When Xevious first hit arcades back in 1982, it became known for its odd visual style and unique sound effects. Now, after a number of releases on various platforms over the past 30 years, the game now makes an appearance on Nintendo's 3DS system via the eShop. While being able to take the game with you on the go for those quick pick-up-and-play moments is certainly intriguing for shooter fans, it's the amazing depth the 3D brings to the table that ends up making the game such an interesting prospect.
The gameplay in 3DS Classics: Xevious is quite simple, as you play the game in typical vertical shoot 'em up fashion. You have two weapons at your disposal, a Blaster and a Zapper with which to take out the constant barrage of metallic enemy fighters. Whereas the majority of your challenge is held in blasting the airborne enemies, you will have to bomb an assortment of attack installations on the ground, especially once they begin launching cannon fire your way.
You'll soon find that as you progress through the title's various levels, the challenge quickly begins to ramp up. Enemy fighters not only take on more intricate attack patterns, but their cannon fire becomes far more intense as well. The same can be said of the enemy bases, which begin the game rather docile and soon begin hurling bombs your way with ever-increasing intensity.
The level progression is seamless, so the game plays out in continuous fashion. Since there is no story, your main focus will be racking up as many points as you can in order to beat previous high scores. The lack of any type of online leader boards is a bit disappointing, but the game does save local high score lists, which offers you a bit of incentive to keep going back for more.
The play controls are all very responsive while manoeuvring your ship feels intuitive. The targeting reticule makes taking enemies and bases out much easier, and the clouds off to the side of the screen do a nice job of giving you a bit of a safe haven for times when the action becomes too intense. There's not nearly as much variety within the gameplay structure as vertical shooters that followed Xevious in arcades, but it all works well enough for gamers who are looking for something they can just quickly pick up when they have a few minutes to kill.
Visually, 3D Classics: Xevious hasn't changed much from the arcade original. The 3D makes a mammoth improvement in the game's sense of depth, but other than the clouds that line the sides of each level, everything else remains fairly accurate to the arcade release. The soundtrack and sound effects are nearly spot-on with the arcade version, something long time fans of the title will certainly appreciate, and do a solid job of carrying the quirky theme that the game makes use of.
There's no denying the fact that the original Xevious arcade game is beginning to show its age with overly simplistic visual designs and repetitive gameplay, but it's impossible not to be impressed with just how much the addition of true 3D depth injects into the overall experience. When you toss in the fact that you can now take the game with you on the go, what you have is a fairly solid dose of vertical shoot ‘em up action for those times when you just want a quick fix, without a lot of bells and whistles.