IF the name Thexder means absolutely zilch to you then you obviously aren't one of the 500,000 Japanese gamers that have made it one of the best selling titles in the land of the rising son. If you believe the claims on the packaging, Thexder is a game that was designed for 16 bit processors, and its colourful animation and hypnotic music will seduce even the most jaded computer player.
Maybe so, but if you aren't brain dead you will quickly realise that Thexder has been converted form the PC by Sierra-on-Line, a company that wouldn't know how to make good use of a 16 bit processor if it leapt up and bit it.
Thexder is heavily derived form the world of Japanese comics and cartoons, which explains the paucity of plot. You are trapped in a world with 16 levels and must disable the central computer at the end of the road to escape.
As Thexder the robot you can change into Thexder the jet, and so fly over ground-
For defence there's a shield to keep the riff-raff away from your shiny Thexder, while for offence there's an auto-aim laser cannon. One press of the fire button and laser fire shoots out at every enemy on screen in turn. Yes, even if one is right next to you you'll have to wait until the laser finds its way round to it.
Actually this laser fire gives the impression that Thexder is lashing the opposition with spaghetti, which might have been a good laugh if that had been implemented. As it is, it simply looks like third rate programming.
If you like classical music, specifically Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata then Sierra has torture in store for you. It accompanies the action, becoming more frenzied as things hot up. But unless you're deaf you'll have turned it off by then.
It all sounds like bad news so far, and that's because it is. But there is one small treat in store: The entire first level is not only mapped, but contains instructions on how to get through in one piece.
Apart from that, this is a pretty dismal offering with as much depth as a puddle and all the elegance of a Sumo wrestler.