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Xevious Poster.png
Arcade flyer
Designer(s)Masanobu Endō
Composer(s)Yuriko Keino
Platform(s)Arcade, Apple II, Atari 7800, Atari ST, NEC PC Engine, NES, MSX, Commodore 64, Amstrad CPC, Sharp X68000, ZX Spectrum
  • JP: December 1982
  • NA: January 1983
Genre(s)Vertically scrolling shooter
Mode(s)Up to 2 players, alternating turns
Arcade systemNamco Galaga
CPU3x ZiLOG Z80 @ 3.072 MHz
Sound1x Namco WSG @ 3.072 MHz, 1x Namco 54XX @ 1.536 MHz
DisplayVertical orientation, Raster, 224 x 288

Xevious (ゼビウス, Zebiusu)[1] is a vertically scrolling shooter released by Namco in arcades in December 1982.[2] It runs on Namco Galaga hardware, and was designed by Masanobu Endō (who later created The Tower of Druaga). In North America, the game was manufactured and distributed by Atari, Inc.

With its mix of air and ground targets, Xevious set the template for many vertically scrolling shooters that followed it. It was the first video game to use pre-rendered graphics.[3]

In 1983, Xevious was one of the first arcade games to have a television commercial in the North American market (along with Sega's Zaxxon). Atari promoted the game with the slogan "Are you devious enough to beat Xevious?"[4]


The beginning of a regular game of Xevious.

The player must use 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 air-to-surface bombs for ground targets. The game, presumably set in Peru, included forests, airstrips, enemy bases, and mysterious petroglyphs similar to the Nazca Lines.[5]

There are various aerial enemy aircraft which fire relatively slow-moving bullets at the player, 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-moving bullets at the player. Giant floating Andor Genesis motherships appear in certain areas; these must be defeated by knocking out their cores, and are considered one of the first level bosses to be incorporated into a video game.[5]

The game scrolls through 16 areas, looping back to Area 7 after Area 16. The Solvalou continually advances over varying terrain, and the boundaries between areas are marked only by dense forests being flown over. If the player dies, play will normally resume from the start of the area - but if the player has completed at least 70% of the current area before dying, play will resume from the start of the next area instead.[5] As the Solvalou continuously flies forward, it is possible to advance without defeating any enemies.

Xevious has hidden bonuses which are not mentioned in the instructions, but can be revealed by performing a secret maneuver. Among these is the "special flag" which first appeared in Rally-X. In Xevious the flag gives the player an extra life when collected, something carried over to subsequent Namco games.


Xevious has been ported to the Atari 7800, NEC PC Engine, and Nintendo Entertainment System (as Xevious: The Avenger) game consoles, as well as the MSX, ZX Spectrum, Commodore 64, Amstrad CPC, Apple II, Sharp X68000 and Atari ST home computers.

Atari 2600 and Atari 5200 ports were being developed by Atari, Inc. in 1984, but were never released.[6][7]


In 1996, Next Generation listed the arcade version at number 90 in their "Top 100 Games of All Time", citing the "intense action", variety of enemies, art direction, level design, and the many possible skill shots.[3]

In a retrospective review, Digital Press gave the Atari 7800 port a 9 out of 10 and wrote, "It's every bit as good and challenging as the arcade version, and maybe a bit better because of the difficulty options this version presents you with."[8]



The game has also been included in a number of classic arcade game compilations for consoles and PC, including Namco Museum Volume 2 for the original PlayStation in 1996, Microsoft Revenge of Arcade for the PC in 1998, Namco Museum 50th Anniversary for the Xbox, PlayStation 2, Nintendo GameCube, and PC in 2005, Namco Museum Battle Collection for the PlayStation Portable in 2005, Namco Museum DS for the Nintendo DS in 2007, Namco Museum Remix for the Wii in 2007, and Namco Museum Essentials for the PlayStation 3 in 2009. In 2004, the game was ported to the plug-n-play format as part of the Ms. Pac-Man TV Game arcade compilation, released by Jakks Pacific.

The NES version of the game was repackaged for Game Boy Advance in 2004 as part of the Classic NES Series, was included as an unlockable bonus game in Star Fox: Assault in 2005, and was released for the Virtual Console on January 15, 2007 for the Wii and May 9, 2013 for the Wii U.[9][10]

In 2005, Namco released the game on the mobile platform for cellphones. It was released on Xbox Live Arcade on May 23, 2007. In 2006 Xevious was released in the Let's! TV play classic series along with a sequel called Xevious Scramble Mission with the same gameplay and engine.

Paired releases with Super Xevious include Namco Classic Collection Vol. 1, Namco Museum DS and Xevious 3D/G+ for the original PlayStation.

Xevious was included Pac-Man's Arcade Party arcade machine in 2010.

