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Video Game / XS

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XS is a First-Person Shooter released by SCi and GT Interactive on December 31, 1996 for DOS PCs. While not a runaway success, the game introduced many aspects (like shielding) which were later used in games such as Unreal.

The game is set in the far future during a gladiator-style blood sport. The main character was told about the event by an associate who is believed dead at the start of the game. The player has to fight through a number of rounds of free for all deathmatch-style combat, choosing a pair of weapons to use before the match begins. The battles are to the death with the corpses of the losers used as meat for fast-food burgers.

It is now Abandonware, and can be downloaded here.


This game contains examples of:

  • Concussion Frags: You can throw grenades, though they are as unrealistic as most genre examples.
  • Crapsack World: Everything is dark and grim, bloodsport to the death seems a national pastime, and losers end up as burgers. It qualifies.
  • Crouch and Prone: This was one of the first shooters to allow players to crouch, and even to lie down flat.
  • Dead Man Writing: The message from the associate starts by saying that if the main character is watching this, then he is dead. That turns out not to be true.
  • Downer Ending: After defeating all the enemies the player's associate reveals himself and murders the player, taking the prize money for himself.
  • Enemy-Detecting Radar: You have one, but only on the easy mode.
  • Gladiator Games: Fights to death have become a fairly standard sport in the setting of the game.
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  • Human Resources: The final fate of those who aren't badass enough to win.
  • Kinslaying Is a Special Kind of Evil: Tad Bashtar Dal'n committed a Crime of Self-Defense, which would've been all very well except that the "victim" was his mother.
  • Scoring Points: On top of the screen, you always have both a "Score" meter (which goes up to seven digits) and a "Body Count" meter (with a maximum of three digits).
  • Shout-Out: The game's blocky box-like shields might as well have been picked up straight from Dune (1984)