Xenon (video game)

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Not to be confused with Xenon (pinball).
Developer(s) The Bitmap Brothers
Platform(s) Arcade, Atari ST, Commodore Amiga, PC, ZX Spectrum, Amstrad CPC, Commodore 64, MSX
Release 1988
Genre(s) Vertically scrolling shooter
Mode(s) Single player

Xenon is a 1988 vertical scrolling shooter computer game, developed by The Bitmap Brothers and published by Melbourne House which was then owned by Mastertronic. It featured as a play-by-phone game on Saturday-morning kids' show Get Fresh.[1]

Xenon was followed in 1989 by Xenon 2: Megablast.


In-game screenshot (Atari ST)

The player assumes the role of Darrian, a future space pilot called into action by a mayday report from his superior on a nebula space station. As of late, the colonies of mankind have been under attack by mysterious and violent aliens called the Xenites and it is finally time for Darrian to engage them. The game's story was only revealed in the game's instruction book.

Unlike most scrolling shooters, the player can move in any direction instead of straight up. The player craft has two modes, a flying plane and a ground tank. The transition between crafts can be initiated at almost any time during play (except during the mid- and end-of-level boss sections, as well as certain levels where a certain mode is forced), and the mode chosen depends on the nature of the threat the player faces. Destroying some enemies released power-ups the player could catch to enhance their ship.


Originally released for the Atari ST, Xenon was quickly ported to other platforms: the Amiga, Amstrad CPC, Commodore 64, DOS, MSX and ZX Spectrum. An arcade machine version of the game was also released through Mastertronic's Arcadia division which ran on Commodore Amiga hardware.


On the Atari Falcon, Xenon crashes, when Captain Kelly-X is going to speak. This happens because the sample-playback routine writes to a PSG register at address $ffff8804, which on normal ST/STe computers works the same way as if the data was written to address $ffff8800. This bug can be fixed by making a backup copy of SPEECH.DAT, then applying the following patch to SPEECH.DAT, file offset 988 (offset $3DC hex):

49FA 0048 2C14 2A64 7E00 1E1D BC8D 640A 1A3A FFC0 67C8 2A7A 0036 288D 0607 0080 E74F 4CBB 00E0 702E 49F8 8800 0B8C 0000 0D8C 0000 0F8C 0000 4CDF 30E0 4E73 4E71 4E71 4E71 4E71

The patch also uses less clock cycles than the original. You can test if it works, by renaming SPEECH.DAT to SPEECH.TOS and then double-clicking it.

Though not a bug, the Amiga port of Xenon contains a vulgar message calling out pirates.[2] This message can be found within the hex address B33B. The message says, "PIRATES are the filth of the fucking world. Three people have spent 7 months on this product, & scum bags rip it off in a couple of minutes. yeah, very funny aint it."


  1. ^ "Xenon". The Bitmap Brothers. Retrieved 2009-08-19. 
  2. ^ "Xenon". The Cutting Room Floor. Retrieved 2015-08-31. 

External links[edit]

  • Xenon at SpectrumComputing.co.uk