Snap169We’ve seen a lot of platformers doing the rounds, from Earthworm Jim to Pitfall: The Mayan Adventure. While these games weren’t originally designed for the PC, they’re good, action-oriented fun. Still, you have to wonder what would be possible if the designers of those games tapped the power of the PC to create original titles, rather than adaptations of cartridge-based games. In the case of Thexder, Sierra has done exactly that, designing a side-scrolling platform shooter from the ground up to work on the PC, and more specifically under Windows 95.

Multi-threading, sizable windows, and multiplayer options are just a few of the things that were incorporated into the design to make Thexder something different. But here’s the funny thing: None of it seems to give Thexder a leg up on the competition. In fact, Thexder is just plain dull.

This is simply because Thexder looks and plays in a very primitive fashion. Even though there are a host of graphics options that allow you to choose resolutions up to 1024×768, the simple textures and character animations just don’t begin to compare to the outlandish, polished cartoon styles of games like Earthworm Jim or even the more DOS-dated Alien Rampage.

Snap165With Thexder’s clumsy character control from a gamepad or keyboard and tons of clunky explosion animations, you’ll need to be pretty dedicated to blast your way through more than a few levels. If you’re determined enough, you might actually survive long enough to gain better weapons, inventory items, and a larger variety of enemies, and at this point Thexder can become mildly entertaining. It never quite manages to click, however. It’s one of those rare instances where console ports beat the PC purebred.

System Requirements: 486/66 CPU, 8 MB RAM, Win95

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