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The Ultimate Driver in The Save Our Xeni Mission
(Dimitris Thedoropoylos)

"A worldwide rescue on two wheels!"

You're Jimako, the ultimate driver! Nothing would make you happier than marrying your long-time girlfriend Xeni. But just as the plans were being set up, Xeni's evil father takes away Xeni from you, to be betrothed to an insane butcher hidden somewhere in the world!

Determined to see Xeni again, you hop on your unstoppable motorcyle and begin an ultimate drive around the world. Your only clue is that Xeni's father is a cab driver, and whenever you get one step closer to Xeni you notice that there are taxi cabs trying to run you over! You have to make it! Don't let these scraps of metal get in the way of true love!!

Graphics (n.)
The use of animation and visual effects to stimulate the senses
(Very Poor) The game's low point. The choice to use screen mode 7 is usually a rare one by QB programmers, since in the process you end up losing a lot of good color choices. Even fewer QB programmers use screen mode 12 for their videogames. Like screen mode 7, screen mode 12 has a sixteen-color limit, with the added advantage of a higher resolution. But sometimes a higher resolution can be a disadvantage. The Ultimate Driver in The Save Our Xeni Mission is an example of this case.

First of all, the sketch art is great and certainly not at fault here. The taxis, motorcycles, and backgrounds were all drawn with a lot of effort in mind. It's the color scheme that hurts The Ultimate Driver in The Save Our Xeni Mission. The colors are too vibrant and reminiscent of an Atari game with the brightness set to full. It's fine that the hero of the game has purple skin, and that the taxis come in a dull mustard color. But why does the game have to be so bright overall that it hurts the eyes unless you turn the brightness significantly down?

Sound/Music (n.)
The smooth blend of atmospheric sounds and original harmonies
(Very Poor) The majority of the PC sounds utilized in The Ultimate Driver in The Save Our Xeni Mission is actually pretty well-done. The arcade blips and bleeps give your ears something easy to listen to while taking your road trip down the streets of New York and around the world. In fact, this game would have received two points in the Sound department if it weren't for one detail.

In the beginning of the game, you get a text introduction of the game's story. By itself, this graphicless portion of the game takes the overall feel of The Ultimate Driver in The Save Our Xeni Mission down a level. But then, you'll hear this horrible PC music in the background that you can't skip. While PC music has had it's day, nowadays it's the standard to use Sound Blaster if you're going to have music in your game. And even in the days when music from the PC speakers was standard, it took a massive company like LucasArts to make good use of it. So in this case, The Ultimate Driver in The Save Our Xeni Mission really was the victim of a hopeless technology here.

Gameplay (n.)The precision of control and involvement of character within its universe vv
The object of the game is simple enough. You have to guide Jimako's motorcycle through four levels, each consisting of a straight road riddled with holes for you to jump over and taxis for you to shoot. If you fall into a hole, you lose some life from your life bar, so you're encouraged to jump over those. The taxis, however, are impossible to jump over and can only be stopped by shooting your weapon directly into them. So the game breaks down into a jump and shoot type of game that relies heavily on your sense of timing.

There is a bit of strategy though. In the later levels, holes and taxis will come more frequently and your motorcycle will be noticeably faster. So you have to know just when to shoot and when to jump. We've tried jumping over and over again or shooting over and over again to win the game, but that idea's fail-safe. You really have to try and keep your reflexes sharp to save Xeni from the mad butcher.

Story (n.)
The creativity and presentation of the game's critical plot
While original, the storyline behind The Ultimate Driver in The Save Our Xeni Mission is simply not a very good one. Even the author of the story admitted that the story itself is weak and that the gameplay should make up for it. It turns out that the gameplay is pretty good, but the problem is there's no way to skip the story introduction in the game. To make matters worse, there's that horrible opening PC music that goes with the story introduction. You can't skip that either.
Replay Value (n.)
The timelessness of the gamer's delight, such that the experience can be repeated again and again
The game's high point. I'm not exactly sure why, but there's something pretty addictive about the game formula here! I'm reminded of those travel games you can get in the store. Game and Watch games like this aren't very complicated... you usually have to keep a keen eye on the screen while performing certain tasks at the right times. The same is true of The Ultimate Drive in Save Our Xeni Mission. There's a big sense of timing here that comes in from having to jump and shoot at the right time. Plus, the movement of the motorcycle and the animation in the game also seems to reflect that of a Game and Watch game. So in that sense (again, control being the only hurdle), this motorcycle game can be a charm.

Make note also that this is the only motorcycle game for QB I've seen. Yet it doesn't copy Excitebike, Moto Racer, Jet Moto, or any game like it. Instead, it's kind of like a mutated version of Paperboy where you're supposed to wreck everything you see. So the originality also helps in it's replay value.

Challenge (v.)
To strike the mental nerve in such a way as to stimulate human thought and reflexes
It does take a few moments to get used to the kind of challenge that The Ultimate Driver in Save Our Xeni Mission has to offer. It sounds easy enough, jumping over the holes on the road and shooting down taxis as they pass by. But sooner or later, you're going to reach the general's dilemma of the game: what happens when a taxi is headed your way, you jump into the air, and shoot your weapon? You'll probably shoot into the air, and your weapon will miss entirely. You'll jump over the hole, land, and then get hit by the taxi, losing a valuable life!

My suggestion to you is to always shoot when you're on the ground. If you occasionally miss jumping a hole because you're concentrating too much on shooting, then it isn't such a big loss since damage from holes is minimal. On the other hand, taxis are lethal upon collision. So keep firing even when there's no taxi in sight. Chances are a taxi will come rushing in and get hit by the weapon you've shot. Once you get the hang of this alongside the shoddy control system, you'll reach Xeni and save the day.

Fun Factor (n.)
The overall entertainment value as maintained throughout the adventure
The graphics and the control are probably the two parts where The Ultimate Driver in Save Our Xeni Mission doesn't quite make it. In the middle of it all, you have a pretty new idea. How many other video games are there where you can wreck taxis, jump over potholes, and travel around the world? There's clearly a great idea behind this game, but in the end a few steps leave it poorly executed.

To make the game more fun, a better color scheme has to be used. It's hard to enjoy a game when it isn't very easy on the eyes. For example, the Egyptian level is too vibrant. The bright purple and green colors hurt. Second, the control needs to be a little more precise. While holding on the buttons will produce the desired effect, tapping on the up or space bar won't cause the bike to jump or shoot. This makes shooting and jumping at all times the best possible tactic. Perhaps this has something to do with the timing routines built into the game. I noticed that control got a lot better in the last level.

Nevertheless, The Ultimate Driver in Save Our Xeni Mission is certainly worth your playtime if you like the charm of the Game and Watch game. The action is a little repetitive, jumping here and shooting there. But it is replayable because you're always moving, and your reflexes have to stay sharp. But even then, the fun factor hurts because the graphics and sound could have been a little more polished.

The Ultimate Driver in the Save Our Xeni Mission Reviewed by QBShire

Players 1 player Genre: Arcade Game
Rating To solve: 20 min Final Rating: 7/35

To download this game, click here.
Installation Tips
wTo play The Ultimate Driver in the Save Our Xeni Mission, run "SRX.BAT".

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