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Video Game / Xevious

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Devious enough?

"Are you devious enough to beat Xevious?"

Xevious is a Vertical Scrolling Shooter arcade game by Namco, released in 1982. It was designed by Masanobu Endoh (credited in-game as "Evezoo End"). In the U.S., the game was manufactured and distributed by Atari. Xevious runs on Namco Galaga hardware.

The player uses an 8-way joystick to pilot a combat aircraft called a Solvalou, which is armed with a forward-firing "zapper" for aerial targets and a "blaster" which fires an unlimited supply of ranged air-to-surface bombs for ground targets. The game was noted for the varied terrain below, which included forests, airstrips, bases, and mysterious Nazca Line-like drawings on the ground.

There are various aerial enemy aircraft which shoot relatively slow bullets, as well as (presumably unpiloted) fast-moving projectiles and exploding black spheres. Ground enemies are a combination of stationary bases and moving vehicles, most of which also fire slow bullets. Giant floating motherships appear in certain areas; these are killed by knocking out their cores. These are considered one of the first level-bosses to be incorporated into a video game.

The game technically has 16 levels, but these merge into one another seamlessly. The Solvalou continually advances over varying terrain and the boundaries between levels are marked only by dense forests being overflown. If the player dies, play normally resumes from the start of the level. If the player has completed at least 70% of the level before dying, play will begin at the start of the next level instead. As the Solvalou constantly flies forward, it is theoretically possible to advance without killing any enemies.

Xevious was one of the earliest vertical scrolling shooters, and greatly influenced games in this genre. The graphics were revolutionary for their time, and characters were rendered with remarkable clarity and effect through careful use of shades of gray and palette-shifting. It was one of the first games to have hidden bonuses which are not mentioned in the instructions but can be revealed by a secret maneuver. Among these was the 'special flag' which first appeared in Rally-X. In this game the flag gave the player an extra life and this feature was carried over to numerous subsequent Namco games. In 1983, the original Xevious was the first arcade game to actually have a television commercial aired for it in the U.S. Atari promoted the game with the slogan "Are you devious enough to beat Xevious?" and closed the commercial with a tag line branding it "the arcade game you can't play at home."

While it saw limited popularity in the U.S., Xevious was a smash in Japan, and to this day is considered one of the greatest video-games of all time. Popular musicians Haruomi Hosono (Yellow Magic Orchestra) and Keisuke Kuwata (Southern All Stars) were known to be fans of the game, and the former produced an album of music from Namco video-games, with Xevious as its centerpiece. A follow-up 12" single featured in its liner notes an entire science-fiction short story by Endoh, set in the world of Xevious, with even a rudimentary fictional language.

It is possible to get game machines in joysticks that include Xevious. Those sticks also include Pole Position and Galaga.

Ridge Racer 7 allows you to play Xevious during its Loading Screens. Spiritual Successors include Dragon Spirit and Dragon Saber which is basically Xevious with dragons.

Okay, now here's the plot summary of the Xevious series:100,000 years ago, the first known human civilization created a supercomputer named GAMP, short for General Artificial Matrix Producer, with the purpose of making human clones that serve the civilization. Eventually, however, an error in GAMP made it create clones that thought humanity was inferior and that they must "protect" it by conquering the people they were meant to serve. The clones' rebellion was a success for they were stronger. The GAMP later left Earth to escape the Ice Age and chose 6 habitable planets: Terminus, Atlantus, Daerius, Krakatos, Bagurius, and Xevious. The group for Bagurius rebelled and stayed on the Earth. 4000 years later, a human named Mu and his female android friend Eve left Earth and traveled to Xevious on an abandoned ship named the Solvalou, only to end up getting imprisoned by the GAMP. After being freed by Mio Veetha, Mu, Eve, and the female Xevian, travel to Earth on the Solvalou ship. 12,000 years later, the GAMP begin their invasion of Earth to take it back. This is where the war against GAMP begins.

In some Xevious games, the story can be confusing; in the ending of the game Solvalou, the epilogue states the GAMP was destroyed when the final boss, Garu Andor Genesis was destroyed, suggesting that GAMP was inside Garu Andor Genesis. In Xevious Resurrection, the story looks like Earth has been taken over by GAMP and that you must free Earth. The force field surrounding Earth, and the strange satellites on Earth's atmosphere stand as proof.

