Sanxion (Thalamus) Review | Zzap - Everygamegoing

Zzap


Sanxion
By Thalamus
Commodore 64/128

 
Published in Zzap #19

Sanxion

East-West relations have always been based on mutual friendship. If one side does something to annoy or provoke the other then the relationship turns sour until the diplomats clear up the mess. The 'friendship' has steadily declined since the announcement of the Star Wars program, but when the Americans discovered that somebody had been tampering with their satellites, things went from bad to worse. With a complete breakdown of diplomatic relations, a worried world waited for the buttons to be pushed...

And then, a massive radio signal burst from the Arctic circle, attracting the attention of those about to start the Armageddon. A hasty investigation discovered that the signal had been transmitted from a crashed alien military craft. But by the time an expedition party arrived at the scene, the alien was dead. Nevertheless, both body and craft were in a remarkably good condition and both were brought back to civilized areas for examination. Over the following months, eminent scientists studied the craft and its contents, and began to learn and understand the alien technology. A breakthrough occurred when a computer specialist managed to get the ship's on-board computer to function.

Instantly, many professors of language were bought in to translate its records, a task which proved quite a simple one. From this it was gleaned that the craft was from a large alien empire, worried about man's technological advances. They thought that within a hundred years or so mankind would pose a direct threat to their supreme domination - consequently, they had planned to bring about mankind's downfall by fiddling with America's satellites, knowing that global nuclear conflict would result.

With this information, both East and West realised their stupid mistake and an amnesty was signed. Now there was a second problem: Earth had been alerted to the presence of the alien force, and the force wanted to purge mankind... an alien invasion was imminent.

With the amnesty signed, East and West started work on 'Project Damocles', a global defence system to ward off the impending alien attack. Leading scientists were brought together to construct a fleet of ships based on the advanced alien technology, and within twelve months 'Operation Sanxion' was put into effect. The best pilots from all over the world were drafted into the newly formed Sanxion defence corps. They were taught how to fly the new breed of planes so they could constantly patrol the planet.

The player is bought into the game weeks after the advent of Operation Sanxion. Playing the role of a Sanxion pilot, you must constantly patrol your 'beat', ten sectors of Earth, and destroy any alien infiltrators.

Using a single direction horizontal scrolling format, Sanxion is a shoot-'em-up which pits you against the marauding alien invaders. The screen is split into two sections: the main screen is the playing area, while at the top an impending attack scanner acts as a radar, alerting the pilot to alien presence before they come into visual contact.

The ship can increase and decrease its speed and also change altitude, done with logical movements of the joystick. Pressing the fire button releases laser bolts which destroys most alien craft on contact.

At the beginning of a game, the player has a reserve of two ships, but if one comes into contact with an alien ship, or the debris when it explodes, then it's destroyed. All is not lost, however, since an extra ship is awarded every 10,000 points.

Each sector has different features, but all have a ReGen station where skillful pilots have the opportunity to earn bonus points by partaking in a training session. Here the ship becomes invincible and drone ships are thrown into the playing area. There are several different types of training sessions where drone ships can be shot, dodged, picked up, or crashed into - depending on the type of screen. If the pilot is skillful enough to dispose of the full quota of drones, an extra 1,000 point bonus is granted. Extra points can also be gained by completing a sector before the sector timer reaches zero. If this happens then the remaining time is converted into bonus points.

Once all ten sectors have been patrolled, you are considered competent enough to tackle the tough and demanding night patrol on the Darkside. But beware - as time goes on the aliens become more and more hostile...

RE

There have been loads of shoot-'em-ups recently and don't mind admitting that I am bored with them. However Sanxion is different. It seems much more than your run of the mill blaster. The graphics are great, and the superb parallax scrolling works a treat. The wobbly movement of the ship makes the game just that little bit more realistic. As well as fast shooting, there are some nasty old puzzles on certain sections which will need plenty of practice to perfect.

Sanxion is a dream to both watch and play - I think it's ace. With the added feature of the bonus section, it really does stand superior above all other attempts to produce a game this addictive and playable.

JR

This isn't the best thing since sliced bread, but it's certainly a damn tasty uncut loaf. It's one of the most impressive and playable shoot-'em-ups I've seen since... oh, Iridis Alpha. Sanxion isn't wholly original, but it's great fun to play - and that's what counts. The stunning graphics, well-cool music and sound effects are an added bonus. The title screen music is brilliant and makes a welcome change from the run-of-the-mill 'boom chaka boom' stuff. The spot FX are great too.

I would go so far as to say that Sanxion is better than Uridium in virtually all respects - the graphics are superior in quality and are more varied, as are the play elements. At least, I think so. If you like a decent shoot-'em-up and are stupid enough to think I'm biased, then take a look at Sanxion for yourself - you won't be disappointed.

GP

No doubt this will be compared by some to Uridium, simply because it scrolls and uses bas-relief graphics to create some of the backdrops. Well, it's not like Braybrook's game at all and owes more to the arcade game Nemesis than anything else.

Sanxion is a great shoot-'em-up, with plenty of variety - some of the alien ships are really nasty. The graphics are really superb with some excellent backdrops and stunning sprites. The loading music is really good, as are the sound effects - although I'm not too keen on the classical piece on the title screen. If you're after a really neat shoot-'em-up, then go out and buy it.

Verdict

Presentation 92%
Great loading screen and music. A few useful options, and a decent high score table.

Graphics 98%
Stunning parallax scrolling backdrops, great sprites and neat visual effects.

Sound 97%
The Rob Hubbard loading music is one of his best compositions; the title screen music and spot FX are also superb.

Hookability 96%
Immediately impressive and addictive.

Lastability 92%
Not overly varied but highly playable and compulsive.

Value For Money 88%
Forty levels of high speed, high quality action for your money.

Overall 93%
One of this year's better blasts.