Xevious is composed of 16 areas or stages. Each stage continues immediately on to the next with no visual indication of one stages end and another stages beginning other than a dense forest. The stages are composed of 16 vertical strips that are comprised from the map on the right. The strips overlap so it is not uncommon to recognize a location in one strip from a previous strip in a different location.
After completing the 16th area, the areas repeat starting from the 7th. The type of terrain that you fly over will generally dictate what kinds of ground troops that you will encounter since they are relatively fixed. The terrain will not have any bearing on the aerial troops, as they are dictated by your skill level, and the ability to target and destroy Zolbaks.
Where you die determines where your next life will begin. If you happen to die when you are at least 70% of the way through the current area, you will automatically begin at the next stage. If you happen to die before you are 70% through that stage, you will start at the very beginning of the current stage.
Throughout the first 16 stages, you will encounter four Andor Genesis motherships. The first one appears in area 4, the second one in area 9, and two will appear in area 14. Additionally, there are a variety of hidden Sol Towers and Special Flags, whose locations will be illustrated below.
Throughout the game, you have two primary concerns: the current threat level of aerial enemies, and the immediate presence of ground targets. The more aggressively you play, the greater the likelihood of return fire, so you must also be on the lookout for enemy bullets.
Aerial enemies generally come in three flavors. The first kind, like the Toroids, come in from the opposite corners of the screen and swoop in to approach your ship. Once they cross your line of fire, they immediately reverse their lateral direction and fly off to the side of the screen that they came from. The second kind flies in at various speeds, and stops to take a shot at you before retreating. Many of the ships can retreat faster than the speed of your Zapper and can avoid taking return fire, so it's best to eliminate them as soon as they appear. The last flavor is the various Zakatos. These behave very much like air grenades, often warping on to the screen before exploding. The stronger the Zakato, the more bullets they will generate upon detonation. They typically appear in large quantities so it's difficult, if not impossible, to destroy all of them, but it is still in your best interest to eliminate as many as possible in order to reduce the presence of bullets on the screen.
Ground targets are generally stationary, with a few exceptions. They present no threat of direct contact, but they produce a great deal of bullets that must be avoided (again, with exceptions). Standing still when ground targets are present is generally a bad idea. Bombing ground targets can present a challenge as well. For one thing, it is very important to remain mindful and aware of the enemy presence in the air, as well as the position and trajectory of enemy bullets. Never bomb a location if it means situating yourself in a bullet's or enemy's trajectory. Stationary ground targets are easy to bomb successfully. Simply wait for your reticule to overlap the target and flash, then press the fire button. Mobile targets on the other hand require a good deal of planning. You must aim for the location that your target will arrive at when the bomb reaches the ground. The same strategy must be applied when fighting the Andor Genesis motherships.
There are four secret flags that occur in the first 16 stages. They always appear along the same horizontal strip of the stage, but their location within that strip is random. In order to find it, you must carpet bomb the particular strip in order to expose the flag. Finding the flag earns you 1000 points, but touching it earns you an extra life (or 10,000 points depending on the arcade dip switch setting.
- The first flag can be found along the leading edge of the first full length river in the first stage, as seen in the first picture below. Keep the target along the southern edge of the river or you will overshoot the flag.
- The second flag lies along a line through the mouth of an inlet shown in the second picture. It is typically found in the right half of the screen, so start at the center and bomb to the left until you uncover it.
- The third flag occurs in the large ocean after a mothership encounter. It lies along a line through the end of the longest pier. It can be anywhere on this line, so start bombing at one edge of the screen and continue all of the way to the other edge.
- The fourth flag is hidden at the bottom of the tail feathers of the bird shown below. The bird shows up in the terrain during the second set of rotating walls.
Sol Tower locations
Another hidden target is the Sol Citadels, which are worth up to 4000 points each - 2000 points for uncovering one, and 2000 more for destroying one. Unlike the flags, Sol Citadels will cause a red glow in your bomb targets even though they are not visible on the screen. A direct hit by a bomb will uncover a citadel, and another bomb hit will destroy it.
- One single Sol Citadel can be found just near to the three stationary vehicles shown in the first screen shot below. Another may be found on the far left in area one just before the forest that ends the area.
- Another tower is located on the far right about halfway through area 2, and another is located on the far left just after the large pyramid in area 3. One may be found between the roads in area 4 before the andor genesis mother ship, and another in area 5 in the pale gray area to the right of the dock on the far side of the lake.
- A group of Sol Citadels can be found in the small clearing shown in the second picture below, just before the second Mother Ship. There are four citadels in this group, so it's worth 16,000 points. A swarm of Giddo Sparios occurs at this point in the game, so take that as your cue to watch for the telltale glow in your bomb sights. When you reach the citadels, drop four bombs to uncover them and then four more bombs to destroy them.
- There are eight citadels in the second group. which occurs just after the third large bird that appears in the terrain. You can use the bird s foot and leg to guide your Solvalou to these citadels; just fly over the leg and continue up the screen until your bombsights glow. This will be the lower left citadel in the group. Drop a bomb on this one and then move to the right to find the other seven. It is not possible to uncover and destroy all eight citadels in this group before they scroll off the screen, so you must decide how many to attempt. You can either uncover all eight and then bomb as many as possible (up to four), or uncover six citadels and destroy all of them. Either one of these approaches will earn you up to 24,000 points, the maximum possible on this group. Don't be discouraged if you get less than this total; it's very hard to get 24,000 on this group.
- The next group of citadels is much easier. There are only four again, and they come at the end of the third set of flying shields (rotating walls). Watch for where the two roads come together just before the forest, and drop your bombs along the top edge of the slanted section of roadway. As in the first group, uncover all four citadels before destroying them.
- The last group of Sol Citadels is hidden along the left edge of the screen near the first river. The best way to anticipate the approach of this group is to watch for a conspicuous formation of defense sites and domes that comes shortly before it. The domes and defense sites are clustered in two groups of four along both sides of the road shown above. This is a very dangerous area - the defense sites fire rapidly - so be careful not to forget about the Sol Citadels because of all the other action on the screen.
The following pictures are images of the first four areas of Xevious with the enemies included. Some secrets may be missing and the air enemies you encounter may be different based on the game's difficulty setting and your skill.
The designer of Xevious included a trick for generating his name right at the beginning of the game to determine the legitimacy of the game. As soon as your Solvalou appears, move to the far right edge of the screen. Bomb the diamond-shaped dark green patch in the trees. The message shown in the picture to the right will appear on the screen. EVEZOO is the nickname chosen by Masanobu Endoh who designed and programmed Xevious. Doing this also gives you 10 points (for some odd reason). If you happen to run into a pirated version of Xevious, however, EVEZOO and Namco's logo will be replaced with "DEAD COPY MAKING under NAMCO program". Comparing the two can be done easily with Namco Museum DS, which has the option of changing between the pirated and original versions.