Sequels/remakes include:

  • Super Xevious (1984, arcade) - A conversion kit for the original game, making it harder as well as rebalancing scoring for some enemies.
  • Grobda (1984, arcade) - Arena tank shooter; a spinoff that features the tank enemies from the main series (known as Grobdas)
  • Super Xevious: GAMP no Nazo (1986, Famicom)
  • Xevious: Fardraut Saga (1988, MSX2) - Developed by Compile; features a "Scramble" mode with all new stages and 4 different ships as well as a port of the arcade game.
  • Xevious: Fardraut Densetsu (1990, PC Engine) - Sequel to Fardraut Saga, also developed by Compile; a port of the arcade version plus another original story mode.
  • Solvalou (1991, arcade) - 3D Rail Shooter.
  • Xevious Arrangement (1995, arcade/PlayStation) - Enhanced remake of the original.
  • Xevious 3D/G (1996, arcade) - 3D entry in the series
    • Xevious 3D/G+ (1996,PlayStation) - A Compilation Rerelease which features the original Xevious, Super Xevious, Xevious Arrangement, and Xevious 3D/G, with arranged soundtracks for the latter two.
  • New Space Order (2007, arcade) - A Real-Time Strategy video game which was intended for Japan-only release, before getting cancelled and eventually adapted as The Anime of the Game.
  • Xevious Resurrection (2009, PSN) - Released as part of Namco Museum Essentials.
  • 3D Classics: Xevious (2011, Nintendo 3DS) - The second instalment in Nintendo's series of 3D Classics remakes, converting the arcade version to employ 3D graphics.


  • Alien Invasion: Averted. According to the Back Story, humanity are the aliens, and the enemies are trying to reclaim their old homeworld. To be more specific, the humans on Earth are descendants of the human clones meant for Bagurius, one of the six planets chosen by GAMP to live in.
  • The Anime of the Game:
    • New Space Order: Link of Life, a web anime adaptation of the cancelled New Space Order arcade game.
    • There is also an obscure anime film released in 2002, in Japan only.
  • Big Bad: GAMP in all of the Xevious games.
  • Bullet Hell: At times, the game devolved into this, especially if there were a lot of Zakatos (black balls) around.
  • The Computer Is Your Friend: GAMP is an example of this.
  • Conlang: Xevi is a decently developed example, with words like "Garu", "Sheo", and "Gido" (Meaning Big, Two, and Fast respectively), among others.
  • Copy Protection: Very weak. All it does is change the Easter Egg to warn the player that the people who made the bootleg board and stripped out the copyright info are "making copy of namco program", so they can be prosecuted. Apparently, the message was iconic enough to merit a toggle in the Namco Museum DS port.
  • Cores-and-Turrets Boss: The Andor Genesis.
  • Direct Continuous Levels: The Areas blend into eachother seamlessly in most of the games, 3D/G being a notable exception
  • Dynamic Difficulty: Enemies start to fire shots much more often as you score points without dying.
  • Endless Game, which means the tagline, "Are you devious enough to beat Xevious?" was Blatant Lies. However, this trope has been subverted in most of the sequels and remakes.
  • Everything Trying to Kill You: Most of the enemies are this, notable exceptions include the Barras (the pyramids), Sol Citadels (the hidden towers), and the Sheonite (the floating pyramid things)
  • Excuse Plot: Blah, Blah, Blah GAMP Blah, Blah, Blah Bagurius Blah, Blah, Blah Let's shoot something!
  • Final Boss: GAMP in Xevious: Fardraut Densetsu, Super Xevious: GAMP no Nazo, Xevious 3D/G, and Xevious Resurrection. The other final bosses are just Andor Genesis variants.
  • Guide Dang It!:
    • It was impossible to know the location of the hidden flags without help, whether from word-of-mouth or guides.
    • GAMP no Nazo is almost entirely this because most of the game is to figure out how to advance to the next scene.
  • Invincible Minor Minion: The Bacuras (the floating mirrors), which slowly float in one direction, usually downward. They cannot be destroyed by the zapper, and as such do not give any points. In 3D/G, some of them even have turrets mounted on them. (although the turrets can be destroyed)
  • Master Computer: GAMP, which stands for General Artificial Matrix Producer.
  • Recurring Boss: Andor Genesis appears in every game, though several deviations were made. Even GAMP is a recurring boss, just varying in attacks and appearances.
  • Recycled Soundtrack: The main stage theme would later be used on the 1983-84 kids' game show Starcade, as music for their "Starcade Hotline" video game news segments.
  • Scenery Porn: Oh, those Nazca line figures. Xevious was the first game to truly be gorgeous, and the gray shaders didn't hurt.
  • Sound of No Damage: When shooting the Bacuras.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: GAMP rebelled because it decided that original humans were inferior and needed to be "protected".