REVIEW: Thexder Neo


NOTE: Thexder Neo never came in a box. The above image is from Thexder Old.

(Old) Thexder had a sequel, Firehawk: Thexder the Second Contact (an excellent name), and a semi-sequel, Thexder 95. All for various home computers, all forgotten. Then comes Thexder Neo, a PSP downloadable developed by Square (developers of Thexder’s Famicom port). Thexder Neo is a faithful remake, now with 3 difficulty modes, and improved graphics and controls. Great, since the old Thexder controls were unresponsive and lousy. I usually talk about RPG/adventure/strategy games (or other games of words and numbers), but Thexder (or maybe Castle Adventure) was the first game I ever played and gets special privileges.

Thexder is jet-transforming robot with an auto-tracking laser and a force field. The laser locks onto enemies, eliminating aiming and simplifying combat. Since there are few enemy types, all with similar behavior (charge!), the basic technique is: lure them to a narrow hall and laser sweep. Instead of combat, emphasis is on exploring the maze-like levels for hidden health-filled crannies. Good thing the levels are cool, with lots of branches, shafts, crawlspaces, and hazards—requiring both jet and robot forms to completely explore. Thexder’s simplicity is charming, but modern gamers will be left cold. The levels and enemies are a lot alike. There are no power-ups, few bosses, and a general lack of variety. To me (for whom gaming is mostly a compulsion), the repetition adds cohesion—but to provide perspective: Thexder is more repetitious than most old school Capcom games.

Thexder is hardly lost classic, but it’s novel and somewhat unique. Transforming is fun. I like the retro-looking abstract robo-enemies. And the level design is shining. I appreciate Thexder Neo’s accuracy as a remake, and while the 3D graphics are boring and extra levels would’ve been dreamy (I think there are 8), I’m happy.

Important note: True fans will notice Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata missing from the title screen, which could have a drastic affect on your opinion of the remake.


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