Zaxxon Motherbase 2000


Review by Matt Paprocki



Graphics: 5

Sound: 3

Gameplay: 4

Overall: 3

Zaxxon is one of the true classics of the industry. Revolutionary at its time, the isometric view and cool altitude control were stunning in its day. It's still completely playable unlike this tragic "update" that has very little to do with the first release. The countless changes to the formula and obscene difficulty are only the beginning.

While playing this one, you'll be up against an invasion by the Ginglii, a group that not only has a funny name, but hardly looks terrifying on screen. ZMB2000 actually has a slew of innovative features, one of them involving the complete removal of power-ups. Instead, you'll have the opportunity to "jump" into various outer shells that increase power and allow you to take more damage. Take too much and you'll have to evacuate and go solo with a much smaller, weaker ship. One hit means an early grave when not inside a shell.

The main issue is that these shells are far too large on the screen. Dodging anymore than one bullet at a time is nearly impossible not only due to size, but speed problems as well. None of the ships or shells have any real speed making this one more infuriating than it should be. This is a ridiculously challenging game and one that will find most gamers giving up on at the stage 1 boss. It's not even a fair challenge either. The designers simply made your ship slower than everything else.

The game is presented in the same 3/4 view the original was, though altitude is no longer something to worry about. As mentioned before, all you can do is jump, which for the most part is useless since you can't hop over enemy fire. Its only use is to jump into other shells. Without the altitude, this seems much more like the classic Geo shooter Viewpoint than Sega's own classic.

The rather blah CG rendered backdrops look okay, though occasionally pixilated. All the ships and some minor background objects are flat shaded polygons that are only impressive when used in large objects. However, anything larger than about 20 polygons sends this game into slow motion making an already poorly paced game even harder to put up with. Of course, after hearing the horribly composed music, you may never make to a point of slowdown. The blah sound effects don't help either.

If you like blowing things up and want to enjoy it on the 32X, you can do much better with another Sega classic, Space Harrier. This is an abysmal shooter filled with just about every flaw a shooter can have. Making it through level one is a grand achievement and something you could actually be proud of. The few nice innovations end up in a torrid game where they will most likely stay forever.


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Last updated: Sunday, January 30, 2005 05:48 PM