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Video Game / Xargon

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Xargon is a Platform Game developed and published by Epic Games (Then Epic Megagames) in 1993 for MS-DOS. The game consists of three episodes, the first of which was released as Share Ware. The full game was released as Freeware in 2008.

The player assumes the role of Adventurer Archaeologist Malvineous Havershim. While studying ancient ruins in Madagascar belonging to an unknown ancient culture known only as the Blue Builders, Havershim falls prey to a mysterious gas and wakes up later to find himself Trapped in Another World.

In his dreams he is greeted by a talking eagle who informs him that the land he has entered is not a friendly one, and it is ruled over by a powerful and malevolent being known as Xargon. Havershim is thus thrust unwillingly into a quest to defeat Xargon, the only way he can ever go home.

Xargon provides examples of:

  • Abnormal Ammo: Malvineous' default weapon is a laser that he shoots out of... well, his crotch. He doesn't seem to have an attack animation.
  • Acid Pool: In the factory levels.
  • All There in the Manual: According to supplemental materials released with the game, the whole reason Xargon is on the island in the first place is that he was imprisoned there by the Blue Builders. Yep, they apparently decided the best place to put the Evil Sorceror/Mad Scientist supervillain was on an island crawling with prospective Mooks ready to be recruited or enslaved, with all the resources he needed to construct weapons. Nice going, guys.
  • Animorphism: Red potions turn Malvineous into a bee, granting him flight, until he touches a crown.
  • Antagonist Title: The game is named after the Big Bad. The third episode, "Xargon's Fury," is similarly titled.
  • Attack Drone: The Xargbots, flying spherical robots with a single eye and a laser cannon. Black ones go down in one hit, while chrome ones take two shots to kill.
  • Attract Mode: Featuring a preview of one level from each episode.
  • Big Creepy-Crawlies: Many enemies, including bees, centipedes, giant ladybugs, climbing beetles, leeches, and something resembling giant spiders.
  • Bigger on the Inside: Many enterable buildings are like this. It's particulary egregious in the third episode's "tribal village" level, where the huts are so big on the inside they don't even qualify as "huts" anymore - Malvineous has to use springs to reach the top.
  • Character Development: Surprisingly, Malvineous gets a little. He starts out as rather confused and unsure of what to do, but becomes a bit more confident and independent over time.
  • Checkpoint Starvation: You can only save on the world map, and dying has you restart from the beginning of a level. The final levels of each avert this, though, and let you restart in their respective reactor/boss sections.
  • Cool Boat: In some water levels, Malvineous can pilot a bathysphere-like submarine that can shoot lasers in two directions.
  • Denial of Diagonal Attack: your default weapon only shoots straight ahead. The boulder "power up" shoots diagonally upwards, and has problems hitting enemies straight in front of you. You can use the arrow keys to move your laser bullets up or down, but this is mainly useful for hitting small targets and doesn't have the range of diagonal movement that the boulder does. Fireballs only shoot straight ahead, but they don't really need to move diagonally to kill everything.
  • Disc-One Final Dungeon: The factory castle at the end of the first episode.
  • Flunky Boss: Xargon, the Final Boss, spawns snails that crawl towards you.
  • Game-Breaking Bug: In the third episode, a glitch will occasionally prevent you from entering the castle where you get the Crown of Xarg and the final gate key. This also happens to be the last level before Xargon's castle, so you'd better hope you have a fairly recent save or you're screwed.
  • The Greatest Story Never Told: At the end of the game, Malvineous realizes that if he told anyone what happened, people would think he'd gone insane from spending time working on archaeology. He does, however, consider writing about his adventure as if it were fiction.
  • Interchangeable Antimatter Keys: There are colored keys that open Locked Doors within the levels as well as gate keys that open gates on the world map. Both are consumed upon use.
  • Jump Physics: You can fully reverse the direction of a jump in mid-air.
  • Lava Pit: This being a platformer, these are common.
  • Law of 16: Picking up 16 fruits gives you an extra health point. (You have unlimited lives in this game.)
  • Ledge Bats: Climbing beetles push you off of vines, ropes, etc. The knockback also ignores any active invincibility.
  • MacGuffin: Each episode has three "Power Objects" which you must collect. Most of them are only fleetingly referenced in Mal's journal, with the Sky Crystals, Dark Ring of Terror, Amulet of Blue Souls, and Tinia's Lyre being the only ones that Mal seems to do much of anything with besides comment on.
  • Mercy Invincibility: Averted (though you can stay inside the colliding enemy's hitbox without taking any additional damage). This makes booby trapped boxes very dangerous, as each flame from the explosion has its own hitbox.
  • Ominous Save Prompt: Just before you enter Xargon's Castle, a game message will warn you that this is your last chance to save before you enter, and "the only way out is through Xargon himself."
  • One-Hit-Point Wonder: Averted. Malvineous can take a whopping five hits before he goes down.
  • Organ Drops: There are centipedes that lose segments when shot that can be picked up for points.
  • Our Monsters Are Weird: The first enemy you face is a walking torso with one big sharp tooth. It gets weirder from there, aside from the (occasional ill-tempered fish.
  • Overworld Not to Scale: Levels are entered from an overhead world map. It typically shows a linear path, but occasional branches appear.
  • Power-Up: Several, including:
  • Reactor Boss: Each episode ends with a reactor (except the final episode, where it guards the Final Boss), spawning Xargbots nearby to attack you while you shoot at it until it explodes.
  • Respawning Enemies: Xargbots sometimes respawn on regular levels as well.
  • Schizo Tech: Ancient artifacts, temples and caves with Bamboo Technology... and killer robots, drones and Eternal Engine-class factories (a couple of which are housed in medieval castles).
  • Sorcerous Overlord: Xargon.
  • Spikes of Doom: These are pretty common too.
  • Spiritual Successor: To Jill of the Jungle, which this plays almost identically to. Epic even referred to this game as the sequel at one point!
  • Springs, Springs Everywhere: Of varying strengths, uncoded for your inconvenience. Although most of them have pickups next to them indicating the path Malvineous will take when bouncing off.
  • Super Drowning Skills: Stay out of the water!
  • Talking Animal: The talking eagle shows up a few times over the course of the game to give Malvineous further information. He's the only friendly NPC in the game.
  • Tank-Tread Mecha: One of Xargon's standard mooks.
  • A Villain Named "Z__rg": Xargon (pronounced Zargon).
  • XtremeKoolLetterz/"X" Makes Anything Cool: Xargbots, Xibok, Xbats, etc. and Xargon himself, of course. There are also X:es plastered all over the walls, signs, etc. bordering on Sigil Spam. There are also the X:es marking non-cave/-castle levels on the world map, but... it's a map.