Zybex, Atari 8-bit

Zybex is a 1988 shoot ’em up from British developer/publisher Zeppelin Games. It’s a horizontally-scrolling progressive weapons blaster with a main character that looks a bit like the jetpack guy from Dropzone.

The game does have some interesting qualities, like the fact that you don’t have to keep pressing fire to shoot – it auto shoots for you, and pressing fire actually cycles between the different weapons that you have. Your weapons can also be boosted in power by picking up more of the same weapon.

The down side to Zybex is that the game is both repetitive and also frustratingly hard. I played it for a couple of hours and rarely managed to hang onto my powered-up weapons for more than a few seconds. If you lose a life you lose one power grade of your weapon, but if it’s on the lowest grade you lose the weapon entirely. Even with powered-up weapons there are still situations where it seems impossible to avoid dying.

Zybex has sixteen different levels in total, but don’t get too excited because they are all very similar, barring for different colour schemes and graphical themes. Many of the same enemies, movement patterns and bosses crop up in each level. The game gets boring quickly and is far too difficult and frustrating to be enjoyable.

Zybex does have a simultaneous two-player mode, which makes it slightly more appealing to play, but not by much. There are far better horizontally-scrolling shooters out there and this one will probably only appeal to Atari fanatics with rose-tinted spectacles.

More: Zybex on Wikipedia

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