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 realty rise above the mundane, you should get a lot out of it.
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?
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