The Coleco/Colecovision version of Zaxxon
The screenshot (left) is from the superior arcade version which was released by Sega in 1982. This
game was very exciting at the time due the use of simulated 3D graphics from a third person viewpoint. It also featured shadows, which was extremely rare in the early 80s.
The game used a type of Axonometric Projection (the name Zaxxon was derived from Axonometric) called Isometric Projection.
Zaxxon was available for most home computers and consoles and proved to be
extremely popular. A sequel, Super Zaxxon, was also released in 1983,
but didn't go down as well as it proved to be rather too difficult to play - at least, it was on my Atari 800XL.
The original Zaxxon looked very impressive on my Atari 800Xl, but I found it frustratingly difficult to play as it was very hard to judge what altitude you were flying at!
I remember playing this in 1984 on my Atari 800XL with a school friend (it was my final year in school) and he was absolutely gobsmacked by the graphics as he had a ZX Spectrum! The Speccy version was, unfortunately, not very well executed and probably the worst of all the versions available.
I really enjoyed playing Zaxxon, but as I mentioned above, I was terrible at judging the height of the spacecraft. However, with a lot of practice I found myself completing the levels more easily. The sign of a good game is one you keep going back to despite your frustrations! As 80s games go, Zaxxon was one of the best of the decade.
For me, the original Zaxxon was better than this sequel which was released in 1985 by US Gold. It featured ghastly colours and very difficult gameplay. However, the shadow effects are quite decent, though. I bought this on cassette as a treat during my first year in work, but kind of wish I hadn't bothered!
Graphically, I reckon this is a little better than the Atari XL/XE version, although the Atari version is definitely quicker due to its faster CPU.
Well, I quite like the colourful graphics, sound effects and music in the MSX version, but it's just a shame that the scrolling was so jerky, otherwise this had the potential to be the best version of all!
Cartridge inlay card from Atari 2600 version