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Exolon (Amstrad)

Exolon AmstradGenre: Action
Perspective: Side view
Visual: Fixed / flip-screen
Gameplay: Platform, Shooter
Setting: Sci-fi / futuristic
Narrative: Crime
Published by: Hewson Consultants Ltd.
Developed by: Raffaele Cecco
Released: 1987
Platform: Amstrad CPC

On the title screen, the game loading is 1 minute. In main menu press 2 key (define keys).
Exolon. Oh, how many epithets, sometimes very unflattering, were said about this game in due time! "Devourer of tokens", "killer of nerve cells", "King of broken joysticks" ... however, let's be honest, there were much more good words. In the early 1990's, almost every game room could boast of at least one self-made machine with a painted cosmonaut in futuristic armor, as if descended from the covers of fantastic books. And the owners of home computers and consoles caused fierce envy of their peers - in fact non-stop shooting and explosions were available to them at any time of the day without restrictions. Jumping out in 1989 on the ZX Spectrum and Amsrtad CPC (and later transferred to the Commodore 64, Atari ST and Amiga), Exolon immediately attracted the attention of many players. The reason for this was both great graphics and addictive gameplay, which makes you repeatedly overplay the "impassable" screen. Riot of colors, continuous action, as well as ease of management at a sufficiently high complexity provided the game great popularity (and the owners of gaming halls - a stable profit).
But what represents a storm of emotions and memories for some, for others - only an incomprehensible set of letters. Therefore, we will drop some subjectivism of the previous paragraph and try to figure out what the Exolon is and whether it is as good as its players remember those years.
Plot? In such games, the plot is only an excuse for destroying everything and everything within the screen - it's a game of the genre shoot'em up. And, nevertheless, it is, and quite elaborate. In the distant future, where space travel is simple, like a bus trip, people are still prone to self-destruction. A lot of mastered worlds, amazing planets and huge nebulae did not prevent a reasonable person from finding an occasion for conflicts. The more space occupied by mankind - the more reasons there were. Someone at hand had resources, and someone - an important strategic point. The fragmentation and remoteness of the inhabited planets also contributed to the emergence of piracy. Therefore, the defense against uninvited guests became the cornerstone in every stellar system. GalaTech Corporation, which specialized precisely in the development of planetary defense, set a goal - the creation of an ideal protective mechanism. Absolute, which has no analogues. Perimeter, determining any enemy object and destroying it, whether it is a lone pirate ship or an army invading tens of thousands of ships. Engineers were so proud of their development that they were not shy in assurances and promises of unprecedented security. The government of your star system, which included five inhabited planets, was interested in developing and asked GalaTech inc. Establish the vaunted planetary defense to repel attacks of any external enemies. That's only the leadership of the sector did not take into account that the corporation was unclean by the hand! Exactly three days of ideal work of the protective perimeter took GalaTech, in various ways to appropriate the priceless development, resources and wealth of the inhabitants of the five planets, and then fly away from the system. The organized chase of government ships came across what they brought with their own hands. The planetary defense became more active and with mechanical precision destroyed all the starships in the zone of its operation ... That's only set up it was against your troops. For a long time no vessel could get up in the air - the defensive system was working too well. The government did not have a choice - an order was given to destroy the protective perimeter. And since no large object could even come close to the mechanism, it was decided to send one fighter, but not the simple, but the best! Space infantryman Vitorc, a veteran of many battles, only he is able to carry out the task: destroy the whole complex to the ground and eliminate everything that can prevent it.
The landing is successful, and now we are in the thick of events. The player is given 9 lives, and the more he saves them - the more points will be given later. Our gallant Vitorc moves from left to right, passing the screen behind the screen (of which there are 125). Scrolling is not present, therefore transition is carried out strictly after achievement of the right edge of a game field. Each screen represents, no less, a test for your reflexes and spinal cord. Planetary protection is not at all pleased the visitor, so from the very beginning many objects fly from the abstract circles to shells of large-caliber cannons and rockets towards the astronaut. Evade or shoot at the approach of each one - because the clash is fraught with loss of life. The combat mines, underground hydraulic presses and objects of the planetary complex, which will have to be detonated for further advance, will also complicate life. Some guns are completely unaffected by weapons, and you will have to reach them through heavy fire.
The space infantryman is armed with a blaster, indispensable in meeting with the enemy and rocket-propelled grenades. Explosives are required to destroy various obstacles and stationary guns, but it must be used carefully: grenades are subject to gravity, and the range is not high. Their number, as well as cartridges, can be replenished by finding boxes of equipment at the level. Very often we will have a choice: to go on top or bottom. Depending on the choice it is possible either to avoid unnecessary meetings, or, conversely, to get into the hell. In total, the game has 5 levels (25 screens each) - at the end of each one will count points, add bonus points for saved lives, and also "bravery bonus" - it is charged for the passage without using a single gain. At each of the five levels there is a place where our hero can wear a combat exoskeleton - Exolon (Exoskeleton). With this miracle of engineering thought, war becomes much simpler: a twin gun replaces a blaster, destroying opponents with double efficiency, and mines and press no longer do any harm. And, although the collision with shells and opponents is still fatal, the advancement at last ceases to resemble the Russian roulette, and more like a meaningful action. Unfortunately, in this game there are no bosses, and after all they could become a kind of cherry on the cake. But even this does not detract from the aggressiveness of ordinary opponents. Sometimes the screen is simply teeming with flying shells and explosions - you can hardly figure out what's what.
Visually the game looks luxurious - sometimes so that the frame rate drops a bit. A lot of colors, beautiful space in the background with the planets and satellites hanging in the sky, the elements of the base and spaceships worked up to each pixel - all this literally falls in love with the picture at first sight. Of course, the versions for Amiga and Atari ST look much more beautiful, but here the balance of complexity of some game screens is much worse there. Therefore, when mentioning Exolon, the players most often recall the version from the Spectrum.