a joystick and a quick trigger finger. Loosely based on Galaxian, the arcade game from Midway, Glaxxons pits the players against swirling hordes of space attackers. As a large convoy of invaders slides back and forth, crazed aliens break out of formation and swoop down at the player's ship. While trying to avoid collisions with these rambunctious pests, you must also attempt to pick off the shots fired by the aliens remaining in the squadron. One feature that sets it apart from other Galaxian clones is that in Glaxxons, the player can move his ship up and down in addition to left and right. This opens up a whole new dimension in the gameplay.

The response to the joystick controls is excellent. I find that playing Glaxxons with an Atari switch-activated joystick is far better than playing with a Radio Shack potentiometr stick. (Instructions on how to convert your old Atari joystick for use with the Color Computer are on page 240 in the May issue of Creative Computing.)

Glaxxons makes extensive use of the hi-res graphics capabilities of the Color Computer. There are four different types of aliens, each one depicted in colorful detail. The animation of the invaders is very well done. As they swoop down to attack your ship, they swirl, twist, and dance in the skies. These movements are designed to confuse you, and often lead to your destruction.

If you are the kind of person who finds arcade games difficult to handle, be wary of this one. "Glaxxons appeals to people who enjoy fast, exciting games," comments Ron Krebs, president of Mark Data Products. "It's not for the timid."

You set the speed of the game, and also choose the difficulty level. These options make Glaxxons suitable for a wide range of game-playing enthusiasts. Glaxons also has pause and abort game features.

When compared to some other games, Glaxxons falls a little short in the sound effects department. Nonetheless, it is one of the best buys in the Color Computer software market. I rank it in the top ten percent of the games now available. No die-hard Galaxian fan can be without Glaxxons. Zaxxon

It was early in the morning when the postman arrived here at our Morris Plains editorial office. While looking through my mail, I noticed a small cardboard box from DataSoft. After casually peeling off the masking tape and opening the package, I discovered a copy of Zaxxon for the Color Computer. Little did I realize that within this unassuming box was a product of such quality and excitement that the better part of an entire day would be devoted to playing the game.

Until recently, the licensing of coin-op video games has been very limited in the computer field. We are just beginning to see some of the major software houses buying up the rights to produce home versions of the popular arcade games. Zaxxon, from DataSoft, is a member of this new breed of computer games.

The object of Zaxxon is to shoot and destroy a powerful enemy robot. To meet this robot, you must first pilot your fighter plane through a floating space fortress, battle up to 20 enemy jets in outer space, and then survive a flight through yet another fortress bristling with missile silos and enemy bunkers. It is no easy task.

Zaxxon is designed for one or two people to play one at a time. Each player must use a separate joystick; a keyboard option is not offered. Pushing the stick forward causes your plane to dive rapidly, and pulling back makes the fighter climb. Many players feel that these "reverse" controls are strange, but that is exactly how most real airplanes react to the movement of a flight control stick. I find that playing with an Atari-style stick is much better than using the Radio Shack joysticks. The Tandy sticks seem to have large dead zones which make delicate maneuvers difficult to perform. As always, this is a personal preference and you should experiment to determine which type of stick you feel most comfortable using.

The thing that sets Zaxxon apart from all other arcade games is the unique three-dimensional view of the action. The innovative graphics are the selling point of both the coin-op and computer versions of Zaxxon. I didn't think that it was possible, but the masters at DataSoft have made the Color Computer adaptation one of the best versions of Zaxxon for any computer or home game system. There is only one way to describe the graphics of Zaxxon: absolutely superlative.

As your fighter gracefully glides into the first fortress, the enemy bunkers come to life. Shooting rockets at your ship, these red pillboxes present problems if you remain close to the battlefield. The stationary enemy planes on the ground also fire at you. Use the gauge on the left side of your screen, as well as the shadow of your plane, to judge your altitude. Beware of the small black holes scattered along the surface; these are the openings of missile silos. The large circular tanks located in the fortress contain valuable fuel and shooting them replenishes your supply. All of these objects can be destroyed with a single shot, but you must avoid colliding with them. Also found in the fortress are radar dishes and force fields. The dishes are to be blown up, but you must either carefully sneak under or climb over the force fields. After weaving your way through the first fortress, you enter space.

In outer space, you must dispose of a series of enemy fighter planes. If you destroy a complete squadron (20 planes) before the second fortress appears, you earn bonus points. As you wrestle with the joystick, the planes diminish in size as they retreat into the distance and grow as they make daring attacks. After a predetermined length of time, the second fortress scrolls into view. This floating battlefield is much like the first, except that the enemy robot besides at the far end of this one. To destroy the robot, you must manage six direct hits on its homing missile. Otherwise the missile is launched with you as its target!

While the graphics are what really make this game excellent, the fine sound effects should not be overlooked. It may be true that "in space no one can hear you scream," but they certainly can hear you explode. Whenever you lose a ship, you hear a dynamic blast from the speaker. The other sound effects, such as surface explosions and the firing of your rockets, seem deliberately muffled.

If you are fairly good at the coin-op game, the Color Computer version of Zaxxon may prove somewhat easy. Those who are familiar with it should be happy to note that many of the editors here have commented that the Color Computer adaptation looks and plays better than the ColecoVision Zaxxon. Steve Bjork, the person who programmed the Color Computer version is in an awkward position: what can he do for an encore?

One thing that may keep Zaxxon out of your reach is its rather lofty price tag. If $39.95 seems like a great deal of money, just think how much the licensing agreement must have cost. Unless you make it worth their while by buying the products, Color Computer software companies will probably not continue to produce standard-setting games such as Zaxxon.

Products: Glaxxons (video game)
Zaxxon (video game)
The Sands of Egypt (video game)