|Jim Huether (Programmer) and
Alan Murphy (Graphics)
|Based on the 1982
It's dangerous, it's devious, it's Xevious. Never before
has a tag line so perfectly summed up a video game.
Xevious was one of the first (if not the first) in a new
genre of arcade games: the scrolling shooter. While we
make take such games for granted today, back in 1982 such a
concept was unheard of. Most games of the time had only
one non-scrolling screen, which seriously limited their
creativity. One screen shooters like Galaga and Galaxian
were ok, but players hungered for something different.
Xevious satisfied that hunger.
We Have Seen the Aliens. and They Are Us!
It's a nightmare, but it's true. Scientific
research has determined that we are the actual aliens on Earth and
the evil Xevions are the original inhabitants. Now the
Xevions want Earth back. minus the humans! Earth's last hope is an
experimental fighter plane known as the Solvalou. The
mission is dangerous, success isn't guaranteed, and odds are this
is a one-way trip. But at this point it's do or die!
As Earth's last hope, you must successfully
defeat the Xevion assault fleet before they reclaim earth.
However this won't be an easy task, the Xevions have had
over a millennia to develop the biggest, nastiest, and most
destructive ships Earth has ever seen. Thankfully the
Solvalou is armed with the latest in weapons technology which
will cut through the Xevion hordes like a hot knife through
butter. The Solvalou has two main weapons, a laser blaster
for taking out air targets, and a photon bomber for destroying
ground targets. Over the course of the game you'll run
into numerous enemy types which can only be destroyed using the
appropriate weapon, so mastering the dual shot (air and ground)
technique is vital.
Air targets come in the form of enemy ships.
There are a wide variety of ships, each with their own
unique attack patterns and personalities:
|Toroid Fleet Ships
|| These round rotating objects are the
first and most common enemy encountered in Xevious.
Gliding in from the left or right, a small squad
of Toroids will stop in front of your ship, fire, and
quickly retreat in the direction they came.
Thankfully Toroids are quite slow and don't pose
much of a threat unless you happen to be distracted by
something else at the time.
|Torkan Scout Ships
|| Torkan Scouts are similar
to Toroids except they move much quicker and fly in
from the top of the screen at different angles, then
stops and releases a single shot before zooming even
more quickly away from whence it came.
|Zoshi Death Squads
|| These odd shaped ufo's
move in erratic patterns around the screen. As
their name suggests, Zoshi Death Squads are quick and
deadly. Take great care when attempting to
engage them as it would be a very bad idea to let one
or more get behind you.
||This oblong diamond-shaped ship has the
ability to zoom quickly in and hover in place long
enough to rapidly fire shots at you before evading and
|Giddo Spario (Energy Blast)
||These tiny white balls of energy are
fast and hard to see. Unless you're careful a
swarm of these will wipe your ship out in no time.
Take these kamikaze bastards out as quick as
Zakato Energy Launcher (Black Ball)
|| Black Balls (also known as 8-Balls)
are on of the deadliest enemies in Xevious.
Appearing out of nowhere, Black Balls
self-destruct into a fast moving bullet which will
then launch itself at you. While one or two are
easy to avoid, Black Balls like to swarm and appear
right next to your ship making them all the more
deadly. Black Balls tend to herald the arrival
of Andor Genesis, so when they start to appear you
know Andor isn't far behind.
Mirrors (Bacura Shields)
||Mirrors are the single most annoying
enemy in Xevious. These large rotating squares
appear in large swarms at various points in the game.
Normally this wouldn't be a problem, but they
are INDESTRUCTABLE! That's right, all you can do
is avoid them and hope one doesn't go smashing into
your cockpit. Thankfully Mirror swarms are
||This is the big one, the Mother Ship!
Andor Genesis is a hulking air fortress armed
with four laser cannons just dying to blow you out of
the sky. The only way to defeat Andor Genesis is
with a direct hit on the rector core with a photon
bomb (think Star Wars), however getting close enough
to Andor Genesis without being hit is a major
challenge. Destroying the rector will cause
Andor Genesis will cause it to flee and prepare itself
for another attack.
Ground targets are mostly optional since they
pose far less danger than air targets. Using the targeting
computer (projected in front of the ship), you can carefully
take out all those annoying defense stations scattered
throughout the landscape. Also note that your targeting
computer will light up when a hidden citadel is detected.
With its large amount of enemies, Xevious is a
most impressive game. The Atari 5200 version is a very
good effort to bring the arcade magic home, but some corners had
to be cut. The graphics are good and get the job done, but
are occasionally hard to decipher do to the lack of detail (this
is the 5200 we're talking about). The choice of colors is
questionable and appear to be rather washed out, however this
may have had something to do with the graphics mode used.
The sound effects are pretty much the same as the arcade
game, but the short background tune is VERY annoying and
continuously repeats throughout the game. Thankfully the
background music can be turned off...
While the sounds and visuals may be a mixed bag,
it's in the gameplay that Xevious really shines. Almost
all the enemies from the arcade game made it into this version
(from Black Balls to Mirrors), and are annoying as ever.
The dual button 5200 controller is perfectly suited to
Xevious's two button firing scheme (one button for lasers, one
button for bombs). The challenge of the arcade game seems
to be intact, which was often a problem in arcade to home
Recently a disk containing a mock up of the the
title screen was discovered on a disk in the collection of
former Atari artist Jerome Domurat. This title
screen would probably have appeared before the current title
screen which has room for all the options. It is unknown
why this title screen doesn't appear in the last know prototype,
but it may indicate that a still later prototype exists
somewhere. The colors are also very different from those
used in the final which would indicate that this screen wasn't
yet finalized. Special thanks to John Hardie and
the National Videogame Museum for finding this disk and
releasing it to the public.
If it weren't for the 7800, the 5200's version of
Xevious would have been the best home version available.
However due to the crumbling market the 5200 version
(although completed) was scrapped in favor of the superior 7800
version. Although a 400/800 version was also announced, no
prototypes have been found (although they would be identical to
the 5200 version anyway). Xevious is proof that the 5200
still had some life left in it, too bad the Tramiels couldn't
A prototype box can be seen
in this picture
(third row, sixth box)
||Graphical and sound
to 5200 Software