The Shadow of the Jet
Zaxxon has the most advanced game screen to date, creating a graphic display that is absolutely fantastic. This Sega/Gremlin game makes every other game board seem slightly old-fashioned, for it creates a visual with very realistic and very three-dimensional qualities.
You are piloting a supersonic jet, armed for action as you approach the enemy city from deep space. You control your jet as you fly over the enemy city, finding the holes in giant brick walls to maneuver through blasting enemy defenders as they try to attack you.
What makes Zaxxon honestly 21st century is that it is incredibly realistic. You see the enemy city not as a series of dots, but as a full color, 3-D city, with walls, buildings, streets, and all the detail you’d see if you were actually flying low over a city.
Because of its visuals, Zaxxon isn’t a game, it’s an adventure. What future video games will be all about: you’re really part of the action, enjoying total, visual identification with the screen images: you become part of the game, not just a player observing colored dots racing around the screen.
It’s difficult to describe the computer generated visuals that make Zaxxon so spectacular. They are more realistic than many Saturday morning cartoon shows, much more realistic than any other computer visuals we’ve seen to date: but certainly not as realistic as movie or video TV pictures.
The Zaxxon is a special effects machine that gives you all the adventure value of seeing a movie like The Empire Strikes Back or Raiders Of The Lost Ark, but with the added dimension of letting you control elements of the picture, and thereby control, as it were, the plot of the movie.
If you’re thinking Zaxxon sounds too good to be true, you obviously haven’t observed the game in action. (By the way, the same incredible visuals make it by far the first really interesting game to watch as a spectator.)
The game does have limitations—the number of different 3-D pictures the computer can generate is limited, and only the flying over the city part of the game can be said to be truly breathtaking in its realism. But this is only a question of the computer’s potential, and where Zaxxon is obviously a higher memory computer than other current games, there’s no question that even higher memory games will appear with the obvious success of Zaxxon.
Until Zaxxon appeared, the only experience most players had with a realistic dimensional game were the car racing games where the road rolls under you on the screen. These games were interesting, but their obvious lack of plot or real action were no competition for Space Invaders type games. Also the graphic reality of these road race games was rough, not at all as realistic as Zaxxon. Besides its visual innovations, Zaxxon has the potential of growing within its game theme. Where Pac-Man or Space lnvaders could only change by shifting the rules or redesigning the entire graphic, Zaxxon can add new adventures within its current format. This could result in very complex play, with player options deciding not only the game action, but where the action takes place.
As you watch the shadow of your jet on the rooftops below you, your fingers on the fire button, and your senses attached to possible danger, you’ll no doubt agree that Zaxxon just better be the game of the future…
New Space Dimensions with Zaxxon
The news came from Gremlin Industries in San Diego, California in early March of this year. Sega/Gremlin had a new arcade game that was definitely out of the ordinary. It was called Zaxxon, and it was bound to create excitement as it arrived in the arcades over the next few months.
“Zaxxon sets a new industry standard in game sophistication,” said Sega/Gremlin Vice Chairman Frank Fogleman. “It introduces an advanced screen perspective, a newly designed and tested fighter pilot control stick, a totally new ‘space wind’ sound and other state-of-the-art features.”
The new dimensional effects of Zaxxon are produced by projecting the picture at a slant on the screen. The new technique moves the player space craft in a unique left to right diagonal perspective through a number of exciting game scenes.
In addition, the player has an eight-way pilot control stick that features a trigger firing action to give Zaxxon more true to life combat control than many other games.
Also featured are dynamic sounds such as the roar of missile launchings, the sound of homing missiles, and explosions, and the “space wind” tones that come out of the machine as the player craft pursues its mission.
“The realism and action of Zaxxon may well make it the ultimate in video game play,” adds Fogleman. “All tests and reports indicate Zaxxon to be a game of unmatched repeat play.”
Zaxxon: Game Plan
The Mission: Your objective is to guide your fighter plane, using your pilot control stick, to attach a giant floating enemy fortress, then to bring down a fleet of enemy warplanes, and finally to destroy the enemy’s lethal armored robot.
The Controls: Fighter pilot control stick with firing button are what you have at your disposal. You can make your ship climb, bank, dive and strafe to maneuver through the many obstacles you’ll encounter on your mission. Your ship will appear larger or smaller on the screen depending on the altitude at which you choose to fly. Your ship also casts a trailing shadow on the objects below it. This shadow, an altimeter on the video screen, and the points of impact of your ship’s gunfire will help judge the altitude of your craft.
The Game Experience: In the first scene, the heavily armed floating fortress must be flown over, dodging walls, strafing fuel tanks for extra fuel, and avoiding fire from enemy missiles and guns. You must do your best to score points so you can replenish your fuel supply and earn bonus ships.
If you survive the enemy barrage over the fortress you’ll suddenly come up against the enemy fighter fleet. You must destroy these interceptors in a battle that will take all your skill. Watch out for your depth perception because your ship must be at the enemy’s altitude when you fire to score a hit.
With the dogfighting behind you, your ship will be confronted by a new battle within enemy headquarters. This is a more heavily defended floating fortress of tighter passages, armed with laser barriers and increasingly heavy firepower from enemy defenses.
The final challenge comes when you must defend your ship against the enemy’s lethal armored robot and homing missiles. This is a blazing battle to the death. You must score six hits on the missile or else your ship will be destroyed by the robot.