The Arcade Video Game by Tehkan, Ltd.

Pleiads screenshot


Emulated in MAME ! Coin-Operated Arcade Video Game

Pleiads © 1981 Tehkan.

Pleiads is a 2-D, space shooter style game. With its many interesting visual and audio effects, this game is sure to challenge the most avid player.

Each round of play includes 4 different stages. With the onset of the melodious background tune, the first stage of play begins.

Against a backdrop of planets and twinkling stars, the Earth City must be protected from sixteen attacking Martians. These Martian attackers have the ability to transform from flying Martians, to walking Martians, or to UFOs. The walking Martians build barriers across the Earth City. These barriers must be destroyed.

The Earth Spaceship can be maneuvered right and left. With the use of the 'warp' button, it can be randomly relocated when necessary. These, plus a backup of stationary defense weapons, aid in protecting the Earth City and Spaceship, as well as in destroying the Martian Attackers. When all but the two final Martians have been destroyed, a tone of dusk shades the Earth City. As these two attackers meet their end, the Earth Spaceship ascends into space to meet the challenge of Stage II.

In this second stage of play, the Earth Spaceship encounters eight Space Monsters. To destroy these Monsters, they must be hit in the direct center. When a Space Monster with burning wings is destroyed, up to 400 points can be added to your score. When all the Space Monsters have been destroyed, the Earth Spaceship prepares for Stage III.

In this third stage of play, the Earth Spaceship is confronted with the Martian Space Battleship and its unseen forces. This Martian Battleship contains five closed chambers, each protected by a rocket flame. Each chamber opens periodically at random, to release a defending reserve of Martian attackers. When a flame below an open chamber is extinguished, point value of the Martian Space Battleship increases. This enemy ship can be destroyed by either eliminating all sixteen Martian attackers, or by extinguishing all five rocket flames. When the Martian Space Battleship finally explodes, the Earth Spaceship moves on to Stage IV.

This last stage of play begins with an emergency signal, SOS, SOS, SOS, AT ONCE RETURN TO EARTH. The Earth Spaceship is now ready to be guided on its journey, through a landing corridor, back to its home base. The Earth Spaceship must be carefully maneuvered around other spaceships in order to avoid destruction. Clearing flags will add bonus points to your score. When the Earth Spaceship has been safely maneuvered to its arrival target, 500 to 4,000 points will be added to your score, while bursts of fireworks greet your arrival and signal the beginning of a new round of play.


Pleiads the  Arcade Video Game
Click to enlarge
(members only)
Pleiads the  Arcade Video Game
Click to enlarge
(members only)
Main CPU : 8085A (@ 2.75 Mhz)
Sound Chips : TMS36XX (@ 0.247 Khz), Custom (@ 0.247 Khz)

Players : 2
Buttons : 4


Pleiads was released in April 1981.

Pleiads was a partnership game between Tehkan and Centuri. Centuri tended to partner up with other companies such as SNK for "Vanguard" or Amstar for "Phoenix". Tehkan was a little known company who mostly produced sports type games. There most well known game is "Bomb Jack". Unfortunately, the video game crash of the early 80's claimed both of these companies as victims; Centuri in 1983 and Tehkan in 1985. This was another game that one played on multiple playing fields. The scoring system was more unique in the fact it depended on things you did before you killed an enemy. Pleiads was a loosely based sequel to "Phoenix", which was released in 1980.

The cabinet artworks spell the name as 'Pleiades' but the game has it spelled 'Pleiads'. The name itself is from Greek mythology, of which there are several different spellings (Pleiads, Pleiades, Peleiades).

Patrick Orr holds the official record for this game with 1,164,900 points.

A Pleiads unit appears in the 1982 movie 'Fast Times at Ridgemont High'.

Pleiads also shows up in 'Chapter Two - The Bishop of Battle', the 2nd story in the 1983 movie Nightmares, featuring Emelio Estevez and Moon Unit Zappa. However, they use game sounds from other games ("Dig Dug", among others) during the game footage.


Scoring is a little complicated in this game due to the fact it depends on hits made on the Martians in the later waves.
Flying Martian : 30 points (Last one of the wave is 130 points)
Walking Martian : 80 points
UFO : 150 points

Space Monster (small) just entering screen : 50 points
Space Monster (large) after entering screen : 100 points
Space Monster with one wing burning : 200 points
Space Monster with two wings burning : 400 points
Each hit on a Space Monster's wing : 20 points

