Xenomorph (Pandora) Review | Zzap - Everygamegoing


By Pandora
Amiga 500

Published in Zzap #61


Supplies, supplies! That's where your vocation lies. Unfortunately, while you're carrying out a routine installation on Sirius B disastrous events occur to make you wish you hadn't taken this particular job.

The main part of your ship judders out of Hyperspace on the approach to Sirius B but its detachable cargo pod decides not to follow. Luckily, your on-board CNS (Central Nervous System) remains calm and manages to thaw you out - cryogenics are used extensively in the year 2134 - and informs you of the situation before shutting itself down. After a couple of choruses of 'Freeze a jolly good fellow' you get down to flying half a ship to your destination. Three arduous days later you arrive at the Essen mining station on Sirius B. You should be relieved at having made it but the distinct lack of life in the complex causes concern; you wonder what on Sirius B could have happened to the 200 workers stationed there.

Now, as your main objective, you need to restart your ship and get out of there so you swallow your fear and get ready to explore the complex in the hope of finding the necessary resources (and preferably nothing else). You need fuel for your ship, electrical components for your knackered CNS, and sustenance for yourself... but will you survive long enough to find them?

A t'riffic title track full of sampled shouts an' shots over an oriental(ish) tune is guaranteed to make you stop and listen before inserting disk B to start play. When eventually you do, the screen changes from a very nice graphic of the mining complex to six (equally nice) display windows. These show your view of surroundings (the packaging states it's "Full first person perspective"... I wonder what "Half first person" would look like), inventory, status, direction options, special equipment, and items currently carried in each hand.

Locations update jerkily, but effectively, as you move around with distant areas shown in varying depths of shadow which lighten as you approach - a very nice touch.

FX are good, especially the noise made by your magnum (when you find it), but doors, machinery and so on are equally enhanced by suitable sounds.

As you explore deeper into the complex you come across panels containing clothing, weapons, food, drugs - to combat radiation, hunger, and headaches - or computer terminals. Other objects, such as data disks, are to be found in hard-to-reach nooks and crannies within the complex. Some of the items available to you are explained in the booklet accompanying the game while many others are left for you to discover their use.

As you search and destroy (yes, you do come across the odd alien who needs a good thrashing) keep an eye on your status window: lack of food and drink logically affects your health and too large a dose of radiation has a negative effect on your chances of returning home. Drugs can help with health problems but you need to know codes to access suitable medication - administering any old narcotic into your blood stream could be fatal.

The essence of Xenomorph is mapping: if you don't like having to chart your surroundings you may not appreciate this game. But if you get a kick out of plotting, pop out and purchase Xenomorph and get down to some Sirius game playing!