Xenophage: Alien BloodSport is a versus fighting game starring somewhat unusual combatants: aliens. Eight alien fighters have been gathered on a space ship to fight each other to death. The Story Mode has the player follow this tournament from the point of view of one of the aliens; Free Play mode allows players to pit them against each other in any combination. The gameplay follows the conventions of 2D fighting games; however, the characters are rendered in 3D. The camera follows the combatants, zooming in and out on the screen. The game includes considerable amount of gore (which can be adjusted), as well as special moves unique to each fighter, dubbed "humiliations".
Xenophage is an unusual fighting game, with a more original storyline than most representatives of its genre: A bored alien race amuses themselves by forcing other species to fight in a series of bloody arena battles for their breeding rights.
The characters are probably the most unusual and varied set in all of fighting game history. The boss characters are standard fare, but fun to play as, and the secret character is really amusing to beat up. A rather unique feature is the ability to customize your character's statistics to your own preferences. There are very few special moves, but the game makes up for this by offering a lot of combos. I recommend that you spend some time in the training mode, as some of the characters' moves may take a bit of practice to execute. There are two modes to play in: the (typical) Story Mode and the Free-Play Mode. In the Free-Play mode, you can fight against another player or a computer-controlled opponent, and combos and special moves can be toggled on and off. I found the lack of an option to disable the time limit during the fights rather annoying.
The graphics look good, with both the fighters and the arenas looking suitably alien and unusual. The only problem I noticed is that when the fighters are far apart from each other, and one of them uses a throw, you can tell that their shadows are painted on rather than connected as they should be.
Altogether, I found Xenophage: Alien BloodSport to be a highly enjoyable fighting game.
Xenophage is a pretty bad one-on-one fighting game in the same style as Mortal Kombat, although not half as good despite featuring scrolling arenas and some inventive aliens. Games Domain's review says it all about why this game is so bad:
"Xenophage, despite the trend towards 3D fighting games, is a 2D fighter, with a few fancy touches. First of all, the characters aren't hand drawn, or digitised, but graphically rendered. Also, the game uses a technique first seen in Samurai Showdown, where the view zooms in and out to give the player the best possible view of the action. If the fighters are close together, the camera will zoom in, and if they are apart, it zooms out. But it takes more than gimmicks to make a succesful game.
[Xenophage] is, at best, average. The moves are stilted, the sound effects are uninspiring, and the characters feel unresponsive. It's difficult to say exactly why Xenophage doesn't work, but it just doesn't feel right. It's the difference between Rise of the Robots and MK3 (Mortal Kombat 3). I really did try playing it again, in the hope I'd missed something, or that the game would suddenly 'click', but alas, nothing. Even two player mode failed to add anything. Sluggish, and sub-standard, despite all the graphical tricks."
The main problem with Xenophage is fundamental: the control scheme is horrible. By which I mean it is almost impossible to pull off any of the special moves, and sometimes the game just doesn't register key presses despite how many times I hammer them. If you enjoy playing fighting games just to laugh at its incompetence, then Xenophage fits the bill.
How to run this game on modern Windows PC?
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Toxic Bunny, Zombie Wars, Transport Tycoon Deluxe, Raptor: Call Of The Shadows, X-Men: The Ravages of Apocalypse, XF5700 Mantis Experimental Fighter, Radix: Beyond the Void, Commander Keen 4
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