Professional, Originally Released On Cassette Only
Game Type : Sideways Scrolling Shoot-'Em-Up With Large Sprites
Author : Ian Collinson
Standalone Release(s) : 1989: ZENON, Impact, £4.95
Compilation Release(s) : None
Stated compatibility : Electron/BBC Dual Version
Actual compatibility : Electron, BBC B, B+ and Master 128
Supplier : IMPACT, Neepsend House, 1 Percy Street, Sheffield, S3 8AU.
Tel: 0742 769950
Disc compatibility : CDFS E00, DFS E00
Imagine a land so dangerous that only the most heroic of space explorers would dare to tread. A land filled with more evil foes than can possibly be overcome.
Zenon is total arcade action for one or two players. Playing alone is fantastic. Playing simultaneously with a friend is unbelievable.
Beaming down to the surface of Zenon from your intergalactic cruiser immediately puts you in the action amongst a host of deadly androids, meteorites, fireballs, missiles and other unforeseen perils. Set against a background of scrolling stars, you must run for your life or boost into the air using your automatically-powered jetpack.
Initially you are armed with only a simple Repeat Laser which you will quickly find inadequate to deal with the sheer volume of enemies. Watch out for the opportunity to grab more powerful weaponry including the Twin-Shot Laser, Atomic Blaster and not forgetting the ultimate weapon - the lethal Machine Laser.
No space explorer has yet reached the heart of Zenon. There are 250 levels to be completed and new inconceivable monstrous androids will try to thwart you as you advance.
No one knows all of the aliens that await you, but many will undoubtedly require several hits to destroy them. Documented proof exists of only a few: the massive Terrapedes (snake-like androids), Orbitoids (giant steel eyes), Roamodrons (walking machines) and various types of Shapeoids; plus Rods, Zebbadoids, Packoids, Duckadrons and Rambodroids.
Don't go alone...
Objective Of The Game
Your task is to penetrate the 250 levels of Zenon, a feat which has never been achieved before. You have 4 lives to complete each of the levels which are approximately 10 times the length of the screen. Each one gets progressively more difficult and menacing new aliens will periodically be encountered.
To complete a level, you must generally keep moving to the right whilst avoiding and shooting such aliens, fireballs and meteorites.
The game can be played by one player or two players together.
At the start of each level, you will be beamed down to the surface of Zenon. If two players are selected then both players will be beamed down together. You cannot harm another player by shooting at him.
For a short period after beaming down you will be immune to hostile attacks. This is signified by the energy indicator flashing on and off on your status panel.
You can run along the surface or fly using your everlasting atomic jetpack. Various "nasties" will attack you and you must either shoot or avoid them. Contact with "nasties" or their laser shots will reduce your energy and when you lose all energy you will lose one of your 4 lives. (Note - after losing a life you will once again be immune to hostile attacks for a short period).
If you can avoid hits by nasties for a while your energy will gradually increase. However, it is also possible to obtain extra energy by collecting energy cells that appear from time to time. These are flashing diamonds with a letter 'E' inside them.
Your current weapon is shown on your status panel but you can select different types by collecting the weapon canisters as they pass. The canister displays a symbol for the type of weapon it contains. The following range can be obtained:
Repeat Laser - This is the weapon you start each level with. It fires repeated single laser fire shots.
Twin-Shot Laser - This fires two shots at the same time although the rate of fire is less than the Repeat Laser.
Atomic Blaster - Fires super atomic blasts which kill almost anything. Unfortunately, the rate of fire is quite poor.
Machine Laser - This literally spits out laser shots at a tremendous rate. If two players both have these weapons then amazing damage can be done.
If you lose a life, you restart the game with a Repeat Laser.
Controls are selected on the Options Screen. You can go to the Options Screen before starting a game or at the end of a game.
The following options can then be selected:
MAIN CONTROLS LEFT RIGHT FIRE THRUST
1 PLAYER MODE Z X RETURN SHIFT
2 PLAYER MODE
Player 1 Z X W S
Player 2 < > * /
JOYSTICKS - these can be selected for one or two players by pressing C.
SOUND - Toggled ON/OFF by pressing S.
During the game, the following options are available:
P - Pause Game, O - Restart Game, <ESCAPE> - Abort mission
Instructions' Source : ZENON (Impact) Back And Inner Inlay
Review (Electron User) - "Zap 'Em!"
During the next few months, Impact is planning to release a number of top quality games at reduced prices, though not quite budget level. The first is ZENON, a one or two player arcade style action game with 250 levels.
Reading the packaging sleeve I soon discovered the game has no real plot. All you are told is that you have to penetrate all 250 levels of the game, a feat I am sure will require an extraordinary amount of stamina and concentration. Little wonder that the company has claimed it has yet to be achieved.
You are beamed down to the surface of the planet Zenon armed with a laser pistol and jetpack and the screen begins scrolling from right to left bringing a steady stream of alien creatures, missiles and other objects directly toward you.
You must either destroy them with your laser or avoid them by flying over and ducking under. Contact with any alien drains your energy. Fortunately, for the first few seconds after arriving on the surface you are immune to the hostilities' damaging effects. This gives you time to make yourself comfortable and find the keys you need to play the game.
The two player option allows you and a friend to battle against the creatures simultaneously. Luckily, your weapons don't harm each other, and I found that you tend to stay alive a lot longer with a friend to back you up.
As always, the activity around the keyboard during a two player game can be quite frenetic, but, being a veteran at playing DUNJUNZ with four players hitting keys at the same time, playing with one other player is a piece of cake.
You lose a life once your energy is depleted and losing four lives signals the end of the game. You will occasionally encounter a weapon canister which, if it touches you, exchanges your current weapon with one contained in it. This can sometimes increase your damage-causing capability, but it can work the other way too.
It is possible to restore lost energy by either avoiding damage - thus allowing your spacesuit to recharge slowly - or by collecting energy cells which occasionally float by. To complete a level you must negotiate a distance of about ten screen widths. This allows you to progress to the next, which is slightly more difficult and contains new creatures to zap.
ZENON has all the usual sounds associated with this type of game, but if you like a bit of peace and quiet you can turn them off. There is a high score table and a pause facility - nice to see them in such a reasonably priced piece of software.
Verdict? I found the game a bit too repetitive after a while. It failed to hold my attention for very long and I soon began to lose interest in running - or flying along - zapping the steady stream of creatures barring my path to the next level.
The designers must have spent a great deal of time on the sprites for the many different levels. There are aliens, androids, fireballs and missiles, but I'll probably never play this long enough to meet half of them.
If Impact can produce more games at the same price with the same excellent quality graphics as ZENON, but with more to them than just zapping aliens, the result might be nice little earners.
* * * Second Opinion * * * (Electron User)
I quite enjoyed this mindless zap'em arcade game. Don your spacesuit, pick up your trusty laser and go for a scroll on the moon blasting all and sundry to kingdom come. The only bad points are that it does become a bit repetitive, and it's very similar to RAMPAGE. There are a number of differences, but basically the idea is the same. Definitely worth a look.
Sound ........................... 7
Graphics ........................ 9
Playability ..................... 6
Value for money ................. 8
Overall ......................... 8
ELECTRON USER 6. 6