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By Namco Arcade 1982


A shot of the attract mode. Oh, I havent
told you about the sound effects and music
yet. Almost everyone knows how Xevious
sounds - raucous bleeps and bloops,
accompanied by a short looping "
track which warbles away happily in the
background. It's an aural icon for its time -
instantly recognisable!

In-game play - sorry, it's just a quick blurry
shot while I was trying to play it. I'd have
liked to show you some of the later parts -
where you get attacked by kamikaze balls
(together with scary WHoooooop! noise) or
the mothership - but every time I managed
to get there my stupid digital camera had
gone to sleep..

Hidden Flags

Some of the best - and most important - features of Xevious are carefully hidden in the game. Secret targets hidden at certain points in the terrain can earn you extra turns or thousands of points. These targets always occur in the same places, but the only clue you'll have to their position is a red glow in your bombing sights when you're directly over them.

One type of hidden target is the flags. Each flag lies along a horizontal line across the terrain, and can only be uncovered by dropping a bomb directly on it. Since the flags are not always at the same points on the lines, you must drop bombs all across the screen to find them. When a bomb hits a hidden flag, the flag will suddenly appear with a small S next to it. Exposing the flag earns you 1000 points, but the real value of the flags comes when you pass over one - an extra turn is awarded for each flag you pass over.

I consider Xevious to be the grandfather of shootemups - it set a lot of precedents which are still used as templates for 2D shooters today. Scrolling backgrounds, air and ground weapons, bosses - when I played this game in my local dingy arcade 20 years ago, I was astounded, and ever since then I've been hooked on shmups.

Review by Malc & Heinrich Rückeshäuser

Graphically its naturally quite plain and tiled given its age, but with some great bas-relief shaded enemies and huge incidental background designs (the giant lined phoenix on the ground always raises a nostalgic smile). Gameplay is classic stuff, avoiding varied waves of enemies, carefully judging tank movements so you can bomb them, culminating in boss appearances where the screen fills with flying lead. It's just one great big level too - I've never managed to complete it myself, and I must have clocked many many hours playing it. Malc

The basic premise of Xevious is to fly a Solvalou spacecraft over various landscapes while 32 different enemies try to destroy you from the ground and air. The Solvalou can fly anywhere on the bottom half of the screen, an advantage when dodging enemy shots. Your spacecraft is equipped with two weapons: a fire button, which shoots missiles straight ahead to hit air targets, and a bomb button, which drops powerful bombs on the ground targets. A bombsight moving across the screen in front of your ship shows where each bomb will land. If the cross hairs are over a ground target, the radar glows bright red.

Ground Targets

The ground targets are pyramids or circular domes that attack by shooting up at you. They always appear in the same places, so anticipating their location is very helpful. Destroying them is important because ground targets are worth much more than air targets.

There are two types of moving ground targets: Mobile Ground Bases and Tanks. Mobile Ground Bases always appear in the same places and always move in patterns. They can and will shoot at you, so destroy them as soon as possible. Just place your bombing target slightly ahead of them in the pattern and drop a bomb.

Tanks behave a little more intelligently than Mobile Ground Bases. They only move north and south across the
screen, but they sense your bomb dropping and react to it. They won't shoot at you, so they're nothing more than a
distraction and cheap points. If you must destroy them, use two bombs. They react only to one bomb at a time, and will move right into the second one.

Sol Citadels (Domes)

The last type of ground target is underground domes. They are completely hidden from your view, and can only be destroyed by two bombs. The first brings the dome to the surface, and the second destroys it. Underground domes don't fire at you, but destroying them is worthwhile - you get 2000 points for bringing one up, and 2000 more for destroying it.

Andor Genesis Mothership

The most awesome of the Xevious forces is the immense Mother Ship. A low hum warns you of its approach. The
Mother Ship flies at a lower altitude than your Solvalou, so firing at it is useless. Only a direct bomb hit on one of its
glowing hatches will do any damage.


Black balls are the last - and perhaps the most annoying - Xevious adversary. There are three different types and
they appear on the screen and then explode into bullets if you don't destroy them quickly enough. The only effective way to deal with any black balls is to shoot them before they explode.
Heinrich Rückeshäuser
How to Win at Arcade Video Games'

Another very notable feature of Xevious, especially given it's vintage, is the fact that the game also adapts
its difficulty to the player. If the player is successful
against a type of attacker, an even deadlier type of
attacker shows up to challenge the player. This is very similar to the AI system seen in Compile's


Super Xevious (1984) much like the original Xevious, but in this sequel, the play is a little more difficult. Several new enemies are introduced, including a silver Galaxian flagship, two jet planes, a helicopter, and a dark yellow tank.

Solvalou (1991) A 3-D version of Xevious in a sit-down cabinet.

Xevious 3D/G (1996) Update to Xevious which changes from the 2-D format of the original, to a 3-D environment. You start off with the same viewpoint as the original, but later your camera is positioned above/behind the ship looking towards the action.

Despite its age (a vintage near 20 years!) the original Xevious still has a huge cult following in it's home country of Japan where original Arcade PCBs still fetch considerably high sums. A nice way to play Xevious for those without access to the arcade board is on the Playstation Xevious 3D/G Pack which also contains first rate ports of the original Xevious and sequel Super Xevious, and a graphically improved 2D Xevious game called Xevious Arrangement, which includes an excellent modern remix of that famous Arcade soundtrack!

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