Tandy TRS-80 – Zaxxon


You just know it’s gonna be good…

…because Sega made it.
Zaxxon is an isometric shooter, which means you can move in a 3-dimensional space.
It’s amazing to see those graphics on the TRS-80, a system widely known for text adventures.
Big, beautiful sprites, different enemy types with their own movement and some really satisfying bleeps and bloops, an often overlooked part of old shooting games. Pitch the sound effects too high or too low and it get’s annoying pretty fast, but when you hit that sweet spot its charming as f*ck.

Gameplay is simple. You move your ship through three different sections.
A galactic fortress filled with rockets and mines followed by space filled with enemy ships and finally Zaxxon, the robotic overlord that only takes a few hits.
After that the stage loops indefinitely.

Not a lot of content (a single playtrough takes five minutes), but that isn’t the biggest issue. That’s the isometric view I was praising earlier.
For starters, there is so much going on onscreen that it get’s hard to see where your ship is. The two color scheme of the TRS-80 makes it even harder to distinguish.
There are also times when you have to fly over a wall, but it takes a lot of focus to tell how high your ship actually is.The same applies to enemies. Are they under me or over me? No idea. Just stay on the upper left corner of the screen and you’re golden.

Zaxxon isn’t a game I would play for a long time, but when you want to show your friends the real power of your microcomputer you pop this bad boy in and blow them away.*



* This requires you to have a time machine so you can travel back to 1983. If you show this game to your friends today they will probably beat you up for wasting their time.

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