Classic Konami action as ’90s shmup Xexex joins the Arcade Archives

xexex hamster arcade archives

‘Tis the season to be shmuppy

It may be the holidays, but that won’t stop the retro lovers over at Hamster from resurrecting another classic coin-op on PS4 and Switch. This week’s entry is a doozy, as Konami’s anime-infused shmup Xexex joins the Arcade Archives range.

Originally released in 1991, Xexex is a horizontally scrolling interstellar shmup inspired by some of the classics of the genre — including Irem releases R-Type and X-Multiply, as well as Konami’s own Gradius. The player takes up the role of a valiant space pilot on a mission to liberate the planet E-Square and rescue its leader — the fair princess Elaine — from the clutches of nefarious warlord Klaus. While the gameplay is almost identical to that of R-Type in regards to pace, control, and even weapon mechanics, Xexex came into its own thanks to its vibrant visuals, dazzling special effects, and its famous intermission, which sees a tearful Elaine begging the player for help. Only a monster would refuse to Insert Coins.

Check out the action in the video below, courtesy of YouTuber Media Pool.

While Xexex was a pretty popular title on the arcade scene, it surprisingly was not ported to any home platforms — particularly surprising given Konami’s penchant for bringing other arcade releases of the day, such as Sunset Riders, Lethal Enforcers, Salamander, Contra, Rush’n Attack et al to Nintendo platforms. It would seem as if “Super Xexex” was an inevitability, but it was not to be. Xexex would not receive a home port until 2007, when it was included in Japanese release Salamander Portable for Sony PSP. As such, this Arcade Archives edition is the first official home release for Xexex… Better late than never? I’m not sure. But at least the option is there for completionists.

Xexex is available to download now on PS4 and Nintendo Switch, priced at around $8.

Chris Moyse
Senior Editor - Chris has been playing video games since the 1980s and writing about them since the 1880s. Graduated from Galaxy High with honors. Twitter: @ChrisxMoyse