Xybots: Science Fiction Soldiers
Xybots is a combination of a commando mission (like Contra) and a science-fiction maze-adventure game (like FTL's popular Dungeon Master for the Atari ST personal computer). In Xybots, you guide one of two warriors — Major Rock Hardy or Captain Ace Gunn — through a maze. Using a split screen, two people can play Xybots simultaneously, each guiding his or her own warrior.
Your mission in Xybots is to destroy the Master Xybots who have invaded and taken over an otherwise peaceful planet. But first you must defeat several other opponents, including Saucers, Tanks, Warriors, Hies, and Guardians. While your energy is constantly depleting, you must destroy the baddies and collect such goodies as keys, coins, energy pods, and weapons. The coins, in a very amusing segment, allow you to purchase supplies.
In addition to the main view of the action, the screen shows a map view. It helps to have a friend who can read the map and guide you through the maze, so you can concentrate on fighting. The screen also has a status window that shows what supplies and equipment you possess, and how much energy you have left. Meanwhile, the main view shows the action from behind and a bit above your character. Xybots takes a novel approach to this: You can rotate your view 90 degrees left or right by twisting the joystick. This lends a three-dimensional, you-are-there quality to the game.
After you've cleared all opponents from a level, you receive a bonus — plus another bonus if you're the first player in a two-person game to exit the level. You then ride a lift down to an options panel which allows you to purchase supplies. You can buy extra speed, extra armor, faster shots, more efficient energy consumption, mappers, and guardian locators. In a two-player game, you can even give some coins to your buddy! And the first character to reach the options panel yawns, idly flips a coin, and twirls his blaster while waiting for his friend to catch up.
A useful technique in Xybots is to "zap" an opponent, which temporarily freezes 'em in their tracks. This costs you energy, of course. Throughout Xybots, keep a careful eye on your energy level and listen for the throbbing noise that indicates you're about to buy the terra-farm. As usual, each time you move to the next level, the action gets faster and more furious, as your opponents get tougher and more numerous. After successfully fighting your way through about 25 levels, you must confront the Master Xybot. This is a bit different from the rest of the game. There is no maze — you stand on a platform, face to face with the enormous Master Xybot.
The graphics and sound in Xybots are indeed stunning. Together, these effects create an environment that bristles with danger.