by Nick Bruty
U.S. Gold Ltd
Crash Issue 37, Feb 1987   page(s) 104

Producer: US Gold
Retail Price: £7.99
Author: Probe Software

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 for 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 modern features such as scrolling and monochromatic landscapes. Xevious is good as shoot 'em ups go, but I 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.

Presentation: 65%
Graphics: 72%
Playability: 59%
Addictive Qualities: 57%
Value for Money: 59%
Overall: 64%

Summary: General Rating: A straightforward shoot 'em up.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Your Sinclair Issue 14, Feb 1987   page(s) 85

US Gold

Eons ago, millenia before prehistoric man trod the earth, even before the ice age glaciers swept across Europe and altered it forever (Get on with it. Ed). Anyway, a very long time ago indeed, the earth was colonised by the Xevious people. This advanced civilisation ruled for centuries before moving on to better things. But now they've returned, and they want their planet back. Not very chummy, eh? Not surprisingly this has not gone down too well with the earth's ruling forces, so they've sent you out in your Solvalou spacecraft to give them a darn good thrashing (see me in my study, Simpkins).

Xevious is another scrollling shoot 'em up, a coin-op conversion in the traditions of Uridium, WAR and Lightforce. Enemy forces take the form of ground-based missile systems and flying whatchamacallits which dodge around in a thoroughly tricky manner. These Xevious are devious! Things get more difficult of course when you approach a flotilla of floating mirrors, as these'll reflect your fire back at you unless you get out of the way smartish. At the end of the line you'll face the Andor Genesis Mother Ship, a huge steaming mother of a ship that may take a bit of budging.

With this sort of conversion it seems to me that programmers have a very simple choice - graphic quality or speed. US Gold has gone for speed. So while Xevious may not be as impressive to look at as, say, Lightforce, it's much more fun to-play. Uridium managed to combine the two, with spectacular results.

Xevious is fast, vicious and enthralling. If you can forgive graphics that never really rise above the mundane, you should get a lot out of it.

Graphics: 7/10
Playability: 8/10
Value For Money: 8/10
Addictiveness: 9/10
Overall: 8/10

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Sinclair User Issue 59, Feb 1987   page(s) 23

Label: US Gold
Author: Probe Software
Price: £9.95
Joystick: various
Memory: 48K/128K
Reviewer: Graham Taylor

When you take away the awesome graphics from Xevious you're left with a pretty average sort of game.

So it goes. In the arcades Xevious looked astonishing. Spaceships looked really metallic and the landscape looked like it was real.

What can you expect from the Spectrum version? It's two-colour, green and black, and some of the background features lack detail. For example, the Xevious 'roads' are reduced to lines making them considerably less impressive than in the original.

There are some positive trade offs for some of these compromises however. No attribute clash, obviously, and a fair degree of detail in the spacecraft and some of the 'set piece' background sections.

Clever use of shading gives some of the sprites in Xevious a solid look too, an illusion of 3D. They may not actually look like metal as in the original but they look more substantial than with most similar games.

As a game Xevious follows a classic pattern. It scrolls top to bottom with waves of aliens to be blasted or avoided, getting ever more vicious and ever more erratic in their movement as you penetrate deeper into the game. There are ground bases you can destroy with difficulty - they lob bombs in your general direction - and finally there's a mothership you destroy only by hitting it in one specific spot (in this case the central reactor).

You must have heard this one before. Apart from anything else 90 percent of Lightforce follows this formula.

Mainly it's about stabbing away at the joystick and watching out for stray bombs. There are some definite techniques you can learn to help you survive longer. After a half hour's play I just managed to creep on to the bottom of the high scores board.

So what do I think of Xevious? I think it's a better than average shoot 'em up and as a conversion it's pretty good.

I'd like to have seen what Faster Than light would have done with it though.

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Overall: 4/5

Summary: A good shoot 'em up and a reasonable conversion of an arcade classic. A definite maybe for joystick junkies.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Sinclair User Issue 69, Dec 1987   page(s) 56

Label: Americana
Author: Probe
Price: £2.99
Memory: 48K/128K
Joystick: various
Reviewer: Tony Dillon

A long time ago, in a galaxy quite close to home, lived the people of Xevious. They had a world, and they called it Earth. One day, while they were out shopping, a bunch of apes had the cheek to evolve into intelligent life forms and take over. So, the Xevians decide to put a stop to the 'humans' (as they had decided to name themselves) and launched an attack.

