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Atari ST User Review

Issue 86/ April 1993
Author: Paul Roundell

ST User - Issue 86/1993

Lethal Xcess

Here at last is a shoot-'em up to dispel those pent up frustrations, so put down the carving knife and that shotgun! 

Walk into any arcade or fairground and all you'll hear are the death throes of thousands of aliens as they find themselves blitzed back towards the planet Felch to the accompaniment of shouts of glee from the Earthling army.

Spectrums and C64s used to whirr and shake wildly to similarly familiar intonations, but sadly, such games have been few and far between on the ST.

Clutch your favourite joystick and arm your weapons though, because after too long a wait we have an out and out shoot-‘em up on our hands once more…

Who remembers Wings of Death? It was rather underrated on its release a year or two ago; developers Eclipse have put their talents to work once more in what is essentially Wings of Death 2.

I’d like to lay out some kind of scenario for you, I really would, but unfortunately my copy of the game is the German version and comes complete with matching box and manual, and since my understanding of the language stretches no further than the names of one or two particularly pleasant lagers, you’re scuppered.

But what do we need to know? No amount of Damsel In Distress sob stories are going to detract from the fact that the whole idea is simply to sit in your spaceship an obliterate everything that moves, are they?

Lethal Xcess is ye old fashioned shoote-uppe; on booting up the disk what I appeared to have in front of me was the chunky graphic - kill - bomb - shoot - kill - shoot - shoot - kill frenzy which I had been waiting for for some time.


The Ship is a fairly standard affair - just your average intergalactic cruiser with the usual blend of improbable shapes, large guns and strange Scottish men in the engine Room. You begin your voyage into mindless violence with just a few poxy triangular missiles, which can either be powered up or exchanged for other methods of destruction, an although the game, as a concept, represents nothing particularly new, the power-ups are well thought out.

There are seven upgrades, all introduced proudly by a digitised voice proclaiming “triangle!”, “drone!” and, uh “wiper”, among others. Once you’ve collected a power-up look out for more of the same, as each PU can itself be enhanced by amassing a collection of identical pods, making for an awesome weapon.

Such awesomeness is a necessity, actually, as the game is far from an easy ride. Even on easy mode the baddies come flying thick and fast, and the subsequent two settings your three lives are likely to last about as long as a Bill Clinton tax promise.


Throughout the five levels the number of enemy sprites increase, as does the difficulty in destroying them, an towards the end of the game only a huge weapon will do if you are to achieve any success in saving the earth, or whatever it is the manual tells us we should do.

Five levels - yep, not many is it? Fortunately, all of them are a decent length, and the sheer number of baddies make for a good sized game, although fiercer level guardians would have provided an even sterner challenge.

The speed of the ship could have been faster - when the screen becomes packed with enemies, as it frequently does, the sluggish craft struggles somewhat to keep out of harm’s way, and can often be caught out by new arrivals at the bottom or side of the screen. One way (and the most fun, incidentally) to guard against the spaceman’s equivalent of an early bath, is to team up with a chumly in the cooperative two player mode, and fight it out over power-ups and bonuses, but whichever way you look at it Lethal Xcess is a very good - not great, mind - effort in the now neglected field of the shoot-‘em up.

Vision  6/10
Difficulty  7/10
Lastability  8/10
Overall  83%

All the standard shoot-‘em up features are included and the two-player mode adds a little more depth. All in all, a fun and addictive game that left me wanting more.

©1993 Atari ST User

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Alex Holland webmaster and creator of the Thalion Webshrine delivered this article from the British magazine "Atari ST User", the same review had been published in "Amiga Computing".
Lethal Xcess aka Wings of Death II a classic shoot'em up for Atari ST(E) and Amiga computers was developed by Claus Frein and Heinz Rudolf, Music by Jochen Hippel, Producer Marc Rosocha.


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All files on the Lethal Xcess Website copyright © 2001 Heinz Rudolf
Lethal Xcess copyright © 1991 Eclipse Software Design.
Wings of Death copyright © 1990 Thalion Software.
ST/Amiga Soundtracks copyright © 1990/1991 Jochen Hippel.
Cybernetics Font copyright © 1991 Jérôme Hubert.
C64 Graphics © 1992 Oliver Lindau
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This page has been updated 10.01.2005