Saturday, April 27, 2013

X is for Xybots

Xybots was another in a line of interesting games I discovered at the local Scandia Fun Center.  It was a 3-D first person shooter with a lot of interesting twists that kept the gameplay fun (and encouraged players to spend their quarters).

First, the game seemed to borrow elements of Gauntlet, an earlier maze game with a Dungeons and Dragons-esque theme.  In Xybots, you also navigated mazes and needed to destroy enemies in an effort to find the exit.  Also as in Gauntlet, you were able to collect money.  The interesting variant, though, was that you were able to spend money collected on various powerups.  Interestingly, succeeding versions of Gauntlet also eventually adopted the "spend money for powerups" model thereafter.  Xybots also allowed for two people to play simultaneously (another Gauntlet-like feature), which allowed for cooperative or somewhat competitive play as players vied for limited money and decided whether they would work together to destroy the enemies (or not).

One of the more novel features of Xybots was the joystick control.  The joysticks on Xybots both moved players in 8 directions and also rotated left and right, thereby allowing players to rotate their bodies 90 degrees left or right.  This allowed for players to potentially be moving in one direction and shooting in a completely different direction while traversing a 3-D maze.  Depending on the player location and orientation within the maze, the game play could provide some novel situations, such as the player on the "far end" of a corridor shooting towards enemies located at the "near end" of the screen (e.g. towards the person playing the game).

The other interesting aspect of Xybots was the split-screen display.  Since both players are wandering through a 3-D maze (and could be in different parts of the maze at the same time), the display is split so that each player sees the maze from their individual perspective.  There is also an overall map showing the locations of enemies, the exit, etc., and a status for each player showing energy, coins, powerups, etc.

Did you ever play Xybots?  If so, what did you think of it?

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