Another arcade classic makes its way onto the Spectrum. This time it's the ATARI coin-op Xevious, licensed from NAMCO.
The action takes place on (or rather, slightly above) Planet Earth many years in the future. The root of the story, however, dates back to the last Ice Age, when large hairy mammoths roamed the land and man was barely out of the trees. Around that time a highly sophisticated and technically advanced race of beings called the Xevious inhabited Earth. These beings were forced to abandon their homeland because of the advancing sheets of ice. However, the snows have long since departed our humble planet and the Xevious have returned. As you might imagine, they got a bit of a shock when they find out that the primitive apes they left behind had evolved into technically advanced creatures.
The Xevious believe that the Earth is rightfully theirs, and are willing to fight to prove their point. War breaks out, and this is where you come in. You play the part of a fighter pilot on a search and destroy mission to annihilate the Xevious warriors. Controlling a Solvalu fighter jet skimming over the surface of Earth, you keep an eye open for the enemy. Xevious fighters come in attack waves, attempting to crash into your craft or blow it out of the sky. Ground installations also take pot shots at the Earthman in the sky...
The action is viewed on the right-hand part of the screen which scrolls downwards with the enemy fighters attacking from the top in set patterns and formations. The ultimate objective is to survive the attacking waves of Xevious and penetrate their Andor Genesis Mother ship. This enormous craft can be disabled by knocking out its central reactor. Doing this makes the Xevious really mad, and they resume their attacks with renewed vigour as the attack run begins again - the mission becomes more perilous each time around.
Xevious fighters can be blasted out of the skies with the on-board lasers while the enemy's ground-based entrenchments can be knocked out with bombs. Indestructible flying mirrors appear interspersed with the attacking Xevious craft. These nasty contraptions are difficult to spot, and colliding with one spells instant death.
Five lives are available and a two-player option allows a pair of pilots to take turns at eradicating the Xevious forces.
Control keys: definable - up, down, left, right, fire, bomb
Joystick: Kempston, Cursor, Interface 2
Use of colour: monochromatic play area
Graphics: not much detail, smooth scrolling
Sound: the occasional spot effect
Skill levels: one
Screens: scrolling play area
'Xevious in the arcades was one of those cult machines that you either liked or hated - I liked it. Xevious on the Spectrum however, is a boring shoot 'em up that's Instantly forgettable. Graphically, this is one of the better monochromatic shoot 'em ups - the characters and scrolling area are well defined. The use of colour is a little suspect though: green-o-vision has been done before and to better overall effect. The sound is not at all bad, with a couple of tuneettes and the effects have obviously been thought about (but not too hard). All-in-all, I can't recommend this.'
'At first I found Xevious quite interesting to play, but it soon dawned on me that it's basically a Space Invaders type game - the only difference being the addition of modem features such as scrolling and monochromatic landscapes. Xevious is good as shoot 'em ups go, butt feel the game lacks anything that even the most docile of players would find taxing. The game has instant appeal - which is probably why the arcade freaks liked it - but I got completely bored very quickly. The free badge is nice. The freebie poster is quite pretty-but the game holds no lasting appeal.'
'Having heard bits about this arcade game (without having played it), I expected a bit more than this from Xevious. The graphics are very average, and frankly, that's my opinion of the whole thing. It's just another shoot ' em up. That's it. Fine for shoot 'em up addicts no doubt, but I 'm not too keen'