Namco is giving PlayStation-owning nostalgia lovers more reason to celebrate. Not content with simply porting over last year's polygon-enhanced Xevious sequel, Xevious 3D/G, the creators of Pac-Man have gone the extra mile and included the entire Xevious arcade series on one PlayStation disc. Sadly, Xevious 3D/G, the game's showcase title, is plagued with so much slowdown it may scare away all but the most fanatical of shooter fans.
Xevious 3D/G+ contains four complete games on one CD: the original Xevious, also found on Namco Museum Vol. 2; Super Xevious - Xevious with a couple of new enemies and the word "Super" tacked on; Xevious Arrangement, a nice remix of the original; and of course, Xevious 3D/G. Additionally, after beating the game, some extra options open up, one of them being Xevious Arrangement's "extra mode," which includes three incredibly difficult stages for masters to test their mettle.
There's not much to say about Xevious and Super Xevious. Both games are direct ports of the arcade originals, and are extremely similar to each other in terms of play. You've got your main weapon, you've got your bombs, and you try to build as high a score as possible while playing over a never-ending vertically-scrolling landscape - that's it. Xevious Arrangement on the other hand, while similar in play mechanics, offers a bit more in the way of structure. Two players can play simultaneously now (as opposed to alternating in the original two games), and the game is broken up into 16 areas, with four bosses and more variety throughout the stages. The graphics are enhanced (but not too much - think of what Nintendo did to update the Mario All-Stars collection), and there are two soundtracks to choose from (original and arranged).
And then there's Xevious 3D/G. The fact that Namco put all of the older Xevious titles on the disc is certainly admirable, but after playing 3D/G for a while, it becomes apparent that it was more of a necessity than anything else. 3D/G takes the classic Xevious gameplay and throws it into a fully polygonal 3D world. The execution is actually pretty decent - everything looks good and somehow holds true to the original's feel, although there are two new weapons and the ability to drop multiple bombs at a time. The game seems to be running almost completely in high-resolution mode, and the music is good to boot. So what's wrong? The game is far too easy, even on the hardest difficulty setting: Most novices will blow through all seven stages in a day, and the unlimited continues certainly don't help. Xevious 3D/G also suffers from slowdown, in fact I can't recall ever playing a game with slowdown this bad, even in the early days of the SNES. The slowdown is the worst in two-player simultaneous play where it becomes almost unbearable; some of the later stages seem to crawl by at a snail's pace, with dreadful slowdown from beginning to end.
All in all, Xevious 3D/G+ is an OK purchase for fans of old-school shooters. But if you're simply thirsting for a good 3D shooting experience, your money would be better spent elsewhere.