Published on March 11th, 2016 | by Fifties
Vintage Video Games #26 – Xenon 2 Megablast
An other classic from the genius of the Bitmap Brothers, Xenon 2 was an iconic game spanning most platforms (Amiga, Atari ST, and later converted to the PC, Sega Master System, Sega Mega Drive, Acorn Archimedes, and Game Boy). Xenon 2 Megablast is a vertically scrolling shoot ’em up. Unusual for the genre at the time, the player’s spaceship can reverse the scrolling of the play area for a limited distance; which is used in the game for defeating bosses, avoiding enemies and escaping dead ends. This game consists of five levels which are each divided into two sections.
Plot: A sci-fi theme without much of a plot! After the Xenites’ defeat in the Galactic Conflict which took place in the first Xenon, they have returned with a plan to wipe out the player’s history by planting four bombs in space-time areas. The Megablaster pilot will have to fend off the bizarre wildlife around them. It is necessary to destroy the largest animal in each area as they have been fused with the bomb; once the creature is slain, the bomb is shut off.
Highlights: The Bitmap Brothers smash it again with another killer soundtrack. Does the music sound familiar to you? Here’s why:
The Bitmap Brothers co-operated with the British musician Tim Simenon to include the 1988 Bomb the Bass hip hop track “Megablast (Hip Hop on Precinct 13)” as theme music, which is also the origin of the game’s subtitle. In turn, this song features many samples from Sly and the Family Stone song, “You Can Make It if You Try”, and its theme seems heavily inspired by The Splash Band track “The End (Disco Version)” released in 1984, which is itself based on the theme of John Carpenter’s film Assault on Precinct 13.
The game was one of the first instances of a computer being programmed to play a pop single with reasonable accuracy. Sections of the music were sampled and then re-sequenced (by computer game musician David Whittaker (video game composer). In the cartridge-based console versions, the music is radically simplified, being purely synthesized and lacking the voice samples of the computer versions.