Shmups Forum
* FAQ    * Search
 * Register  * Login 
It is currently Thu Jun 08, 2023 11:57 am View unanswered posts
View active topics

Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 1 post ] 
Author Message
 Post subject: Arcade Archives Xexex (PS4 - PS5 - Nintendo Switch)
PostPosted: Wed Jan 19, 2022 10:59 pm 

User avatar

Joined: 11 Oct 2008
Posts: 716
Location: Autobot City, Sugiura Base
After the Trashfall marathon, it's time to talk about better shmups, this time will be more Arcade Archives stuff, and boy, we're getting some good surprises this time 'cos Konami has released Xexex.
Yeah, you heard right, the legendary 1991 arcade shooter finally gets a home console release.

Space combat in the planet of marbles.

Despite being an horizontal shmup, Xexex ditches the classic "Gradius Formula" in favor of a more R-Type based gameplay. Being the Flint the main feature, this "Non-Force" is both shield and weapon of this game. As a weapon, the Flint has charge attack function that unleashes a long range frontal tentacle strike that damages whatever gets in the way. This can only be used when the Flint is attached to the ship. Along with the front shield functionality for the Flintlock, the Flint is a weapon of its own once its detached from the ship. There's two ways to release the Flint. One is the basic "Flint Button" pressing, and the second is to charge the Flintlock's shot and then press the Flint button to launch it as a fast projectile. Once its out, the Flint will deploy large tentacles that absorb bullets and if the precision is right the Flint will latch with the weakpoint of the boss causing it constant damage which can be backed up by the Flintlock's weapons. Xexex addressed a flaw that R-Type games (even Final 2) suffers: Being unable to use the heavy weapons when the Force is detached. You can have the Flint detached while using the Shadow Laser, providing a great offensive which could be vital during boss fights. While the game lacks of a missile subweapon, it compensates that with a vast array of weapons, like the Homing Laser which fires two blue lasers that bend up or down based on the enemy's last position, leaving a frontal yellow beam for air-to-air combat purposes acting like a somewhat functional missile sub-weapon at the same time. However, the best weapon of the game is the Shadow Laser as it causes great dramages to the enemies.
Like in R-Type, the difficulty climbs drastically as soon as you reach the second stage, requiring to master the Flint more than any other weapon of the game. If you thought stage 3 was hard, wait until you see stage 5 which will bring novice players down to their knees. Like the Gradius games, there's stages where the game scrolls forever and this is well exploited by the game as it makes some heavy enemy placements in those stages becoming a trial of fire that even R-Typers will face a genuine challenge, and hell, they will feel right at home as the game features the "die and go back to the checkpoint" thing, but the game places an item carrying enemy (blue flashing enemy) to get a weapon and stand a chance making the whole thing a little more fair for the player.

Now you have a life bar. Hope that helps you on your mission.

The European Xexex and American Orius versions made a few twists to the game compared to the Japanese version. The first improvement was the inclusion of a life bar, allowing you to take multiple hits before you die, grants you a homing missile sub-weapon and the game now includes simultaneous 2 Player action for team play and allow you to advance much further. Also, when you die and continue the game, you'll respawn immediately rather than being sent back to a checkpoint, and rather than receiving a few thousand point bonus at the end of each stage, the game replaces it with a "Kill Count" where the Special Bonus is based on how much enemies you've killed in the stage. Keep in mind, the kill count resets when you continue. With these advantages, Konami did a series of errors that destroyed the core gameplay of Xexex. First is the Life mechanics, while the life bar is well received, the game removed the spare ships, so if you die it's go to the continue screen, all of the weapons were removed, leaving you with a very weak spread-gun like shot. The game throws you more enemies and in the warp stage you'll fight two satellite bosses instead of one. The life bar also drops with very little recovery time, like a half-second temporary invincibility and some hits drain too much health at the point that life recovery items aren't enough. Speaking of items, the life recovery items spell "XEXEX" on the Orius version making it a "Localization Fail" of some sorts.

Certified "Great" by a Flint.

