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Technical Details

In the shoot 'em up genre, Lethal Xcess was a real good game on the Commodore Amiga, but I think it's still the best shooter on the Atari ST(E) machine. Lethal Xcess looks for all kind of Hardware in your machine. Every possible advantage is taken to make it look as good as possible. To achieve this aim, the individual machine is tested for the build in hardware and specialized routines do their work to get the very best out of it. At least the ST version is completely identical to the Amiga version.


  • Two player simultaneous game
  • 35 different weapons
  • Smooth scrolling
  • Tons of sprites (>100 at the same time)
  • Dual-Format (same disk runs on Amiga and ST)
  • Full PAL-resolution on Amiga and ST
  • Full usage of build in memory to preshift graphics
  • Savable and printable hiscores
  • 7 Voice Digital music (intro and end-sequence)
  • Digital sound effects
  • Digitized speech

Atari ST(E)

  • Interrupts to gain more colors
  • Sync-scrolling or STE-scrolling depending on machine
  • Blitter support
  • Stereo Sound on STE

Commodore Amiga

  • Copper support for more colors
  • Hardware scrolling
  • Blitter support
  • Hardware sprite support
  • Stereo Sound

Technical Comparison with Wings of Death

Wings of Death (WOD) is a classic Shoot 'em up, which was coded by Marc Rosocha and has been released by Thalion. Thalion was a German software company, located in the city of Gütersloh, which employed only the finest ST(E) demo coders.

Lethal Xcess (LX) was developed by Claus Frein and Heinz Rudolf. It was published by Eclipse which is in fact on person: Marc Rosocha. Marc did a great job, on Wings of Death it had been the best shooter on the ST and we feel honored to be the coders of the follow up.  

The following table shows you the main technical information for the ST(E)-versions of both games. We compare the Atari version here because both games are Atari games in the first place. The unit px means pixel (picture element) which refers to a single dot of a picture.

Screen width 288  px 320  px
Screen height 200  px 256  px
Panel height 24  px 10  px
Playfield width 288  px 320  px
Playfield height  176  px 246  px
Playfield size 50,688  px 78,720  px
Sprites 95   150 (200)  
FPS 3   3 or 2  
Sync-Rate 60/50  Hz 50  Hz
Hardware support 
Minimum RAM 512  kb 512  kb
STE/Amiga colours yes   yes  
Rasters (TIB) yes   yes  
PAL-Screen no   yes  
Sync-Scrolling no   yes  
STE-Scrolling no   yes  
Preshifting yes   yes  
Blitter yes   yes  
PSG-Sound yes   yes  
STE-Sound yes   yes  
Centronics-Sound yes   yes  
Digital FX yes   yes  
Digital Speech yes   yes  
Dual Format no   yes  
As you can guess from the technical values above, Lethal Xcess uses an advanced technology compared to Wings of Death, but you wouldn't want it the other way, didn't you? Time never stands still and technology evolves rapidly. And don't forget Lethal Xcess was released 2 years after Wings of Death. There where new technologies available at this time.
When Ilja of Level 16 (Andreas Franz) invented the overscan-screen to the Atari, it was a rather short way to develop a scrolling that uses the same technology to manipulate the video-address. The Cuddly Demo by TCB was the first Demo that used sync-scrolling. The main menu and the overscan scroller hit the Atari-scene like a hammer. TCB had done the impossible. Many overscan and sync-scrolling demos followed and Thalion released two games that used sync-scrolling (Enchanted Land and Leavin' Teramis) which where technically brilliant at this time. Nobody would have expected that the Atari ST was capable of doing a scrolling 50 FPS game.

Sync-Scrolling in addition to other border-technology allowed Lethal Xcess to increase the size of the playfield, which is equal to the scrolling part of the screen, it measures 55 percent more than in Wings of Death. Of course you loose performance because you have to restore the background when you draw sprites on it, but that's nothing compared to drawing the whole screen from scratch.
Because of the very well optimized sprite-routines in Lethal Xcess it doesn't matter and we cheated every way to gain the maximum performance even on machines with only 512 kb, where preshifting is a very limited option.

Comparison between the playfield area of Wings of Death and Lethal Xcess The picture shows the playfield area of Lethal Xcess (background) compared to Wings of Death (red frame). Marc had left two 16 pixel wide black stripes on the left and right border for performance reasons. The same thing with the panel, which reduced the playfield size by 24 pixels. The panel is not shown.

In addition to the bigger playfield, Lethal Xcess allows 58 percent more sprites at the same time and it's able to run in less frames than Wings of Death (look for fast-mode on our cheats-page).
It seems astounding that nobody noticed these facts in 1992, when Lethal Xcess was released. On the other hand, Marc was a very smart guy, he used 60 Hz in Wings of Death. This way he had less time to render the screen (3/60 while Lethal Xcess had 3/50 of a second to complete this task), but most TVs and CRT-Monitors stretch the image when using 60 Hz. The screen simply looks bigger in 60 Hz and last not least the overall movement is smoother with this refresh rate.

This article will be continued...

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