REVIEW: Thexder (NES)
Game Arts is a virtually unknown company in the realm of the NES. If this game is any indication then I’m pretty sure why no one has heard of them. Thexder, while not only hard to pronounce, is also hard to play. So hard in fact that you could probably do better with your eyes closed or even just not playing at all. Thexder is like the Transformer that everyone didn’t like because he sucked ass. Your character, a robot called Thexder, starts the game out as a jet flying down a tunnel. Once you get into the play field however, you can transform into a walking robot that is an easy target for all of the incredibly small and fast enemies this game has to offer. Originally I came face to face with this monstrosity under the name “Chexdex” on some pirated cartridge, but now it’s mano y mano.
At any given time there are no less than about 20 various enemies that crawl around, fly around, crawl and fly, shoot, or do all of the following and also still be in your wireless calling plan. Trying to shoot these enemies as Robot Thexder proves ineffective since the geniuses who created this game decided to make your bullets lock on to your target, and when there’s about 40 of them chasing you it’s really not helpful when your bullets starting taking out the dumbasses in the back or just shoot wildly in all directions except in front of you. On top of crappy shooting controls, the game also has embarassingly bad… control controls. Walking around as Thexder is useless, your best bet is flight since your player is about 1/3 his normal size and a lot faster. The only problem is that maneuvering is sluggish, and if you try to pull a 180 you convert back to that cheap robot.
If it wasn’t bad enough, there are a series of thin mazes you can only navigate as the jet, and since you need tight controls, the game decides it would be best to turn you into the robot at the most inopportune times and get you jammed in the wall where you can either shoot bullets everywhere or try and get out as the jet. If you manage to get out of the maze, you’ll be greeted with about 30 more of those little flying bastards that don’t do anything but hit you and are impossible to shoot at since your gun operator never passed first grade. The entire time you’re trying to do this, though, you have some really great suspenseful music playing, and by suspenseful I mean something that sounds like an Atari with someone trying to get a VCR to eat a tape.
When the inevitable happens and one of the many twirly enemies smashes your robot, you die and the music hangs on whatever note it was on while the “GAME OVER” text takes about a minute to decide to appear on the screen along with your final score (which won’t be higher than about 7 probably). You’ll get to enjoy this hanging note until you either press buttons until you get back to the title screen, or just give up and find something else better to do with your time.
I’d have to say I was pretty happy when I managed to get out of that damn maze that I was stuck in for about 10 minutes. Can’t say I was too enthused about the onslaught of randomly appearing spinning boxes that proceeded to whack the holy hell out of Thexder though.
Like the launch of Pokemon in the United States everything is either blue or red or some shade of the two. The game is straightforward. Walls. Enemies. You. The least they could have done is to do something like not making the enemies look like random projectiles you may or may not have shot out from the ass of your robot though. And in space I really don’t think you’re going to be encountering spinning boxes and diamonds with cages around them. If you’ve seen the movie Lawnmower Man you’d know shit like that doesn’t work.
If this game had more than 3 notes maybe I would have given it a 1. The fact that there is only one track which loops after 5 seconds, and that it hangs when you die or pause the game, and might be known to cause brain cancer from prolonged exposure… this is a run-on sentence isn’t it? Screw it. The music and sound effects (or lack thereof) blow.
One thing that would have made this game better is the ability to turn around in flight, instead of reverting back to Crap-O-Tron. Ok, two things that would have made this game better. Make your bullets hit something besides the floor or the enemy in the very back of the wave. Alright alright, three things that would have made this game better. Just forgetting about it altogether. Just have Game Arts’ staff wake up one morning and decide to go work for a gas station.
Transformer Points: 7/10
Thexder seems to be a crappy attempt to cash in on the Transformers fad of the 1980’s. The main character does just that, although rather unoriginally, and I’m pretty sure Optimus Prime had better things to do than solve mazes and screw around with non-descript enemies in some world that doesn’t even have a back story.