Xevious Poster

The promotional poster for Xevious.

Xevious is a popular vertical scrolling shooter arcade game by Namco, released in 1982.[1] It was designed by Masanobu Endō. 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 "shooter" for aerial targets and a "bomber" 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.[1]

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.[1]

The game has 1 level, but the areas change after flying certain distances. The Solvalou continually advances over varying terrain and the boundaries between areas are marked only by dense forests being overflown. If the player dies, play normally resumes from the start of that area. If the player has completed at least 70% of the level before dying, play will begin at the start of the next area instead.[1] 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 (it was preceded by at least the 1981 Atari 8-bit computer game Caverns of Mars 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 Endō, set in the world of Xevious, with even a rudimentary fictional language.

Enemies Edit

This is a list of all enemies in the game. There are ground-based enemies to blast on, but there are also air-based enemies to shoot.

Air-Based Enemies Edit

Bacura (invincible barrier)

Brag Spario (uncanny bullets)

Brag Zakato (medium blaster)


Garu Zakato (huge blaster)

Gido Spario (of depth perception)


Kapi (flipper)

Spario (bullets)


Torkan (scout ship)

Toroid (ring-like)

Zakato (blaster)

Zoshi (doom/death)


There were several arcade sequels and a spin-off, though none achieved much popularity:

  • Super Xevious (1984) was practically the same game made significantly harder, and with a few rarely-seen new enemies.
  • Solvalou (video game) (1991) presented the same game with a pilot's-eye view. The game used 3-D flat shaded polygon graphics. Released in Japan only.
  • Xevious 3D/G (1995) was an update on the classic with 3-D texture mapped polygon graphics and a simultaneous two-player feature. Released in Japan only.
  • Xevious Arrangement (1995) was part of the Namco Classic Collection Vol. 1 game collection (along with the original Xevious and Super Xevious). The arranged version had improved music and graphics and different levels.
  • Grobda (1984) was a spin-off starring an enemy character—the tank with corkscrew treads.

In Japan, three new versions were released for home systems:

  • Super Xevious: GAMP no Nazo (1986) was released for the Nintendo Famicom and the Nintendo Vs. series on the Arcades. You must solve riddles in each stage in order to progress. Unless you meet certain criteria the stage loops indefinitely, getting harder and harder in the process.
  • Xevious: Fardraut Saga (1988) was released for the MSX2 computers and developed by Compile. You can select between two modes at the title screen, Recon (port of the original Arcade Xevious) and Scramble, which is a new 16 area game with new enemies and 4 different ships to play with (Solvalou, Solgrado, Zeodalley and Gampmission).
  • Xevious: Fardraut Densetsu (1990) was released for the PC Engine and also developed by Compile. This is the sequel to Fardraut Saga and it features two modes of play selectable from the title screen, Original (port of the original Arcade Xevious) and Fardraut, which is a 4 stage story mode with cut-scenes, power-ups and a different ship on each level.
  • An RTS game titled New Space Order, currently in production in Japan by Namco Bandai Games, contains elements from the Xevious video game series. In the game there is an interplanetary nation called the "Military Empire," which the population speaks the Xevi language, the same language spoken by the dwellers of planet Xevious. Their theme song, sung in Xevi, can be downloaded from the game's homepage.


The game has been ported to other systems, including the Atari 7800, Atari 8-bit, NEC PC Engine, Nintendo Entertainment System game consoles, also the MSX, ZX Spectrum, Commodore 64, Amstrad CPC, Apple II and Atari ST home computers. In 2005 Namco released the game on the mobile platform for cellphones. Other handheld ports include Game Boy Advance The game has also been included in a number of classic arcade game compilations for consoles and PC, including Namco Museum Volume 2 for the original PlayStation in 1996, Microsoft Revenge of Arcade for PC in 1998, Namco Museum 50th Anniversary Collection for Xbox, PlayStation 2, Nintendo GameCube, and PC, as well as Namco Museum Battle Collection for the PlayStation Portable in 2005. (The game did not appear in the scaled-down Game Boy Advance version of Namco Museum 50th Anniversary Collection.) The NES-version of the game was released for Game Boy Advance in 2004 as part of the Classic NES Series and again on the Virtual Console on January 15, 2007. The game is also on the Ms. Pac Man Plug 'n Play game made by HotGen Studios. It was released on Xbox Live Arcade on May 23, 2007. This as well as Super Xevious were on Namco Museum DS and Xevious 3D/G+ for PSX.

Differences between Japanese and U.S. versionEdit

The names appearing by default in the Japanese version's high-score list are pseudonyms of the game designers and music composers. The U.S. version only allowed three characters for high-score names.

The zapper and blaster buttons were reversed between the Japanese and U.S. arcade versions.

References in Ridge RacerEdit

There are several references to Xevious in Ridge Racer. Two bonus cars have this game as a sponsor, a red car, "RT Xevious Red" and a green car, "RT Xevious Green". They were used in Ridge Racer, Ridge Racer 2, Rave Racer, Ridge Racer Revolution, and Ridge Racer 64. In R4: Ridge Racer Type 4 and Ridge Racer 64, a racing team has this game as a sponsor, donning a silver with blue stripes paint scheme, as well as their racing number, 02. The team is named "RT Solvalou", and they are a "hard" team, while in Ridge Racer 64, "RT Solvalou" is one of the four cars the player starts with. Ridge Racer 7, for the PlayStation 3, features a playable version of this game during the opening sequence. Players are given two lives in order to reach a pre-set high score. The full Xevious game is unlockable through completing part of the single player, offline Ridge Racer grand prix and UFRA circuits.

References in other gamesEdit

  • In StarFox: Assault, which was co-developed by Namco, the Special Flags are hidden secrets in the game's stages. The pickup sound for the flag is exactly the same as that in Xevious. Additionally, the Nintendo Entertainment System version of Xevious is unlockable if the player earns every silver medal in the game.
  • In Tales of Symphonia, which was developed by Namco, there is an enemy called "Bacura," which is one of the invincible flying panels from Xevious. It only appears at one point in the game, and has a very high defense, making it hard to defeat.
  • In both Mario Kart Arcade GP and Mario Kart Arcade GP 2, arcade versions (co-developed by Namco) of Nintendo's popular Mario Kart series of games, Pac-Man appears as a playable character. One of his selectable karts is the Solvalou spacecraft.
  • In EarthBound, music from Xevious can be heard in the background noise at the Onett arcade.


External linksEdit