MICROSOFT HAS SEEN OFF its Windows XP operating system this week, and as part of its celebrations has released a side-scrolling game called Escape from XP.
Great fun, if you have never played Metal Slug, or any game like it, Escape from XP asks players to take control of a fighter and his arsenal of weapons and start shooting Redmond iconography.
The protagonist is a developer, an anachronism apparently, working on Windows XP and IE 6.1. He is the last man standing says Microsoft, and has to stand on a platform while all manner of things come his way. We spotted IE things, recycle bins, and what looks like a computer on a unicycle.
Controls are simple. Arrow keys are used to fire in their indicated directions, and a combination of two arrow keys yields angled shots. Movement, left, right and up, is taken care of with the W, A and D keys, and the Q key lets you switch weapons. We could not see a mute music option.
During this, which is all very fast, frenetic and noisy, old pal Clippy appears and shoots lasers out of his eyes. All the while a techno soundtrack that must be appealing to teenagers rings out, and you just keep shooting and shooting.
We played it on Firefox. It crashed the web browser after one game and after that our enthusiasm waned a bit. If it had crashed its way into a blue screen of death we might have been pleased, but it didn't. Instead it just kicked us back on the Windows 8 desktop.
The game is hosted on Microsoft's Modern.ie website, which suggests that Internet Explorer is the ideal platform for this gaming experience. µ