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ColecoFan1981

"Xevious" for Atari 5200?

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Is it true that Atari had plans on its drawing board during 1983 to release Xevious for its 5200 Super System, but ultimately dropped it because of declining 5200 sales and the impending video game crash that took hold at the end of that year?

 

I'm also wondering if they planned to program a port of said game for the ColecoVision?

 

~Ben

Edited by ColecoFan1981

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Thank you. Having mentioned that, was the prototype really any good like the Atari Protos review says it is?

 

~Ben

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We played the 5200 proto in the HSC some time ago. I found it to be very playable, just some of the graphics seemed unfinished..

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Thank you. Having mentioned that, was the prototype really any good like the Atari Protos review says it is?

 

~Ben

Like Zylon said, it's very playable but the colors and graphics are a little 'rough'. I'm not sure if they were planning on sprucing them up any before releasing it though, I think the final version I have listed was pretty much what was going to be released. If Alan Murphy ever comes back after his move maybe he can shed some light on it.

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...but it's still an excellent port, and probably the best of the playable 5200 protos (along with Xari Arena and my fave, Super Pac-Man). I played this many, many times on the A8 in the '80s after it was ported over from the 5200 by Glenn.

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For those keen on playing Xevious like games on the Atari 400/800 etc hardware - can of course try out Flak and Hawkquest - and see how they compare with this Xevious conversion.

 

Harvey

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I bought a Xevious Prototype from Video Game Take Out in 1985. I don't know if this is the same version floating around on Multi Carts or not. Video Game Take Out had a lot of Prototypes for sale for the 2600 and 5200 but I could only afford one title as they weren't cheap and Xevious was my favorite arcade game at the time. I haven't played the game in about 20 years but from memory it looked complete and played like the arcade.

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post-19107-0-66266400-1452372625_thumb.jpgpost-19107-0-04246900-1452372668_thumb.jpgpost-19107-0-45638300-1452372686_thumb.jpgpost-19107-0-39283200-1452372707_thumb.jpgYou can assume that there's only been one 5200 prototype of Xevious that got leaked out and made appearances on the 5200, that got ported across the Atari 8-bit computers as a 16K program - it's size indicating it was a 16K ROM cart.

Playing this you probably get the feeling that it was unfinished/incomplete as such, although the game seems to be there. It is more due to the sparseness of the landscape that it looks unfinished, and that you would want more than what is present.

And like with other prototypes - you get the feeling that this was not the best effort possible.

 

If you think about - how it may have been at Atari? You have various programmers (etc - being graphics and sound specialists support staff available) who may form different development teams as such. Some can be regarded as being the 'A' team, whereas others may be considered the 'B' team - just like with the movie industry.

Programmers are no different to any other creative activity or hobby/etc. There are those whose work are at the top end - so to speak, and then there are others further down. It's very much like the sports arena - could be a better analogy perhaps. It's rare for someone new to suddenly be the new No.1 in that field, usually they start off gaining the experience which will take them to be No.1. And some will certainly get there, whereas others may end up being in the top 5 but not get to No.1.

There are any number of ways to explain why didn't this game get the proper treatment to become a first class conversion for this system? You can say it required the time and effort to deliver the result. That if you were rushed for time, and had little money available to spend on the effort - you'll get what you paid for. That the company had a certain amount of money available to spend (ie. resources) in the time frame they had.

 

If you looked at the NES version of Xevious - you can easily say, that they didn't get the forestry part looking right, but did everything else spot on? I think Nintendo had the release date for Xevious spot on - achieving massive sales for this cart title. I did read somewhere, that cart sales were so high - they were able to finance the building of a new building with the profit, such that it became known as the Xevious building. And Nintendo produced a second Xevious cart, which must be their version of Xevious II, hoping to achieve sales like the first?

Nintendo has always been willing to put the necessary resources into producing their software titles for the NES, etc - you have only to play their games to see this. And like any other hardware platform - they also had their lacklustre titles - by their 3rd parties. I don't know if Nintendo produced any crap titles? But with the Virtual Boy release - they did mess up on that hardware.

 

Anyway - I do think a better Xevious could be done for the 5200 - if there was a capable and willing programmer who would want to spend the time and effort to do this classic game justice. Of course, it will require a lot of know how to push the hardware as much as possible - and using as much memory as possible - like using the space available on a Maxcart via bank switching. Some purists may say this is 'cheating' by using later technology - the counter argument is that you are using an unmodded 5200 - so what is the problem with that? This is the year 2016 - so why not use the resources available today to produce the best possible that you can? Of course, this does mean that it was not possible back in the day - that you cannot squeeze nice looking Xevious graphics into a 16K cart - even decompression was not in use back then, which would have helped also.

It could easily take up to 3? or so years to deliver such an accurate conversion - if there was a keen enough programmer willing to spend that amount of time and effort? This would have to be on the basis of doing it for the 'love' of it as I doubt if you can legally sell it - which would be in such small quantity anyway - because of the licensing problem associated with it.

 

I've posted here - a NES screenshot, one from the 7800, and the 5200 prototype - and lastly a mockup on A8 hardware of how better it can look? Excuse the non-Xevious sprites/etc in it. I am no programmer, I am simply a graphics guy who likes to tweak pixels around.

 

And if you thought the 5200 conversion was bad, then take a look at the C64 version - I can't imagine Xevious fans being pleased with that effort.

 

Harvey

Edited by kiwilove

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I was pretty unimpressed by Xevious for the ST - the repetitious soundtrack got to you, and the small active window was an atrocity. I was not tempted to play it over the long term. Probe also did most of the other conversions (but maybe not the C64 version?).

The best 8-bit version would have to go to the PC Engine version - but a reviewer for this was less than enthusiastic about it because of how late it showed up and did not appreciate how significant a game this was, in it's time.

I was tempted to get a PC Engine for a time, but went for a MegaDrive instead.

 

In my so-called 'mock-up' A8 version above - it's actually the 7800 graphics of Xevious retweaked with the forest area changed, so it shows how the 7800 version could be improved? maybe?

 

Another game I liked - was Terra Cresta - I would guess that just maybe this could be a candidate for a 7800? version - but no one is able to work on such a project over there, in the 7800 forum as they seem to sticking to only the early 80s? type games and are a long way from the likes of Plutos/Sirius.

 

Harvey

Edited by kiwilove

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My so called 'mock-up' screen - was simply the Xevious level in AtariBlast! In which a level of Xevious appears.

It does not play like Xevious - as that was never the intention.

 

No mothership appears - so I resort to having something large on the ground that acts like the mothership.

I've reused the forestry designs I did for Hawkquest - and they do look fitting here.

 

Harvey

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