Thexder

aka: Thexder 88
Moby ID: 49
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Conversion (official) Included in See Also

Description official descriptions

A platform shooter from Japan, Thexder offers many levels and diverse enemies that gradually increase in difficulty. You pilot a Battletech-style robot capable of switching from a mech into a jet at any time. Your weapon auto-aims, but uses up a fixed amount of rechargeable energy; if you run out of this energy, you'll have to wait a few seconds before you can fire again. Your mech also contains a shield that can be activated to protect you from harm, but this lasts for a few seconds and uses up some of your life energy.

Spellings

  • テグザー - Japanese spelling

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Credits (PC-88 version)

14 People (7 developers, 7 thanks)

Game Design
Director
Art Director
Turbo
Thanks
Opening Music: Thexder
Ending Music: Moon Light Sonata
Presented by
  • Game Arts Co. Ltd.
Editor
Illust

Reviews

Critics

Average score: 59% (based on 14 ratings)

Players

Average score: 3.8 out of 5 (based on 71 ratings with 7 reviews)

A very good action game, but difficult as hell

The Good
Game Arts is not unfamiliar to me, having played their classic RPG/adventure Zeliard when I was about twelve. Their debut title was Thexder, a platform game in which your character goes around sixteen levels, finding the exit and killing the many enemies that come their way with your equipped laser. And man, is that difficult!

What I like about this game is that it was one of the first games where you can change from one type of character to another. In this case, from mech to jet and vice versa. You are free to change between them at any time during the game, but only one is useful for getting past certain obstacles. The jet is used to navigate narrow passageways, for example.

The game was also among the firsts to have an auto-aim feature. If you walk up to four enemies, the laser first focuses on the top-most one, and when that enemy is killed, it focuses on the next. What I find neat is that although the energy for it depletes over time, it gets recharged slowly. The only disadvantage of the auto-aim is that it doesn't aim at enemies below you/

As I said, Thexder is a very difficult game. As you move around the sixteen levels, you are faced with hundreds of enemies on the screen at once, and it takes several minutes to kill them. There is a specific path to the tunnel that leads to the next level, and taking the wrong means some backtracking and more enemies that you will face. Also, I recall on a couple of levels that you have to destroy a floor while you are in a really narrow passage, at the time when you're the jet. This is indeed difficult without some nice well-placed diagonal shots

The sound has the same type of quality as Sierra games back then. I couldn't understand the voice that booms at you as the title appears, but I always assumed that it was welcoming you to the game. As you travel through the tunnels, you hear a voice warning that an intruder is coming. There is some nice background music in the game.

The Bad
Apart from the high difficulty, nothing.

The Bottom Line
I don't know what the story behind Thexder is, but who cares about this when you just run through sixteen levels and blasting everything that heads your way. The game introduces some firsts, including the auto-aim function and the ability to change between two different characters. Although the game has good sound and great gameplay, players who are new to the game may be put off with its high difficulty. People interested in full-on platform games will enjoy this game.

Amiga · by Katakis | カタキス (43092) · 2012

An Addictive Fighting Mech Platformer

The Good
Thexder was an absolutely awesome game when it was released in 1987. I would race home from school to jump on my Tandy and shoot a few aliens with my morphing mech. The whole goal of the game was to get through as many levels as possible until you met the mega-alien at the end.

The Bad
The graphics in the game looked absolutely awesome on the Tandy. Although it was only 16 colors, it somehow seemed to fit the game. However, when the game is run on today's computers, the high resolution of today's monitors force dithering and the graphics don't look quite as good as they once did.

The Bottom Line
Although the graphics aren't quite as pretty today, Thexder still stands the test of time. It's a fun game and still an absolute classic.

DOS · by Toadstool (54) · 2000

An instant classic, Thexder provided fast, continuous, and very challenging gameplay.

The Good
Graphics: The game looked beautiful on the Tandy 1000 platform compared to other games of its time. Enemies were well-animated, and no slowdown whatsoever was ever apparent, even when the screen was filled with enemies (on an 8 MHz Tandy 1000 TX)

Music/Sound: The sound effects were very simplistic, but on par with anything of its time on the PC platform. The music, on the Tandy, although consisting of only two scores, was done exceptionally well.

The gameplay was very uniquely challanging, and the environments were varied (environment types changed every 3-4 sets of levels) - from caves to metallic futuristic-type looking levels. The environment changes kept the player looking forward to the next set of levels.

The Bad
No ending sequence - the game simply restarts at level 2. After all of that hard work, no reward!

The lack of the ability to use a second joystick buton for the shield activation - accidental double-clicking of the fire button would activate the shield when its use was not desired.

The Bottom Line
My favorite "old school" game of all time, Thexder is a two-dimensional side-scrolling game that places the player in control of a "Transformer"-like robot. The player must must battle his way through different levels, each of which are structured in a manner that allows each level to be completed slowly and strategically. A very difficult game, because it does not allow for saving games, but if you have time on your hands, it is a challenge worth exploring. Should be played on a Tandy 1000 series machine, if possible.

DOS · by Ayodeji Oshinnaiye (3) · 2000

[ View all 7 player reviews ]

Trivia

Graphics

Like all Game Arts games republished by Sierra, Thexder uses 640x200 graphics in EGA to its advantage by simulating 64 colors via dithering.

Music

The title theme for the game was Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata.

Programming

Because this game used a tile-based playfield, it ran very smoothly, even on low-powered machines. Only the tiles that changed needed to be redrawn, resulting in scrolling that was quick, even for a 4.77MHz machine.

Tandy 1000

Thexder was one of the few games that really excelled on a Tandy 1000. The game ran at 320x200 16 colors. (the Tandy wasn't quite as flexible as an EGA) and in this video mode it seemed to look cleaner and more vibrant. Also the music sounded great on the TI sound chip in the Tandy.

Information also contributed by John Hood and Tony Van

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  • MobyGames ID: 49
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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Trixter.

Sharp MZ-80B/2000/2500, PC-8000 added by Infernos. Sharp X1 added by Kabushi. MSX added by Martin Smith. PC-98, FM-7, PC-88 added by Terok Nor. Amiga, NES, TRS-80 CoCo, Apple II added by Servo. Apple IIgs, Macintosh added by Игги Друге.

Additional contributors: Alaka, Fred VT, Infernos.

Game added March 1, 1999. Last modified February 19, 2024.