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Xevious is a Vertical Scrolling Shooter arcade game by Namco, released in 1982. It was designed by Masanobu Endoh. 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 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 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 huge cult hit 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.
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.
- Super Xevious (1984, arcade) - Essentially a Mission Pack Sequel.
- Grobda (1984, arcade) - Arena tank shooter.
- Super Xevious: GAMP no Nazo (1986, Famicom)
- Xevious: Fardraut Saga (1988, MSX2) - Developed by Compile; features a "Scramble" mode with all new stages and 5 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/PlayStation)
- 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.
Xevious has examples of:
- AI Is a Crapshoot: GAMP.
- Alien Invasion: Averted. According to the Backstory, 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.
- Big Bad: The GAMP in all of the Xevious games.
- Cores and Turrets Boss: The Andor Genesis.
- Direct Continuous Levels
- The Eighties
- 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
- 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.
- Master Computer: GAMP, which stands for General Artificial Matrix Producer.
- Notable Original Music
- 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.
- The Computer Is Your Friend: GAMP is an example of this.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: GAMP rebelled because it decided that original humans were inferior and needed to be "protected".