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North American NES box art
Shoot 'em up
Xexyz (pronounced zeks'-zees/zeks'-iz), known in Japan as Kame no Ongaeshi - Urashima Densetsu (亀の恩返し〜ウラシマ伝説〜?), is a 1988 video game published by Hudson Soft for the Nintendo Entertainment System. The game was released in Japan on August 26, 1988, and saw a North American release sometime in April, 1990. The game was never released in Europe.
The story takes place in post-apocalyptic year 2777 after the Earth was devastated by nuclear war and natural disasters, the island nation of Xexyz is now threatened by Alien robots.
The game revolves around the main character of Apollo who progresses through the game in an alternating format that switches between platform, side-scrolling action (similar to the Super Mario Bros. series) and side-scrolling shooter action (similar to Konami's Gradius series). The goal of the series is to destroy an evil boss — Goruza — rescue a princess — in this case, Princess Maria — and save the planet.
In the platforming levels, defeated enemies drop life ('L' blocks) or money ('E' blocks) powerups. Apollo collects the currency of the land ('Balls'/'E Ball') in order to exchange for acquiring power-ups and information, as well as access to minigames. Vendors are scattered throughout the platforming levels through doors or hidden gates. In the shooter levels, 'S' and 'P' oblongs are found that upgrade speed and weapons, respectively.
The odd-numbered stages in the game (1, 3, 5, etc.) utilize mostly platform-style gameplay. These stages work in the familiar manner; the character progresses at his/her own pace, picking up new weapons and power-ups along the way. To leave the initial area of each of these levels the player has to collect a "force star" by defeating an enemy found in a hidden room. Once this star is obtained the character is able to enter the "mechanical castle" in the region. The mechanical castles, being maze-like indoor environments full of robots and machines, stand in stark contrast to the earlier parts of each level, which are organic outdoor environments. Each mechanical castle also has a brief auto-scrolling shooter segment through which the player must pass; these segments foreshadow the imminent transition to the following even-numbered stages. The segments in question consist of a sequence of corridors, at the end of which are two doors; choosing the wrong door loops the player back. Finally, at the very end of each mechanical castle there is a door leading to a boss fight. The boss fights are set against a solid black background and Apollo must fight while standing on a controllable floating platform.
Side-scrolling shooter gameplay
For the even-numbered stages (2, 4, 6, etc.) the character is prompted to jump into a vehicle (a different one each time) and take part in an auto-scrolling Parodius-like level ending with a boss fight.
In the transition area after the platformer, prior to the boss fight, Apollo is prompted to jump on a platform that lets him float. After moving into a previously out of reach door, the fight begins.
In side-scrolling shooter areas the player simply appears in a boss area in the ship they played the level in.
The fight consists of a black area where the player fights a giant robot/ship. Their attack pattern, resembling that of a Manic shooter, is repetitive and avoidable; the player shoots the boss with either their conventional weapon or the in-ship weapon.
Tube Shooter gameplay
The final level is a 'fixed' shooter. More specifically it is a "tube shooter" where the player approaches the last boss's fortress and attempt to destroy it. Apollo, in a more enhanced ship than any seen before, rotates from the sides of the screen to the bottom, shooting at the center while avoiding enemy fire.
Weapons and items
Apollo receives weapons and items from a goddess character to help him on his way. All weapons can be powered up by visiting a shop that specializes in powering up weapons, or by talking to the goddess character a second time.