When you start the game, your Solvalou will be at the bottom of the screen. Keep in mind, this is a scrolling game. This means you can go no faster then the top and no slower then the bottom of the screen. You can, however, vary your speed in-between by pushing the joystick up and down. The biggest key in getting through this game is learning how to use the joystick to speed up and slow down because you will sometimes be put into some very tight areas that will require precision joystick control.
One interesting aspect of this game is the fact if you are too successful against a particular kind of enemy, the game will adjust itself to send different enemies until you have difficulty dealing with them.
Make sure you know what you will be encountering in each area.
If you hold down the fire and bomb buttons, you will constantly be doing both at a slower rate. This is great when you are in the thick of things with both air and ground targets swarming the area.
Speaking of bombs, your Solvalou is equipped with smart bombs (so to speak). They are launch and forget weapons. When you 'paint' the target with your bomb-sight and launch your bomb, it will hit that target even when you have already flown over it. There are a couple of strategies to make your bombing runs more effective :
1) When you have targets close together (usually bomb batteries are arranged this way), put a bomb between them. You will have a very good chance of taking out both batteries with one hit since you can only have one bomb on the screen at a time.
2) For moving targets (such as Grobdas), anticipate the targets direction and 'lead' it a little. This basically means putting the bomb at the point where the target will run into it.
3) Your bomb-sight will turn red whenever any target is 'sighted', even if the target is hidden like Sol Citadels and flags.
Keep away from the corners. These can become death traps real quickly if you are swamped by enemies.
Since you have free reign of most of the screen to move around, make sure you use all that room for maneuvering. Enemy fighters have a nasty habit of either shooting from behind your fighter or re-entering the screen from random sides. It also is handy when you are dodging a heavy volume of enemy fire.
Make sure when you are maneuvering around the Bacuras, you always leave yourself a clear 'out'. What I mean by this is there another direction to escape instead of having to move along with the Bacuras. An occasional enemy likes to put up shots at your fighter since it is very difficult to maneuver around the rolling plates.
The Andor Genesis Motherships are pretty easy to destroy if you work quickly. Most of the time, Zakatos and Brag Zakatos precede the arrival of the Andor Genesis Mothership. Blast these out of the sky and avoid the shrapnel. When the Andor Genesis Mothership appears, lead the target a little and quickly move up and plant your bomb at the point the center of the ship will be. The less time you waste taking on this ship, the better.
Secret Message : The designer of Xevious has included a trick for generating his name right at the beginning of the game. As soon as Solvalou appears, move to the far right edge of the screen and begin bombing constantly. Continue bombing until the first set of attacking rings is very close to you and then shoot the rings. The message 'Namco ORIGINAL Program by EVEZOO' will appear on the screen.
THE FLAGS : There are four flags hidden throughout the game. These flags occur in areas 1, 3, 5, and 6. All flags are along a horizontal line across the terrain. The only way to uncover a flag is to bomb it so you will have to lay a string of bombs along the entire horizontal line. This basically means moving up quickly, dealing with enemies quickly, and dropping your bombs quickly. Once a flag is uncovered, you must fly over it to get the benefits from it.
FLAG 1 : The first flag is located in the first river you encounter after you start the game. Look for the three Grobdas in a row. Just above them is a river that cuts horizontally across the terrain. Just bomb the river from left to right and around the bank closest to you. The flag should appear.
FLAG 2 : After you get past the plates, look up and to the right. There is a little lake with a small river feeding into the ocean. Start in the middle of the lake and bomb toward the little river. The flag should appear around where the river dumps into the ocean.
FLAG 3 : When you cross the first ocean, you will eventually see a dock/harbor at the top. The flag is located around the horizontal line that the longest pier projecting out is part of. You will need to quickly bomb that entire length to find and get the flag before the bottom scrolls your Solvalou too far up.
FLAG 4 : You will see a big bird picture on the desert. At the lowest point of its tail-feathers (in the lower right corner), start to bomb horizontally from right to left. The flag will appear.
Sol Citadels : These structures require you to bomb them once to cause them to surface. They look like large storage tanks or grain silos. You then need to bomb them again to destroy them. You have a potential to collect several hundred thousand points by taking out these structures. They come in groups of 1, 4, or 8. Unlike flags, these structures are always in the same place. There are six sets of Sol Citadels.
FIRST SET : One in area 2. When you see the three Grobdas in a row on the road, start laying bombs in the area around the cul-de-sac below the last tank in a right and diagonal-down point. The citadel will be even with the cul-de-sac.
SECOND SET : One in area 3. When you see the Garu Bara, go to the left of the Garu Bara and start bombing. This is also the area that the second flag can be found.
THIRD SET : Four in area 9. There is a clear area right before you tangle with the second Andor Genesis Mothership. Where the road splits around the woods, start to lay bombs a little below the bottom edge of the road that goes to the right. You should uncover four Sol Citadels.
FOURTH SET : Eight in area 13. At the point the desert ends, there is a little grass, then the air field starts. Use the birds leg as a reference and fly straight up. When the bomb-sight glows, start bombing. This will be the lower left Sol Citadel of the group which is arranged in two rows of four citadels. You will be hard pressed to get all eight citadels.
FIFTH SET : Four in area 14. After the plates roll by, look for where two roads merge into one road. At the top edge of the slanted right hand road, start dropping bombs to uncover some more citadels.
SIXTH SET : Four in area 15. Look for a forest on the left side. There will be a small clearing and then a river. Bomb the small clearing to bring the citadels up. There will be very intense ground fire in this location so be especially watchful.