reviewed by Harvey Kong Tin, Hull


Issue 4

Jul/Aug 83

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1 PLAYER      32K DISK

This is an adaptation of a popular 3-D arcade game for the Atari 400/800 computers. You are the pilot of a spacefighter craft that flies through a heavily defended space fortress in pursuit of the robot Zaxxon. You have to fly through gaps in walls and choose to shoot fuel dumps (which when hit refuels your own craft), tank guns, radar dishes, parked enemy fighters or avoid them. After your first pass through, you face enemy fighters flying in outer-space. Having survived you take on the fortress again, this time with high walls and force-fields. Low on fuel you have to shoot what fuel dumps you can and then position your craft at the right height to pass through the narrow gaps between the walls and force-fields. At the back of the fortress lies the Zaxxon robot with its deadly homing missile. All you need is six direct hits on Zaxxon to destroy it. Having done so, you have cycled through one complete phase of Zaxxon, ready to take on the next difficulty level.

The arcade game has a very heavily armed fortress, complete with missile silos, and buildings-these added features are missing on the home computer version, and instead of a 3-D dogfight in outer-space with enemy fighters, this is compromised into a 2-D battle. In the arcade, Zaxxon is a huge fearsome robot, but it has shrunk in size for the Atari computer. The 3-D flying difficulty is present as in the arcade, but the fortress is somewhat barren in comparison - this will disappoint arcade followers of the game who will keep going back to the arcade machines to play this visually stunning game. There is also the De-luxe version in the arcades with its cute dragon to fight.

Datasoft has not produced a faithful adaptation of the Sega game and this will disappoint many unaware buyers of the game - it is still a reasonable playable 3-D game for the Atari and will amaze those who have not heard of Zaxxon before.