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Exed Exes (NES) artwork

Exed Exes (NES) review

"Back in 1985, Capcom released Xevious-inspired shooter Exed Exes in the arcades. I’ve never played it, but from the pictures I’ve seen, I can guess that at least a tiny amount of effort was put into that product, as it looks reasonably decent for that era. "

Back in 1985, Capcom released Xevious-inspired shooter Exed Exes in the arcades. I’ve never played it, but from the pictures I’ve seen, I can guess that at least a tiny amount of effort was put into that product, as it looks reasonably decent for that era.

Which is far more than can be said about its Famicom port. This home version of Exed Exes can best be described with glowing terms such as “a waste of plastic and technology”. Horrible graphics, annoying music and boring, repetitive gameplay work together to make this cartridge an experience that you’ll never forget — no matter how much you wish you could.

While Xevious pitted you against an alien fleet of infinite proportions, a slew of super-insects are the main villains here. It won’t take you long to get used to each of them and their modes of attack, as Exed Exes is fond of repetition. Every stage will feature the same enemies (with a few minor variations) attacking in the same formations. As you advance in the game, the only real differences you’ll notice is that multiple waves may attack at once and that there will be more waves to blast through before the boss fight. Of course, that’s a problem in itself, as after a certain number of foes appear on the screen, you start to get a seizure-inducing screen flicker problem.

For an insect-heavy game, the bosses are decidedly boring. You won’t see gigantic ants or unholy wasps here — instead, you’ll get to fight a small, bland assortment of generic ships with multiple guns. Blow up all these weapons and you’ll get a hefty point bonus. Take too much time and the ship will eventually scroll off the screen, allowing you to advance to the next stage anyway.

Not that you’ll notice any difference between the stages. All of them are ugly and simple. To drive home the insect theme, a good portion of this game’s background is drawn in a “honeycomb” pattern. To drive home the “crappy game” theme, all of this game is drawn poorly. Blocky and undetailed graphics are everywhere in Exed Exes — except the “Hi-Point” zones, which appear in roughly every other level. As the background flickers and vanishes into empty black space, your goal is to collect “POW” icons to turn enemies into pieces of fruit worth many points — making these “Hi-Point” zones basically a bonus area you have to do. So, for about 90 percent of the game, you have an ugly background and for the other 10 percent, you have empty space — not a winning combination.

Sadly, compared to the game’s music, the graphics deserve to be enshrined in an art museum. Whether you’re blasting through a stage, collecting fruit in a “Hi-Point” zone or assaulting a boss, you’ll hear one of a limited assortment of short, annoying, endlessly looping tunes designed to make you either turn the volume down or go insane. The closest to a quality tune this game has is the brief snippet that plays when you beat a boss — and it isn’t even that good!

To be honest, Exed Exes is the worst of all worlds. The graphics and sound are among the most pathetic ever created on a NES game — flaws that would be forgivable if this game had any true play value. Sadly, it doesn’t, as you’re essentially doing the exact same things over and over each level. And when those things weren’t remotely fun in the beginning, you can only imagine how agonizing they become by the eighth or ninth stage.

overdrive's avatar
Community review by overdrive (September 30, 2004)

Rob Hamilton is the official drunken master of review writing for Honestgamers.

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