|[Spectrum] Just before Game Over. I don't have enough ammo left to break the force field.|
Exolon is a flick screen run and gun game released in 1987. It was originally released on the Spectrum, C64 and Amstrad CPC, with the feeble Amiga and ST offerings following on in 1989. The game was designed by Raffaele Cecco who produced some highly regarded shooters in the mid to late eighties. The best versions of Exolon were on the Spectrum and Commodore 64. The gameplay on both versions is the same but whereas the Spectrum has sharper graphics, the Commodore can boast superior sound. The graphics on the Amstrad are colourful, though very blocky and it feels slightly sluggish so it didn't make the cut. The 16-bit versions are completely forgettable.
Exolon is a very simple game - basically you walk left to right shooting anything that moves and firing RPGs at anything that doesn't. The game is set over 5 levels each made up of 25 zones (screens). The fact that you start the game with 9 lives means it's not going to be a walkover and it's very easy lose several lives on one screen.
You start the game with 99 bullets and 9 grenades. These can be replenished from the ammo boxes that are dotted over the landscape. Enemies normally come in two forms - flying and static but both can lead to cheap deaths as you get near the edge of the screen. Some of the screens are split into two levels with teleporters allowing access between the two. On each level there is also a dressing unit where you can pick up an exoskeleton. The exoskeleton doubles your blaster power and provides extra protection against some of the nasties, but your bravery bonus takes a hit.
|[Spectrum] A reaction test game at the end of the first level.|
At first glance Exolon seems like a simple game, and it is, but it is also pure mindless blasting and quite addictive once you get into it. The good reviews it got on release are well deserved.