Enough of the supa-hype opening, down to brass tacks. This game, like many of its era is a vertically scrolling, shoot-'em-up, and not a very good one. It scrolls nicely enough, the backgrounds are very average, the nasties are depicted in a quite-well-depicted-sort-of-fashion, but it lacks the motivation to make it worth playing.

Overall: 3/10

Summary: Poorly programmed unplayable conversion of a a substandard arcade machine.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

C&VG (Computer & Video Games) Issue 64, Feb 1987   page(s) 49

MACHINE: Spectrum/C64
PRICE: £7.95 (Spec), £9.95 (C64)

What better way to finish off the year of the arcade conversion than with a real classic like Xevious? Well, U.S. Gold , reckons it is anyway. I, for one, can't disagree with them!

The original coin-op appeared way back in the mists of time - but the game hasn't dated. You won't find any cobwebs on this shoot 'em up. It's been converted by the underrated Probe Software team - who are also working on other arcade conversions for Activision as reported in our news section last issue.

If this is anything to go by, we're in for a few treats in the New Year.

Xevious is a pretty basic, horizontally scrolling zapper. You fly your space fighter over a landscape of trees, lakes and built up areas in search of your goal - the alien mothership.

On the way you'll encounter hoardes of intelligent alien attackers in many different shapes and forms.

There are also ground emplacements to deal with. These fire at you - but you're armed with bombs which you can use to blitz these buildings and the odd alien tank using the roadways which you overfly during your mission.

The scrolling is pretty smooth - and the graphics are generally black on one colour, but pretty detailed for all that. You can generally dodge alien fire because their bullets move pretty slowly, but watch out for clusters of bullets - these can really catch you out.

Also try to shoot the alien craft as far up the screen as you can this gives you more time to bomb the ground installations which send up those bomb clusters. And don't get trapped in the corners of the screen. That's old advice for experienced zappers like you - but it's still useful!

And watch out for the awesome flying mirrors! They are real killers.

Commodore graphics are a bit confusing to follow at first. The choice of colours isn't that great. But you do get the enhanced sounds of course.

There are 32 different kinds of alien ship and no wave is the same, 16 levels, four skill ratings and bonus screens - just like the arcade original.

There is a two player option plus a nice high score chart. Screen layout differs from machine to machine. The Spectrum has a split screen effect while the 64 is a full screen game.

Xevious is a good thumb-busting zapper for shoot 'em up fans of all ages.

It may not have the colourful graphic frills of something like Lightforce but it's still pretty addictive. Check it out.

Graphics: 7/10
Sound: 7/10
Value: 7/10
Playability: 8/10

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Your Computer Issue 2, Feb 1987   page(s) 49

U.S. Gold

Many eons ago, even before U.S. Gold bought its first arcade licence, an advanced technologically-orientated civilisation was forced to evacuate the Earth prior to the Ice Age. Now the Xevious people are returning to reclaim their heritage through conquest.

That is the scenario which the latest arcade shoot-'em-up, Xevious, uses as a background for its shoot-and-dodge gameplay. Anyone who has been to the arcades and played Xevious will immediately recognise the conversion, as it retains both the attack waves and game structure.

Programmed on the Spectrum, the first version to be completed by Probe Software, it is one of the best shoot-'em-ups programmed on the Spectrum and is up there with Lightforce and Uridium. The graphics and animation are excellent, with a huge variety of spinning and twisting aliens and totally smooth vertical scrolling.

At first, the game appears to be a little simple but having played it for a few hours, I can vouch for the fact that some of the later levels are, to say the least, infuriating. By including the fire and bomb on one button the programmers have made the killing of the ground bases less of a struggle, although at some points it still becomes incredibly hectic.

As with all good shoot-'em-ups, points are accumulated by the thousand, with anything above 50,000 being no mean feat. With both Xevious and Gauntlet in its catalogue, U.S. Gold has two all-time arcade favourites, both excellently converted, and available on time. What more could anyone ask?

Graphics: 5/5
Sound: 3/5
Playability: 5/5
Value For Money: 4/5
Overall: 4/5

Transcript by Chris Bourne

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