When the Nintendo 3DS eShop launched back in June, North American 3DS owners were treated to a free game download for a limited time. The game was 3DS Classics Excitebike, the first in a new series of Nintendo Entertainment System game remakes for Nintendo 3DS. Excitebike, as we mentioned during our time at E3, was a huge success and our entire staff fell in love with the game. However, for more than a month, Excitebike has been the only 3D Classics game available on the North American eShop despite the fact that Japan has had the remake of Xevious since the international launch of the eShop. Thankfully, that changed this morning when 3DS Classics Xevious finally hit our shores.
I’ll say this right up front: 3DS Classics Xevious is better than 3D Classics Excitebike. While the two games cannot be compared gameplay-wise due to their vastly different genres, they canbe judged based on their improvements to the original games that they are emulating. While the 3D effect in Excitebike adds a very cool visual effect to the game the first time you see it, it really doesn’t make that much of a difference when it comes down to the way the game plays. In Xevious, the 3D gives the player a very clear sense of where their enemies are located on the screen and truly allows for a greater sense of depth when piloting the Solvalou.
The original Xevious (which I first played when it was an unlockable bonus in Star Fox Assault) was a top-down shooter that comprised of 2D enemies on a flat surface shooting at a flying ship. In the old game, there were enemies that were situated on the ground as well as aerial enemies. Naturally though, this made for a strange play experience because ground enemies would shoot into the sky at Solvalou and even though the ship would be floating in midair, their bombs would suddenly appear at the same altitude. For the 3D Classics version, a delay was implemented, taking into account the 3D space between Solvalou and opponents. This makes for a much easier experience, not in terms of gameplay difficultly, but in terms of controls.
In addition to the retooling of enemy attacks and Solvalou’s altitude, Arika also re-did all the game’s artwork and coding from scratch. Graphically, the game is much prettier than its predecessor though I assume this is to be expected. Layered clouds scroll on either side of the screen and give the player a real sense of flight despite the game’s top-down view. Sprites have all been spruced up and everything has been given a fresh coat of paint to make Xevious feel like a “new” game.
Overall, 3D Classics Xevious is a great addition to the growing line-up of content on the eShop. Not only has the game become more visually appealing in its retooling but its play experience has been completely enhanced as well due to the 3D capabilities of Nintendo 3DS. Keep in mind, Xevious is still the same game as it was when it was first released in 1982. So, if you hated it then, you probably aren’t going to enjoy it now. However, if you are a fan of shooters and looking for a fresh experience on the 3DS, you can’t go wrong with this remake.
VG Tribune gives 3D Classics Xevious 8.0 out of 10
This review was based off of a copy of the title provided to us by Nintendo of America.