Gaming History 101

Know Your Roots

Xevious (Namco)

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Xevious is one of those games that doesn’t get the credibility it deserves despite being so easy to find on almost every console.  I think it’s because it does a lot of things other shmups do, even though in many cases it did them first, and therefore gamers are drawn to the more popular titles.  Back in 1982 when Namco released it into arcades – it would be released into US arcades by Atari and have the strongest port on the NES, if you believe that – the textures were amazing for the time.  This game also had both air and ground weapon that had their own button so it was up to you to use the right armaments.  Even today many vertical shmups don’t discriminate between ground or air when you blow things up, so it added a complexity to the game.  It was also one of the first games to introduce in-level bosses with central “cores” you had to destroy.  What still turns me and probably many other gamers off is that if you die you restart the level unless you’ve completed 70 percent of the area, at which point you will move on to the next level.

Other than that, there’s really nothing remarkable about the game.  It had a long-lasting series that no one, myself included, has ever cared to play.  It was available in arcade form and was supposed to be ported to the Atari 2600, but never made it.  As a result, the Famicom/NES were the dominant home versions although the prettier ports were on the PC-Engine and microcomputers.  It was also on several Namco collections on the PS1, PS2, Xbox, Gamecube, and DS as well as Nintendo doing a “classics” port on GBA and a “3D classics” port on 3DS.  It has also been released on Virtual Console (NES version) and Xbox Live Arcade (arcade version).  Xevious is also unlockable in the Gamecube title Star Fox Assault if you collect every silver medal.

Awkward History

There was a bootleg of the game, Xevios, that was poorly altered to remove the “u” (and I do mean poorly, it’s just literally cut out of the graphic).  The copyright was switched from 1982 to 1980, which implies the game was made by the bootlegger.  What’s even funnier, there’s a copyright code built into the game that reads “DEAD COPY MAKING, COPY UNDER NAMCO PROGRAM” that can be found by moving immediately to the right at the beginning of the game, bombing continually until the first set of rings is close and then shooting them down.  The message appears on the screen after you have done this.

Xevious is also given plenty of love in more modern Namco titles.  In Ridge Racer “RT Xevious Red” and “RT Xevious Green” are unlockable cars on the “RT Solvalou” team (the name of the ship).  The RT Xevious cars would return in all iterations of Ridge Racer until finally implementing the game into Ridge Racer 7.  You can play two lives while the game is loading and the entire game unlocks after you complete offline grand prix.  Tales of Symphonia features an enemy named “Bacura”, which is an invincible enemy in Xevious and extremely hard in Symphonia.  The background music from the arcade in Earthbound features sounds from Xevious.

And that wraps up the illusive Xevious.  Next week we wrap up with contemporary shmups starting with none other than Cave’s Deathsmiles tomorrow.

Written by Fred Rojas

March 25, 2012 at 12:00 pm

Posted in Shmuppreciation 2012

Tagged with , , , ,

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