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Video Game / Xatax

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Xatax is a Shoot 'em Up produced by Pixel Painters for the DOS PCs and released as a three-episode shareware title in 1994.

It is the 25th century and after centuries of peace a disarmed humanity is under attack by an alien force known as the "Xatax", which destroys planets by consuming all life on them and leaving only barren wasteland. The Xatax grows stronger with each world it destroys by assimilating the living creatures it consumes into itself.

An ancient starfighter has been taken from the Interguild Museum located on Terra and restored to combat condition. It must now destroy the Xatax.


This game contains examples of:

  • The Alliance: The galaxy was ruled by a literal Alliance of more than a hundred guilds before the invasion occurred; it's implied that alien species may have been part of it as well.
  • Antagonist Title: "Xatax" refers to the alien force the player fights against.
  • Assimilation Plot: The Xatax get stronger with each planet consumed; besides simply absorbing biomass, they also acquire useful mutations, and are also able to incorporate aspects of the guilds' technology, history and culture.
  • Attack Drone: One of the upgrades for your ship gets a small, constantly shooting drone as an ally.
  • Break Out the Museum Piece: X72 Starfighter flown by the player was literally stored in the Interguild Museum, as all the others were decommissioned at the end of the Interguild War two hundred years ago, and no new ones were built since then to ensure peace.
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  • Defeat Equals Explosion: Every destroyed object in the game gets the same orange explosion with a perfectly circular radius.
  • Deflector Shields: One of the power-ups briefly affords X72 the protection of one.
  • Horde of Alien Locusts: The Xatax are said to be driven by nothing but unfeeling, unthinking hunger, and so they fully strip the planets they encounter until they are left barren, consuming the organic material to absorb its DNA while using the minerals to create enormous "drums" that function as factories generating more Xatax.
  • One Hitpoint Wonder: Played straight with your X72. On the other hand, many of the Xatax craft fought even on the very first level will tank one or more your shots, with an unpleasant "pinging" sound effect going off every time they do.
  • Organic Technology: The Xatax are composed of biomechanical lifeforms, which are created at the drum-like structures fashioned from strip-mined planets. While you still face pretty conventional-looking fighters and turrets at first, some of the later ones are outright bug-like, with legs and hard "wings". Others look more like fish instead.
  • Outside-Context Problem: The backstory text begins by writing that no-one knows when or how the Xatax came to be, or where they came from. The sheer damage they have inflicted upon The Alliance since their discovery in 2437 pushed these questions into the background, however.
  • Palette Swap: All the main Xatax varieties get reskins of pretty much every primary color out there.
  • Planet Eater: The Xatax, which leave the planets completely barren once they move on.
  • Scoring Points: Shooting enemies adds on a certain amount of points: from mere 50 for the weakest Xatax, to hundreds and thousands for stronger enemies and bosses.
  • Spread Shot: One of the upgrades will have X72 constantly shoot out missiles upwards and downwards at 45 degree angles.
  • Video-Game Lives: You begin the levels with three lives by default.
  • A Winner Is You: Downplayed; Xatax has substantially more text in its backstory than the average, so its ending text is a whole paragraph long: "Congratulations! You have conquered the Xatax and saved the remaining guilds from certain consumption. Peace has been restored to the galaxy. Your name will live on for all time to come. You are the hero who saved the galaxy!"
  • We Come in Peace — Shoot to Kill: The second type. The Alliance tried to incorporate Xatax at first, but it soon became clear they did nothing but consume. Because peace reigned for over two hundred years, no weapons to repel them have existed.


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