No doubt about it, friends. Zaxxon, the isometric Sega space shooter from 1982 is a classic. As well as being an incredibly challenging arcade title. Furthermore it was the first arcade game to use axonmetric projection. Which is of course how Zaxxon got it’s name and helped it stand out in arcades!
Christopher Tupa has done a remarkable job of selecting games for his Retro Arcade Art project. Twenty-eight pieces of retro inspired art that focused on a classic arcade title. Many of them were quite unknown to me until I saw his work. It has been my pleasure to present the basics of the game to showcase his artwork for the last 28 weeks. Zaxxon happens to mark the last offering in CTupa’s Retro Arcade Art, however he certainly chose an important game to finish on.
Very much like Crystal Castles and even Q*bert, the isometric viewpoint takes some getting used to. In fact with it being the first arcade title to use it, it adds to the difficulty of the game by quite a bit. Players must attempt to pilot a spaceship through an enemy fortress, dodging many defenses and finally facing off against an evil robot, naturally named Zaxxon!
Like many of the classic arcade games, that is easier said than done. Especially when you take into account the need to slip over and under electrical barriers. Thankfully the Player does have an altitude meter on the left hand side of the screen.
Although for myself, I certainly used the shadow under the spaceship and where my shots were hitting to judge if it was safe to pass under a barrier or opening in the fortress wall.
In Zaxxon when assaulting the space fortress, a Player will need to avoid a multitude of threats. Missiles launching from the fortress floor. Turrets firing towards your spaceship, stationary objects too, like radar dishes, fuel dumps and grounded spaceships. Obviously if you come in contact with any of these, you are treated to a fiery explosion and lose a life. Add to the mix that you must keep an eye on your fuel gauge and you can see why this game can be very tough.
Of course you can fill up your fuel meter by picking off those red fuel depots. Actually, I have always thought the hardest part of the game is after you clear a fortress. Because that is when you take on an opposing fleet of spaceships. I have a very hard time actually landing a shot on the enemy without getting hit myself. While crosshairs will appear when you have an enemy within your sights, I suppose I’m just not quick enough and get picked off.
After making it through both the heavily armed fortress defenses and attacking fleet. Players will arrive at the headquarters of the villainous Zaxxon robot. Which is basically just another space fortress but at the end of that…awaits that deadly robot. Six direct hits upon the evil automaton’s missile is needed to defeat your foe.
Ready to see Zaxxon as well as Super Zaxxon in action?
[Via] Old Classic Retro Gaming
As always with CTupa’s Retro Arcade Art project, you can purchase the artwork featured in this post. The originals are ink and watercolor and are 5″x7″ on 8.5″x11″ size paper. You can hop on over to Christopher’s Official Site to contact him as well as check out more artwork from his project!
I hope you won’t forget to check out CTupa’s previous entries in his Retro Arcade Art project as well!
Furthermore, I would like to remind you that I have covered Zaxxon in the Diary of an Arcade Employee podcast as well.