3D Classics: Xevious is a Nintendo 3DS port of this game with 3D effects added to separate all of the objects in the air and everything on ground, and the port takes advantage of the 3DS's whole top screen instead of it being limited to the game's original resolution (with moving clouds added on to the sides), it's available for download on the Nintendo eShop for $5.99. It was released in Japan in June 2011 and in North America, Europe and Australia in July 2011.[11]


  • Super Xevious (1984) added higher difficulty and a few rarely seen new enemies (including a silver Galaxian flagship, a helicopter and a dark yellow tank). Some enemies would also reset the player's score if destroyed.
  • Grobda (1984) was a spin-off game starring an enemy character — the screw-propelled tank, which is the eponymous "Grobda".
  • Super Xevious: GAMP no Nazo (1986) was released for the Family Computer and the Nintendo VS. System. The player must solve riddles in each stage in order to progress. Unless certain criteria are met, the stage loops indefinitely, getting harder and harder in the process.
  • Xevious: Fardraut Saga (1988) was released for the MSX2 computers and developed by Compile. The player can select between two modes at the title screen, Recon (port of the original arcade Xevious) and Scramble, which is a new 16-area game with new enemies and 4 different ships to play with (Solvalou, Solgrado, Zeodalley and Gampmission). In 1990, a similar game was released on the TurboGrafx-16 as Xevious: Fardraut Densetsu.
  • Solvalou (1991) presented the game with a first-person view, and used 3-D flat shaded polygon graphics.
  • Xevious 3D/G (1995) was an update of the original, which used 3-D texture mapped polygon graphics and a simultaneous two-player feature (the second player got to control a red-lined version of the Solvalou). Ported to the Sony PlayStation as Xevious 3D/G+.
  • Xevious Arrangement (1995) was released as part of the Namco Classic Collection Vol. 1 compilation arcade title (along with the original Xevious and Super Xevious). The arranged version of the game had improved music and graphics, and different levels.
  • Xevious: Scramble Mission (2006) was developed by Namco and released by Bandai as part of the Let's! TV Play Classic compilation title, along with Mappy, the original Xevious and another exclusive game called Mappy: Revenge of Nyamco. The game reuses the graphics and engine of the original Xevious in a new mission where the Solvalou must navigate a fortress while being timed and destroy a new version of Gamp.
  • Xevious Resurrection (2009) was released as part of the PlayStation 3 downloadable title Namco Museum Essentials (Namco Museum.comm in Japan).
  • An RTS game titled New Space Order was in production by Namco Bandai Games for the System N2 arcade system board, but was cancelled.[12]

Other media[edit]

Musician Haruomi Hosono (Yellow Magic Orchestra) 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 Endō, set in the world of Xevious, with even a rudimentary fictional language. The theme music from Xevious was later used during "Hotline" segments of the video arcade game-based television game show Starcade.[4]

According to Namco Museum DS, a three-part novel was written about Xevious entitled "Fardraut". However, not much is known about the book, implying that it was never even released. According to the game, some backgrounds, characters, events and even sounds were inspired by the book.

Xevious was one of the video games based for a manga titled Famicom Rocky published by Comic Coro Coro from 1985 to 1987.

An anime adaption of the game, called New Space Order: Link of Life, was released in February 2008.


  1. ^ Pronounced /ˈzɛviəs/ ZEV-ee-əs according to the Japanese (katakana) spelling, /ˈzviəs/ ZEE-vee-əs per television advertising by the American licensor, where it was rhymed with "devious".
  2. ^ http://www.arcade-history.com/?n=xevious&page=detail&id=3217
  3. ^ a b "Top 100 Games of All Time". Next Generation. No. 21. Imagine Media. September 1996. p. 39.
  4. ^ a b "Xevious". The International Arcade Museum. Retrieved 2012-11-20.
  5. ^ a b c Savorelli, Carlo. "Xevious". Hardcore Gaming 101. Retrieved 2010-02-02.
  6. ^ Reichert, Matt. "Xevious (Atari 2600)". AtariProtos.com. Retrieved September 19, 2014.
  7. ^ Reichert, Matt. "Xevious (Atari 5200)". AtariProtos.com. Retrieved September 19, 2014.
  8. ^ Consolazio, Bruce. "Xevious 7800". Digital Press Online.
  9. ^ https://www.nintendo.com/games/detail/Hxpu2C382Eqp7l7NZ0lAJPomBVaKSnRS
  10. ^ https://www.nintendo.com/en_CA/games/detail/ARCEzJ45UYpQzWgKqQSuJsvljuSaK7yn
  11. ^ "3D Classics: Xevious Release Information for 3DS". GameFAQs. CBS Interactive. Retrieved 26 January 2014.
  12. ^ http://arcadeheroes.com/2012/01/04/namco-updates-ugsf-special-site-with-new-space-order-details/

External links[edit]