At 25, Xevious is probably older than a number of the people reading this review. For those of you who don’t know, this 1982 Namco coin-muncher was one of the first vertical scrolling arcade shooters, helping establish the standard for everything that came in its wake. And while the shooter genre has largely come and gone in the annals of gamedom, Xevious remains a very big part of interactive entertainment history.
But the problem with porting and releasing downright ancient games like this on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 is that no matter how classic or significant they are, they generally just don’t stand the test of time. Xevious is a perfect example of this pitfall.
Xevious features no power-ups, very few enemy types, one incessantly looped tune, no level breaks and no end. Does all that add up to a bad game? No, not at all. It just doesn’t add up to a whole lot of fun anymore.
The hardcore shooter aficionados out there will definitely appreciate the history and challenge presented by Xevious, of course. This is no cake walk. While there are very few enemy types, the mixture of airborne and ground-based targets - both of which are generally chucking everything they have at your one-hit-kill ship - is such that the game doesn’t necessarily feel too intense, but it is. It takes a steady hand and major skills to make your way through Xevious.
Unfortunately, Namco Bandai didn’t see fit to add the almost-standard Xbox 360 bells and whistles to this re-release. Xevious sports no graphical or musical enhancements, nor does it feature any sort of online play. Not even the lame, overused score attack mode found in so many of the other Live Arcade titles makes an appearance. Technically you’re getting the game in its purest form, but a few presentation and play options tacked on wouldn’t have been so bad.
The up side to this whole thing is that this classic will only cost you 400 Microsoft Points. That’s a fair price; especially considering those who do buy it will be doing so out of a sense of nostalgia, or simply because of what the game represents.