|Programmer(s)||Allen W. Pilgrim|
|Genre(s)||side-scrolling platform game|
Xargon also known as Xargon: The Mystery of the Blue Builders is a 1993 video game trilogy produced by Epic MegaGames (now Epic Games) for PCs running DOS. The game is a side-scrolling platform game very similar to Jill of the Jungle, but with improved graphics. The main character, Malvineous Havershim, must journey through strange landscapes as he seeks to destroy the evil Xargon.
Xargon, produced and released by Epic MegaGames 1993, was programmed by Allen Pilgrim. The graphics were created by Joe Hitchens, who also contributed to Epic Pinball and Jill of the Jungle. Volume One: Beyond Reality was released as shareware, but Volume Two: The Secret Chamber and Volume Three: Xargon's Fury had to be purchased commercially. The game was a contemporary of such games as Id Software's Commander Keen and Apogee Software's Duke Nukem II.
Malvineous Havershim is an archaeologist studying strange ruins in Madagascar. The ruins were built by an unknown ancient culture known as the 'Blue Builders'. While attempting to translate the glyphs on the walls of one Blue Builder structure, a strange gas is emitted, and Malvineous loses consciousness.
Malvineous then has a dream-encounter with a talking eagle, who gives him cryptic warnings. He awakes in a strange land, the area in which the game takes place.
This is the story of Malvineous Havershim. Trapped in a fantastic world of bizarre creatures and landscapes. Permeated by evil. Ruled by the one known as Xargon!
Malvineous' adventures begin on the completely normal planet of earth, in the completely real forests of Madagascar, during an entirely ordinary research trip to explore the ruins of a newly discovered people called the 'Blue Builders'.
It's a bright, hot day in the forest. The sounds of insects wash through the air, and the calls of exotic birds and unseen animals can be heard echoing through the trees.
Mr. Havershim is an archaeologist. He travels to distant parts of the world to study the lives and behaviors of ancient peoples. The 'Blue Builders' are named by their discoverers because they constructed a number of blue-colored structures whose significance has yet to be understood. Only the loudest shrieks of the loudest birds penetrate the silence of this ancient place.
Deep inside one of the more interesting blue structures Malvineous studies the minute inscriptions etched into the stone wall of what he believes to be some sort of burial marker. His figure is lit by the cool blue light of a single electric lantern.
High above and around him, immense stone heads loom ominously with the faces of half-real and half-imaginary monsters. The faces are turned towards the large blue structure and appear to be studying Havershim's small, quiet work.
Havershim scratches at the tiny symbols in the wall, trying to clear the mold and dust so that he might see them better. He is so involved in his work that he doesn't notice when a shift of his weight causes the long, thin slab of stone on which he stands to rock almost imperceptibly to a new position. As he strains to make out the characters, he scribbles his translation into a small, brown notebook, occasionally stopping to refer to a large black notebook with the fruits of earlier research.
A thin, green gas begins seeping from thousands of tiny holes in the stone around the large diamond-shaped area covered with the symbols Havershim studies. It slowly fills the enclosed room. . . so slowly that no ordinary person would detect it. Havershim soon becomes hot and he finds it difficult to focus on the symbols.
"I need a rest," he thinks to himself. He turns and sits against the stone wall trying to clear his head of the strange buzzing sound that seems to have begun there. As he leans back, looking up at the nightmarish faces lit from below by his tiny, bright light, he notices that the faces seem to be moving and shifting very slowly. The faces seem to be melting together. His head begins to feel heavy as he starts to lose touch with reality. Small lights appear in the air before him. The last thing Havershim sees is what appears to be the face of a great brown eagle coming toward him. Malvineous has just been taken to another world by the 'Blue Builders'.
What force is behind this? And where is Malvineous Havershim now? Prepare to embark on an unforgettable journey!
