Thexder (Windows)

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Written by  :  Katakis | カタキス (39505)
Written on  :  Aug 31, 2017
Rating  :  4.5 Stars4.5 Stars4.5 Stars4.5 Stars4.5 Stars

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Customizable Thexder

The Good

Thexder is a difficult platform game originally created by Game Arts, a Japanese company which I became familiar with by playing the excellent Zeliard. Its success led to a sequel, and eventually, another one released only for PCs running Windows 95. Game Arts was not involved in the third game, but rather a company known as Synergistic Software who already ported the original game over to the Apple II and PC. Synergistic made sure they stuck to the source material, while adding some new features that I like.

As the titular character, you explore ten planets that carry certain environment conditions, and each one houses several inhabitants that reflect that environment. These inhabitants will fire on Thexder, so you need to deal with them using a variety of weapons such as lasers, rockets, missiles, and grenades. There are certain situations where you need to transform between a jet and a tank (although you don't get both of them straight away). The goal is to get through the five regions of each planet without getting destroyed, and defeat the boss in order to navigate to the next planet.

When you start up the game, five windows pop up on the screen, each one serving a different purpose. You can move these windows around, close and reopen them, and even resize them. One of the new features are cut-scenes that appear throughout the game and add depth to the story. The cut-scenes are well-scripted, and have you watching the next planet zooming in as your mission director gives you an overview of the planet. I thought that the windows would disappear while the cut-scenes play, but no. They play in the main window, which I think is neat. Another new feature is the ability for more than one person to play on the same PC. There is one save slot for each person, and that slot records what level you're on as well as the difficulty.

Within the game itself, the graphics of both Thexder and the enemies look good. There is an actual backdrop used to depict what planet you are on rather than solid black. The animations, especially when Thexder transforms, are excellent. The map display updating as you progress through the levels is a nice touch. You can even customize each element inside the game. You can choose, for instance, to have the backdrop remain static rather than scroll as you progress through.

I think the music is excellent, and it blends in with the environment you're in. You can switch between Sound Blaster and General MIDI for music, which is quite unique since no other game allows you to do this (at least inside the game itself). Thexder can now speak, saying what the type of ammo is as he picks it up, congratulating you for destroying certain types of enemies, and even encourages you not to waste your ammo. If you find him annoying, you can always disable his speech through the menu.

The Bad

When you select your favorite weapon to use and transform into another vehicle, it defaults to the laser ammo by the time you transform. This is annoying since I am fighting something and don't realize that I haven't got my devastrator equipped. I also found that whenever I landed on another planet, the music would automatically turn itself off.

The Bottom Line

Synergistic Software took what makes the Thexder series great and went one step further with cut-scenes, added gameplay elements and a high degree of customization. The graphics and animations are great, and the soundtrack of this game is superb, reflecting the environment you're in. It's a shame that Synergistic decided to restrict themselves with only one platform, meaning that Macintosh users are unable to play the game unless they buy a PC first.