What is Exolon?

You might ask what is Exolon. According to Wikipedia Exolon is a run and gun game.
I did not know the exact genre when I played it ;-) Honestly, we did not care. It is a fun (and hard) game. Run and gun is like shoot 'em up but you are using your own foot instead of a spaceship or a vehicle to move.

The game was programmed by Raffaele Cecco and published by Hewson in 1987 for the Sinclair ZX Spectrum, Commodore 64 and Amstrad CPC 8-bit computers. It was later converted to Enterprise 128 and to the 16-bit Amiga and Atari ST platforms.

Recently Noel (Geco) at Enterprise Forever converted the CPC version to the Enterprise which has better graphics than the old Spectrum conversion.

There is also a good remake for PC at Retrospec

Gameplay

You are a futuristic soldier in the game who has to fight his way through several flick-screen levels aka zones. You can see your progress right bottom of the screen. The zones are filled with various generic aliens as well as gun-emplacements, homing-missiles, land-mines and other hazards. The player can defend themselves with both a gun and rocket-propelled grenades. The two different weapons are effective against different enemies. You can also find floating, thruster-propelled platforms, teleports and other sci-fi elements.

The enemies themselves are very varied taking the form of flying aliens of the type traditionally found in shoot 'em ups as well as homing missiles, fixed guns, tanks, land mines, swarming red pods and "crushers" which shoot out of the ground.

Part-way through each level, there is a pod in which you can "upgrade" until the end of the current level to an armoured exoskeleton with improved weapons and armour. Attempting to finish the level without this upgrade results in a score bonus.