One more omitted detail from the European and American releases was the Name Entry screen where after entering your initials and genre, a Flint will appear as a fortune teller. Euro-Xexex and Orius replaces that with a standard name entry during the continue countdown, but allowing you to save your score before continuing the game with the score resetted to nothing. I guess that was because the japanese humour would be complicated to understand.

The closest thing to play Xexex on the Super Nintendo.

Unlike some of Konami's arcade games, it wasn't ported to 16 bit consoles. But in the Super Famicom game Ganbare Goemon 2, there's a Xexex mini-game which is a 1 stage game and most people will think this mini-game is the reason why this game wasn't ported. The graphics and the gameplay are toned down and there's a lot of slowdowns. Everyone believes that the technical achievements of the game were too much for the Super Nintendo and the Sega Genesis. There was plans for a PC Engine port, but it was cancelled for the same reason. If Xexex was too much for the SNES and the Genesis, it would be technologically impossible for the PC Engine (even more than Sapphire). Well, everyone talks about limitations when it comes to homeporting and believe this mini-port is the solid proof, but I'm sure Konami wasn't pulling all of its muscle on this mini-game if we compare it with the SNES ports of Gradius III, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles IV: Turtles in Time and Sunsetriders, those were solid and accurate in terms of arcade accuracy like the gameplay and sound, especially TMNT IV. These observations just raises the question which involves Xexex along with other coin-ops like X-Men, Aliens and The Simpsons.

Xexex saw the light once in 2007 as a portable game for the PSP as part of Salamander Portable, until December 23, 2021 when the game finally hits home as an entry of the Arcade Archives series where the player can select if he/she wants to play the original Japanese Xexex, the European Xexex or the American Orius along with the traditional Hi Score Mode and Caravan Mode where the game gives them the option of play said modes on either Japanese, European or American versions.

Pump up the Jam! It's the Super Technotronic Dance Party.

Graphically, it is hard to believe that the game has a palette of 2048 colors because Konami brought us a super spectacle with stunning visuals beyond any other arcade as they verge on the 3D borderline. The opening sequence features a CGI-like Flintlock that rotates and zooms in and out and the visual wonders make a full act of prescence as soon as you add a credit and press the Start button. level 1 adds a super-detailed twist on the concept of a crystal cavern, the first boss features waving effects and the cannon has a rotating barrel effect that looks impressive. Stage 2 is a world of "atoms" that make random shapes, but the real wonders begin from Stage 3 as we have a "Space Heaven" on a pink sky with waterfalls falling from above and below and a planet rotating in the background with smaller worlds behind it. Not to mention the huge Chinese/Japanese dragon boss. Stage 4 is your bio-technological-organic cave where the floor moves as if it was the interior of a gigantic life form. But Stage 5 is the most fascinating as the game delivers a retro-futuristic tecnological world with 3D asteroids and mountains done with honeycomb patterns, and during the boss battle it will throw energy lines and pulsing colors along with a CGI-esque face. Truly, the graphics in this game are beyond the imagination and you should really check them out 'cos the review itself (or any other you find) doesn't make enough justice to them.

The Intergalactic Call for Help has been sent.
And it's up to you to answer the call and save E-Square.

During the opening and throughout the stages, the game will throw you short cutscenes in the style of a late 80's-early 90's anime that reminds me of Macross, Saint Seiya and even Dragon Quest: Dai no Daibouken ("Las Aventuras de Fly" as it was known in Mexico). The animation quality was a heavy step forward from their previous works like Dettana Twinbee / Bells & Whistles, Gradius II / Vulcan Venture as they're almost like an FMV, something that the company perfected on Turtles in Time and Twinbee Yahoo! when they had a more advanced hardware. The text was translated for Europe and America, but it was done on Engrish, as we have broken parts like "When man made it possible to easily between planets" rather than "When makind made interplanetary travel possible", but at least it give us a hint of what's going on with the game.

The Science of Sounds is as wonderful as the Flintlock itself.

The music is simply fascinating as it breaks a little with the spacy Gradius fanfare and mixes it more upbeat and energetic anime-like rhythms that are almost CD quality, it was more than obvious that Konami wanted to leave a solid footprint on the arcade scene and the sound department wouldn't be left behind. This was also accompanied with voice samples in the cutscenes. There's plenty of them for an arcade game, all the three versions included them on japanese. So we can say Xexex's legacy really speaks for itself.


