|Platform||Commodore 64, ZX Spectrum|
Multiplayer (2 players in turns)
If you have a conversation with any Commodore 64 fan who is a shooter enthusiast, then without a doubt one of the games that is sure to come up is Sanxion. Sanxion was the brainchild of the phenomenally talented Stavros Fasoulas. Sanxion along with his other shooter Delta have made him one of the most popular developers who worked on the Commodore 64.
Sanxion still has a strong following to this day. The game was actually in development to be remade on the Nintendo Game Boy Advance in around 2001-2002, but the plug was pulled, and while there is some footage of the game out there it was never officially released. The Commodore 64 version was first released in 1986, and the game would actually get a port on the ZX Spectrum. Sadly the ZX in Spectrum port lost a great deal of what made Sanxion so great.
The first thing we need to talk about is what happens when the game first loads up. The Sanxion load screen, and it's amazing soundtrack are still burned into gamers minds. As a matter of fact Sanxion is actually a great looking game all round. Sanxion is a game that does not deal of colour, but it does what it does very well. The game sees you piloting a really cool futuristic looking aircraft. The enemies as well in the game have also been very well designed. As well as looking nice Sanxion also has a great soundtrack. The soundtrack has spawned numerous fan tributes.
On the surface Sanxion is your typical side scrolling shooter, but it does do a couple of things to shake things up. First of all is the games view point. The screen is split into two different parts. The top of the screen has a bird's eye view of the game. This is pretty cool in that it lets you see pretty far ahead of where you are. The bottom 3/4 of the screen is the main portion of the game. This looks just like your standard side scrolling shooter game, R-Type would be a pretty good comparison.
One other thing that Sanxion does which is really neat, is that you the player control the speed that your aircraft travels at. If you stay to the left side of the screen then you will go slow, but by pushing forward and moving to the right you can go fast. Giving the player this type of control of the scrolling of the screen was very unusual for this era.
Each level sees you needing to destroy wave after wave of enemies. Part of what makes the game so tough is that there are no power ups. Which you may think makes the game sound kind of limiting, but it works and makes you focus more. Some levels will have a relentless amount of enemies coming at you. And other levels will have an area where if you reach it all the enemies will be destroyed, and a new set will come up.
Sanxion has great control, and is very easy to pick up and play. But this is one tough game, and if you want to beat it then you better make sure you have your shooter skills fine tuned. Because this game will put them to the test.
- Nnirvi, MikroBitti (12/86), "Sanxion (C64) review" (page 72) (in Finnish).