Review: Xevious (Atari 7800)

By Drew Wilson

In this review, we check out a top down shooter released for the Atari 7800. This game is called Xevious. We find out if this is a hidden gem of a game or not.

This particular game was released in 1987. It was a port from an arcade version released a few years earlier.

This is an interesting top down shooter because you basically fire two weapons throughout the entire game. You have a main double barrel firing weapon that you can send three rounds at a time onto the screen. You also have a bombing weapon that can only shoot one “bullet” at a time. The main firing weapon is used to take down flying objects. The bomb weapon is used for ground enemies.

There are a number of enemies you can encounter. The first ones you’ll encounter are weird flying circles. The can come onto the screen one at a time, in pairs, or, three at a time (which might be an indicator to how far we got in the first place for this game). Some can fire a shot at you while others will not.

The next enemy you’ll encounter are structures. They won’t seem like enemies at first since the first few won’t fire at you, but they eventually will. To hit them accurately, you’ll need to aim the target that’s displayed a few spaces ahead of you over top of the building and fire. The target will turn red if you can hit them. If you place your bomb in the middle of pairs (or even groups of four), you can destroy all of the buildings in that cluster at once – though it does take pretty good aim to accomplish this.

Other enemies you might encounter are tanks, moving ground objects, flying indestructible spinning wall-like objects, larger pyramid-like structures and whole lot more.

One thing that is immediately obvious is that this game isn’t exactly easy. It gradually becomes more and more like a really hard bullet hell game with some bullets flying faster than others. Sometimes, bullets end up boxing you in, killing you in the process. You should note that this is one of those one hit and your dead games as well.

Graphically, this game does utilize the entire screen for graphics. There’s always that rolling landscape below that can display forests, rivers, desert, airport landing strips, and plenty of other things. There really isn’t a large bleak black space to be had unlike other Atari games. While the enemies are seemingly abstract objects and simple shapes at times, your craft is obviously a jet aircraft. The only problem with this game is the fact that sometimes the bullets are a bit hard to see given that the white bullets sometimes pass over light colored background. Still, the game is decent in the graphics department for an Atari game, but compared to other games on other home console systems, the graphics could be both better and worse.

The audio is also decent enough for an Atari game. Again, it’s a little dated compared to some other games out there by this time, but it is decent enough. There’s a small jingle at the beginning of each one of your flights and there’s a constant flying sound that gives you that precarious feeling throughout play. The sound effects are a bit minimalistic, but they do the job.

Overall, this was an interesting game to play. It’s a little bit on the difficult side even on the Beginner difficulty. Still, it played well and it was an overall decent game for it’s time.


Furthest point in game: 17650 (beginner difficulty)

General gameplay: 16/25
Replay value: 7/10
Graphics: 7/10
Audio: 3/5

Overall rating: 66%

Drew Wilson on Twitter: @icecube85

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