Sunday, 8 July 2012

Xenon Level 1 Music - Bitmap Brothers

The Bitmap Brothers remain in my mind as one of the finest British game production houses of the 8 bit era, thanks to their understanding of how to make the best of a limited 16 colour palette and game design, producing a number of solid platformers and shoot 'em ups for the Atari ST and Amiga. The list of greats is great reading: Xenon, Gods, Magic Pockets, Speedball and more - all classics.

Xenon was my first exposure to the Bitmaps and their efforts with this heavily addictive shoot 'em up. Your ship could transform from a land tank to plane, offering two different layers of shooting opportunity as you blast your way from bottom to top. As even the screenshot in the video shows, the brothers make good use of blues and oranges alongside various shades of grey and can get a lot out of their metallic colour scheme. But alongside this came awesome pumping music and heavy FM sound effects of explosions, power ups, bullets and lasers - this game pulsed with a raw energy that I hadn't seen in a shoot 'em up before and I was hooked.

The sequel took a more varied approach with Xenon 2: Megablast, which had some licensed music from Bomb The Bass and changed the style of the game as well to feature more exotic enemies and varied colours and this became a classic in its own right. But the original will stay with me forever.

SE-SECTOR ONE! Gameplay below

Thanks to Chippertunes and Ac0rnboy for the uploads and saving me a job!