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5.0 Perfect
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Crossbow Reviews


7800 Rank: None

Genre: Action/ Adventure

Awards: None
Looks Like One of Those Microscopic Photos of Dust Mites Pros: Lots of Rooms to Explore/ Creepy Vibes
Cons: Several Missing Features From the Arcade
Powder and that Banjo Kid From 'Deliverence' Star in Xenophobe
Overview: Here it is! The beginning of the end for mankind! Distress signals are being sent in all directions for help from every station in the galaxy! It is up to your mothership
and your squad of elite soldiers to clear them aliens out and regain control of these infested stations. Yes! Xenophobe is as close to an Alien game as you can get (Besides Alien).

Graphics: The graphics in Xenophobe are adequate. There are different styles of aliens, with the larger ones lacking details. The player sprites are boring. And... most of the backgrounds in Xenophobe are fairly dull. All of the different rooms have the same background color schemes. I would have liked to see the inclusion of the outdoor scenes present in the arcade and NES versions. Only about a dozen different screens actually rotate randomly for each station. That is the bad news. The good news is that all the game's objects such as skulls, weapons, and the health items actually look pretty good. The little cutscenes before each level look cool and the title screen isn't half bad at all for a 7800 game released by Atari.

Sound: Xenophobe's audio isn't really anything to write home about. It is basic standard fare and Atari really could have been done better. There is no background music in the game, which the arcade version features. But at least all of the weapon sounds are slightly different from each other and those audio samples fit well. The game's sound effects are OK... there just doesn't seem to be enough of them.

Gameplay: The 7800 version of Xenophobe shines here. The basic gameplay involves you (and a buddy) running around space stations and eliminating the alien baddies while trying to avoid damage before the space station is overrun. Stupid moves like jumping into doors do not feel too good and will hurt your health bar. You can end a level by one of three ways: 1) You either find all the aliens and toast em, which is the best way to do it as you get more points and bonuses. 2) You can dilly dally and let the aliens overrun the station where you escape with your life to the mothership. 3) The ultimate happy medium where you pull a "Ripley" (Alien reference again). This involves finding the station's self destruct code and then pressing the magic red button. You then have about ten seconds or so to wipe out what you can before being warped back to the mothership. This method will give you some bonuses but nothing like the bonuses you get for eliminating the horde and clearing the station. The controls seem responsive and very easy to learn and use, but they do require both separate fire buttons on the 7800 controller: so no use of that old 2600 stick with this game. The arcade version had one really great feature in that 3 people could play at once. The 7800 doesn't allow for 3 people at once... but you can play two! Two players can cover different sections of the stations, getting through each stage more efficiently. Most of the alien types were brought over, including that irritating crawler and those pesky tentacles that hang down from the ceiling. Another nice touch is that each weapon type does differing amounts of damage to the aliens (although I have a hard time believing that the Poofer gun is the more destructive than the Electric zapper). Still, it does add some strategy in that all the weapons have limited shot distance. So while the Poofer may be more powerful than say the Laser rifle, the rifle can travel the whole distance of the screen while the Poofer is limited to much closer attacks.

Interpretation: This is Xenophobe. It basically looks like Xenophobe, sounds kinda like Xenophobe and certainly has the Xenophobe title screen. However there are a few differences which make this version feel incomplete: the lack of some details in the stations and the lack of character selection. But this is the best version of the game for any Atari console. In fact it might be the best version for any home console.

Value: The game lacks many features that could have easily been added which makes Xenophobe feel less than complete. Not having a character selection screen is really odd: They have both Captain Tight Pants and his Spacegirl Friday on the cart and manual label...yet we can only play as the sidekick bald guy. Bummer. But the stations are semi laid out differently with each having a different number of floors (some of them anyway). The difficulty is just right. I like this version far above the NES version and play it quite a lot. The two-person mode is also a blast when you can have a buddy willing to sit in with you.

Overall: This Atari 7800 port is a pretty darn good home version of Xenophobe, and probably the best Atari home console rendition. However, some of the missing features and it's average graphics keep it from being one of the many must have 7800 ports. But, if you need it for the collection and like the arcade version you will probably like the 7800 flavor, too. But I believe most will feel as I do: Atari 7800's Xenophobe is a pretty fun game but feels too stripped down to be memorable.



Other Reviews:

The Atari Times: 10 out of 10
Atari Gaming Headquarters: 7 out of 10
CV's Atari 7800 Panoramic Froo-Froo: 3.5 out of 5.0 (Good)



This review graciously provided by

CROSSBOW

Additional Info: I would like to take this time to thank Mitch Orman, owner of The Atari 7800 Page for allowing the use of his screenshots for this review.