Xenon 2: Megablast is the sequel to the great Xenon and was originally designed by The Bitmap Brothers (although coded by The Assembly Line) for the Amiga and Atari ST computers in 1989. The game was later converted to the PC (MS-DOS), Sharp X68000, Acorn Archimedes and gaming consoles like the Sega Master System and Sega Mega Drive. Although its good visuals and super sound the game is widely regarded as one of the most difficult shoot 'em up ever appeared on the Amiga and Atari ST gaming era of the 90s.
STORY / GAMEPLAY Xenon 2: Megablast continues the battle straight after the original Xenon wars. The Xenites had no option except of retreating and regrouping but they are threatening to disrupt the dedicated balance of time. They have returned with a plan to wipe out the player's history by planting four bombs in space-time areas. It is up to you to blast your way through five levels, eradicating the incoming Xenite forces. Each level depicts a different time zone of the Earth's evolution and the Xenites have squadrons in each of the zones which, if you fail to eliminate, will irrevocably alter the mankind history! The enemies are mostly nondescript organic creatures, plants, bacteria-like life forms, while the final levels feature robotic, mechanical enemies and a variety of artificial hostile entities. The unique feature of this game is the capability of moving your ship downwards (!), scrolling the whole level at the bottom! The game relies heavily on power-ups that can be gained by shooting special containers. When a wave of enemies is destroyed, it leaves credits in a bubble shape that can be used later at a shop to buy (or sell) more fire-power, energy etc. Each shop appears almost in the middle of each level and at the end it. Unlike the one we controlled on the original Xenon, the Xenon 2 spaceship cannot transform into a tank but it houses more slots for extra weapons. Although Xenon 2 is a well polished shoot 'em up, the action seems too frantic at times and the gameplay becomes rather frustrating since there are a few flaws especially with the game's collision detection but these cons are thoroughly trounced by the simple experience of it. Xenon 2: Megablast, like the original Xenon, is tough but it plays extremely well, and knocks back many contenders to its throne, straight out of the skies!
GRAPHICS / SOUND TheX68000 graphics look superb and identical to the Amiga version. The three-layer parallax scrolling and the organic-style graphics certainly live up to the hype. The screen scrolls extremely smoothly, the backgrounds are detailed and the alien swarms look so cool! The end-level guards are really something as well! The game features a David Whittaker version of Bomb The Bass' Megablast, a Hip Hop track from Precinct 13 Mix music. During gameplay the tune suits the game perfectly. There is also a variety of sampled SFX like explosions, laser blasts etc. Comparably, I find the Amiga music more appealing compared to the Sharp X68000, probably due to the faster tempo the music plays on the X68000!
In-game music sample:
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CPU: X68000 (1987) to SUPER (1991) models - Hitachi HD68HC000 (16/32-bit) @ 10 MHz OR XVI (1991) to Compact (1992) models - Motorola 68000 (16/32-bit) @ 16 MHz OR X68030 (1993) models - Motorola MC68EC030 (32-bit) @ 25 MHz Also there is a Sub-CPU available (Oki MSM80C51 MCU) MEMORY: 1-4MB RAM (expandable up to 12 MB), 1MB ROM (128 KB BIOS, 768 KB Character Generator), 1056KB VRAM (512KB graphics, 512KB text, 32KB sprites) GRAPHICS: GPU (graphics processing unit) chipset: Sharp-Hudson Custom Chipset
Color palette of 65,536 (16-bit RGB high color depth) and maximum up to 65,536 colors on screen (from 256x240 to 512x512 resolution), up to 64 colors (from 640x480 to 1024x1024 resolution)
Graphics hardware: Hardware scrolling, priority control, super-impose, dual tilemap background layers, sprite flipping.
Graphical planes: 1-4 bitmap planes, 1-2 tilemap planes, 1 sprite plan
It supports 128 sprites on screen (16×16 sprite size), 32 sprites per scanline, 256 sprite patterns in VRAM. SOUND: Yamaha YM2151: Eight FM synthesis channels
Yamaha YM3012: Floating point DAC with 2-channel stereo output
Oki MSM6258: One 4-bit ADPCM mono channel @ 22 kHz sampling rate