Journal Entries (In Game)
JOURNAL ENTRY #1 I don't know what has happened to me. I'm in a place like none I've ever seen before. I remember taking notes at the stone wall. Then I began to feel dizzy. I remember sitting down to rest. After that it's all a blur. I need to find out where I am and what's happening to me. Perhaps... I'm dreaming. M.H.
JOURNAL ENTRY #2 I can't understand this place. I find it hard to believe it's even real. It MUST be a dream! Maybe I am dreaming or in a coma. What if... I'm DEAD? The vegetation and animals are bizarre. They're like something out of a fantasy! I have decided to record what is happening to me here in my notebook. If nothing else, it will make for interesting research when (or if) I wake up. M.H.
JOURNAL ENTRY #3 I've been here nearly three days now. Surely if this were a dream I would have awoken by now. I've had several close calls. Those strange green creatures nearly had me a couple times. I'm going to assume that this is real until I have a reason to believe otherwise. Or else I may really be DEAD soon! M.H.
JOURNAL ENTRY #4 Last night I was quite restless and didn't get much sleep. During the short time that I did sleep I had a strange dream about a very large talking EAGLE. When he spoke I sensed an urgency in his voice; it was as if he were warning me about some danger. I'm probably just imagining things. I will be glad to get home! M.H.
JOURNAL ENTRY #5 I keep sensing a kind of Evil in the air. I often come upon places that simply feel cold or strike a deep dread into me. Some of these hideous beasts seem like they are the product of evil as well. So far, I have seen no sign of anything human or earthly. I seem to be truly lost here. I wonder if I'll ever see home again. M.H.
JOURNAL ENTRY #6 The Eagle seems to be something very different from the rest of the creatures in this world. Not at all like those large red X's or crazy robots I keep seeing. I seem to be making genuine progress now. However, there is a force of some kind acting to control this place. It is my belief that if I follow those machines they will lead me to it. That has got to be the only way out of here! M.H.
JOURNAL ENTRY #7 I took the Sky Crystals to the Sea of Wishes and threw them in just as the eagle had directed. Suddenly, I felt a surge of adrenalin flow through my body. Afterward, I felt more keenly aware of my surroundings. I seem to be stronger and quicker now. The Crystals must have given me the power I need to escape this world. M.H.
The basic goal of the game is to advance through the map by completing levels. To finish a level, the player must find and reach the exit, which is found by traversing throughout the level.
Initially, Malvineous is armed with a "laser bullet", allowing only one shot on-screen at a time which can be controlled by pressing up or down, in which the laser bullet will slightly advance upwards or downwards. Other weapons include more laser bolts which allows Malvineous to shoot more often, rapid fire, rocks which can be thrown more strategically, and powerful fireballs which destroy every enemy in their path.
Xargon is unique in the sense that you can purchase items at any point during the game granted you have the emeralds to spend. Emeralds are randomly placed in most levels. Purchasable items include health units, invincibility, and weapon upgrades.
In most of the levels there are gift boxes, that either explode when you shoot them or contain fruit or other valuable items or nothing at all. Points are earned by collecting fruit, killing monsters, and collecting the four EPIC pool balls. More points are earned if the EPIC pool balls are collected in order.
Malvineous can take 5 hits, and if he dies the player must start the level over again. His health can be restored by collecting a beating heart or collecting 16 fruits which restores one health unit or purchasing a health unit. Spike pits, water, acid and various other dangers kill Malvineous instantly if he touches them.
Xargon was ranked #3 out of the top five games on May 7, 1994, after just four months on the market, where it had remained for three weeks. Coming in at #4 was Duke Nukem 2. Sources: Dorinda MacLean, industry consultant; Assn. of Shareware Professionals
Xargon was ranked 4.79 out of 5 stars on myabandonware
Xargon was ranked 4 out of 5 stars on Squakenet and reviewed by Melisa
The game was reviewed in 2004 on GameFAQs. SKYE7707 gave the game a ranking of 7 out of 10.
Game Review on 10/18/2006 by Bain with a User Ranking of 8.96/10