That's an R-Typed reference.

- Xexex is pronunced "Zeks-Zeks".
- It is unknown why the name change to Orius in America while the Europe version kept the japanese name.
- How to pronounce Orius as "Oh-rhy-us" or "Oh-ree-us" is a mystery since there's no off-voice spelling the game's name.
- The bootup screen of the game has the message "Our dreams come true". This is missing from the Arcade Archives port.
- The names of Stages 3 and 4 are come from French words: "Laelau Laile" that comes from "l'eau l'aile" which means "Water Wing" and "Artere Coeur" means "Artery Heart" in French language.
- Konami had plans for a PlayStation 2 port as part of Hamster’s Oretachi Geesen Zoku just like their re-release of Thunder Cross, but it was cancelled.
- The Arcade Archives release of Xexex is the second overall console port, but the first as a standalone home console game.
- In the final level, the first two enemy fighters heavily resemble the R-9A Arrowhead from R-Type.
- The stage "Sweet Land" from the SNES game Parodius is a parody of Planet Dis.
- Planet Dis is also the stage featured in the Ganbare Goemon 2 mini-game.
- The Flintlock
(wrongly called "Flint-Rock") is an unlockable jet in Airforce Delta Strike, to obtain it, you have to shot down OCC aces like Albert Ungar and Sergei Kinski 100 times with any pilot through New Game Plus playthroughs. Like all the special Konami aircraft, you get it for free as a present from Harry.
- Both Flintlock and the Flint appeared in Yu-Gi-Oh! as a Machine-type Monster Card called "Flint Lock" while the Flint made an appearance as a Spell Card.
- The Xexex hardware was used in later arcade games like G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero, Lethal Enforcers, Asterix, Bucky O'Hare, and even for Non-Konami games like Banpresto's Dragon Ball Z and Dragon Ball 2 Super Battle.


Xexex plays a role in the Otomedius series as some of the game's main aspects are referenced.

You can't talk Xexex without mentioning her.

- Diol Twee and the Serenity Viper are based on the Flintlock.
- Diol is the Flint part of the Flintlock. This can be noticed on the tentacle sprouting from her back which she uses for her Platonic Break.
- Elaine's image and pleas for help make an appearance as an encoded message in the boss of the South Pole level of Otomedius Gorgeous.
- Elaine was renamed as Irene.
- Diol's DLC BGMs from Otomedius Gorgeous are remixes of Xexex's themes.
- Elaine's dress is an unlockable costume for Diol Twee in Otomedius Gorgeous and a DLC in Otomedius Excellent.

Any time, anywhere in a virtual universe
Sometimes, somewhere. Space Legends! Space Legends!
Any time, anywhere, a strange and crazy world
Sometime, somewhere, Space Legends will be marching on.

Xexex is perhaps the greatest of all retro-arcade shmups Konami made back then, as it pulls the hardware limitations of their boards to bring us a visual spectacle and a sizzling soundtrack to keep us playing as much as possible. While the European and American versions tried to improve in some aspects, they ruined it on other ones.

Ignoring that abomination called Contra: Rogue Corps.
That wasn't a game we loved.

If you've missed the PSP Salamander Portable re-release, then this is your best chance to play the definitive home version of Xexex (and "To go" for Switch owners). This game is basically Konami's best take on the arcade shmup scene and there's no doubt that both Gradius and R-Type fans will enjoy this game.
FINAL WORD OF ADVICE: Play the original Japanese Xexex. Euro-Xexex and Orius aren't worthy.

You know you're gonna get a great game for your consoles.
Fan of Transformers, Shmups and Anime-styled Girls. You're teamed up with the right pilot!
Bringing you shmup and video game reviews with humorous criticism.

STG Wikias: Thunder Force Wiki - Wikiheart Exelica - Ginga Force Wiki

 Offline Profile  
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 1 post ] 

All times are UTC

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest

You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
Space Pilot 3K template by Jakob Persson
Powered by phpBB © 2000, 2002, 2005, 2007 phpBB Group