Xevious was released in December 1982 in Japan.
Xevious is not the world's first vertically-scrolling shoot-em-up but has a huge and lasting influence on the genre.
Xevious was the first game to use pre-rendered graphics and, among its countless innovations, was also the first vertical shoot-em-up that allowed accurate targeting of both airborne and ground-based enemies. The graphics were hugely revolutionary for their time; the sprites were rendered with remarkable clarity and detail due to the game's clever use of colors and shades as well as palette-shifting. Xevious was also the first game to feature 'hidden characters', which, being hidden, are not mentioned in the game's instructions but can be revealed by performing a secret maneuver. Among these was the 'special flag', which gave the player an extra life. This feature was carried over to a number of subsequent Namco games.
While Xevious enjoyed limited popularity in North America, the game was a huge cult hit in Japan, and to this day is considered one of the greatest video games of all time. Popular Japanese musicians, Haruomi Hosono (Yellow Magic Orchestra) and Kuwata Keisuke (Southern All Stars) were known to be fans of the game, and the former produced an album of music from Namco video games, with Xevious as its centerpiece. A follow-up 12-inch single featured in its liner notes an entire science-fiction short story by Endoh, set in the world of Xevious, with even included a rudimentary fictional language.
At one point in the game, the Solvalou flies over the Nazca lines. The Nazca Lines are geoglyphs (drawings on the ground) located in the Nazca Desert; a high, arid plateau that stretches 37 miles between the towns of Nazca and Palpa, situated in the Pampa region. They were created during the Nazca occupation of the area, between 200 BC and 600 AD.
The graphic ROMs contain several additional enemies which don't actually appear in gameplay including a silver-grey Galaxian flagship. These enemies do appear in the game-play of "Super Xevious
" which uses the same graphics data as Xevious.
The highest score possible is 9,999,990, at which point the game terminates abnormally and resets. Some time before this score is reached, the game starts to award extra ships on every blaster shot fired.
Marco Borroni holds the official official record for this game with 7,009,560 points (!) on August 16, 1984.
The background is actually one large 1024x2048 image. Each of the 16 game areas is a 224x2048 strip starting at a different horizontal offset in the image.