The Martian Space Battleship has a different scoring system. It is dependent on how many exhaust flames you put out with laser fire. The chamber must be open for you to put out the fire. The scoring starts low on the first cycle of four waves and increments up from that point. Your sixth visit to the Martian Space Battleship has the potential to yield the most points. This is how the Martian Space Battleship is scored :
Cycle : 1 - Fires Out : 1 - 100 Points
Cycle : 1 - Fires Out : 2 - 200 Points
Cycle : 1 - Fires Out : 3 - 400 Points
Cycle : 1 - Fires Out : 4 - 800 Points
Cycle : 1 - Fires Out : 5 - 1600 Points
Cycle : 2 - Fires Out : 1 - 200 Points
Cycle : 2 - Fires Out : 2 - 400 Points
Cycle : 2 - Fires Out : 3 - 800 Points
Cycle : 2 - Fires Out : 4 - 1600 Points
Cycle : 2 - Fires Out : 5 - 3200 Points
Cycle : 3 - Fires Out : 1 - 300 Points
Cycle : 3 - Fires Out : 2 - 600 Points
Cycle : 3 - Fires Out : 3 - 1200 Points
Cycle : 3 - Fires Out : 4 - 2400 Points
Cycle : 3 - Fires Out : 5 - 4800 Points
Cycle : 4 - Fires Out : 1 - 400 Points
Cycle : 4 - Fires Out : 2 - 800 Points
Cycle : 4 - Fires Out : 3 - 1600 Points
Cycle : 4 - Fires Out : 4 - 3200 Points
Cycle : 4 - Fires Out : 5 - 6400 Points
Cycle : 5 - Fires Out : 1 - 500 Points
Cycle : 5 - Fires Out : 2 - 1000 Points
Cycle : 5 - Fires Out : 3 - 2000 Points
Cycle : 5 - Fires Out : 4 - 4000 Points
Cycle : 5 - Fires Out : 5 - 8000 Points
Cycle : 6 - Fires Out : 1 - 600 Points
Cycle : 6 - Fires Out : 2 - 1200 Points
Cycle : 6 - Fires Out : 3 - 2400 Points
Cycle : 6 - Fires Out : 4 - 4800 Points
Cycle : 6 - Fires Out : 5 - 9600 Points

Every cycle after the sixth gives the same amount of points as the fifth cycle.

During the landing sequence in wave 4, you get points for the following :
Collecting flags : 100- 600 points
Successful landing : 500-4000 points plus a fireworks display per 500 points awarded (i.e. 1500 points yields three fireworks bursts).


• When you start the game, your fighter will be in the middle at the bottom of the screen. You will see a city on either side at the corner, two radar dishes to your left, and some fighters and missiles to your right. This is the beginning of wave 1.

1) There are three types of units you need to be aware of and what they do :
a) Flying Martians fly in a zig-zag pattern and drop bombs along their route. The bombs are pretty easy to avoid.
b) Walking Martians lay barriers across your field of fire. The Martians can shoot through the barriers but you must destroy them to be able to shoot the Martians. The barriers themselves are worth no points.
c) UFO's rarely fire at your fighter. Instead, they attempt to ram and destroy your fighter. They move in a quicker zig-zag type pattern.
2) The two radar dishes are very helpful so you need to protect them. They not only warn of a new wave of Martians, but they also take pot shots at the Martians. If they score a hit, you get credited with the points.
3) Other items on the screen serve as cover for your fighter.
4) Once you are down to the last two fighters, be ready because they tend to do more chaotic moves to avoid getting hit while dropping bombs at the same time.

1) The Space Monsters all start small. They come from the top doing a lazy zig-zag pattern. It is a good idea to try to take out at least four of them.
2) Once they get large, they start to do erratic zig-zag patterns across the screen. At the same time, they are dropping bombs toward your fighter. Your goal is to flame one of their wings. If you do this, it forces them to go straight down until the wing fire is put out. They will still be dropping bombs, but at least they will be going straight down.
3) If at all possible, try to flame both wings of each of the Space Monsters remaining before destroying them. You get a lot more points for it.
4) One trick some players do is to go all the way to the left corner on the remaining Space Monster. It lines up in such a way that the bombs miss your fighter. Then you just keep hitting the fire button, which results in you constantly hitting the wing (20 points a hit). Some players rack up a couple of thousand points before the Space Monster is coming down too fast for them to hit.

1) Your goal on this wave is to extinguish the five exhaust flames under the Martian Space Battleship. You can only extinguish a flame when the chamber door is open. They open and close at random times but if you are trying to put out the fifth flame, it will open and close quickly.
2) Try to remain under the battleship as much as possible so you can quickly extinguish the flame. Sometimes the door opens and closes quickly.
3) The only points you will get for the Martian Space Battleship will be from the number of flames you put out. This wave is your biggest point getter (and easier) in the game.
4) If you destroy all 16 of the escorts before you put out all the flames on the battleship, then the wave is over and you get whatever points the battleship was worth.
5) Conversely, if you destroy the battleship before you destroy the 16 escorts, the wave also ends with you getting full points for the battleship. The points being dependent on the cycle you are on.
6) This time, you are only attacked by the Flying Martians and UFO's. They will either come in from the sides by the battleship or they will exit one of the chambers above the flame (or where the flame used to be). Again, the Flying Martians will drop a volley of bombs while the UFO's will just try to ram your fighter.

1) When you first approach the airstrip, take a quick look around it to see where the other fighters are parked and where the flags are located at. In the later levels, the spacing becomes very tight so you will need precision movements to navigate around.
2) Your fighter will be constantly moving so you will need to adjust it left or right constantly or it will drift in whatever its last direction was.
3) If you have a chance to get a flag, and it doesn't put you into a bad situation movement-wise, then get it. If not, just concentrate on getting to the target.
4) Your main goal is to get into the target dead center to get the maximum points for landing.
Once you complete wave 4, the cycle begins anew.


1. Phoenix (1980)
2. Pleiads (1981)



Emerson Arcadia (1982, "Pleiades")
Sony PlayStation 2 (2004, "Tecmo Hit Parade")
Microsoft XBOX (2005, "Tecmo Classic Arcade")

Game's ROM.
Machine's picture.
F.A.Q. by Kevin Butler A.K.A. War Doc

Page last modified on December 17, 2012