Xs is mainly a first person combat simulator with some between-mission segments to rearm and recover from the previous round of combat. During the pre-battle stages, the player can review his/her score card and change weapons. It also gives players a chance to look over the profiles of the competition. In the combat mode, the action takes place in one of 20 arenas with 3 opponents per match. The opposition includes a mix of human, robotic and alien characters with outrageous names like Hammer Down Harding, Lee Harvey and The Vamp. The setting varies from underground tunnels and tight catacombs to spacious lofts and open foyers, all with an overall dark and foreboding look and feel. The player must watch for both the opponents and also for the drones and turrets that pop-in and blast at anything that moves.
In addition to the normal competition mode, the game allows for a grudge mode, where players are allowed to pit their wits against specific opponents in one area. In this mode, the player can choose up to seven different villainous characters for an unrivaled death match. The game also allows for network play where 8 friends can blast at each other in any of the 20 arenas, and the game can be augmented to include additional computer controlled competitors. For extended games, players or other competitors can be quickly reincarnated and returned to a random position following a bloody death!
What stands Xs apart from similar first person games is the unique control system that allows players to move and collect items with the keyboard while using the mouse for targeting and shooting. Unlike Doom-style games, players must get their opponents in the weapon's cross hairs and inflict extreme damage for a clean kill. This interface allows for more realistic movement and even lets the player move side to side while firing! Players can also crouch, lie down flat, throw grenades, shoot at characters both below and above, jump and even exchange weapons with dead opponents. In the easy setting, players also get a radar view of the action and can track their opposition's movement.
The graphics are among the best of the genre and the dark corridors and shadows help make the game seem even more real. The introduction and cut scenes are limited but witty and humorously clever. The sound is extremely intense and has a genuine combat roar. Players can hear distant gun shots and screams to warn them of impending danger around the next corner, and the sounds echo and raise in volume as the action gets closer. The easy mode includes an overhead radar to keep track of the opponents while the game provides a warning indicator, in all modes, of approaching competitors. With the rich and detailed graphics, enhanced controls and blasting sounds, Xs is gaming to the excess and is sure to be the next in the chain of shooter evolution.
Graphics: Excellent graphics
Sound: Just like the battle is next door
Enjoyment: Good wholesome fun
Replay Value: Once through might be enough
In the far future, gladiator-style blood sports were revived. The hero of the game gets informed of them through an associate, whom he believes to be dead. In order to get to the bottom of the mystery, he has to become a player in those cruel battles, where only the most ruthless survive. Everyone fights to death, because the loser's fate is worse than just death - the meat of defeated contestants is used in fast-food burgers...XS is a first-person shooter that consists entirely of these gladiatorial arena battles, in a certain way simulating deathmatch competitions in a single-player frame. The player has to fight through a number of rounds of free-for-all combat, being able to choose two weapons before a match begins. Otherwise, the game follows standard FPS rules, with strafing, jumping, occasional platform-hopping, etc.
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