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XEXEX Logo.png

XEXEX Title.png

Title screen

Developer: Konami
Music: Motoaki Furukawa
Hidenori Maezawa
Satoko Miyawaki
Akiko Hashimoto
Program: Toshiaki Takatori
Tatsuo Fujii
Tetsuya Wada
Art: M. Machiguchi
Kuniaki Kakuwa
Chiyoko Hanano
Release date: 1991
Previous game: Crisis Force
Next game: Axelay

Xexex (ゼクセクス) is a horizontal scrolling shoot em' up developed and published by Konami in 1991. It is an original project that brings over mechanics from other shooting games such as the Gradius series and Irem's R-Type and X Multiply.

Despite the positive reception towards the game, the sudden boom in popularity of fighting games caused Xexex to sell poorly. The game would be localized to other regions, with the US version being renamed to Orius. Despite adding 2 player co-op, the gameplay is altered drastically. And due to the advanced graphics used in the game, ports were never seen until the far future.

For replay videos, visit the Video Index.

Gameplay Overview

Xexex takes place across 7 different stages, with each one having a different and unique appearance. Using the Flintlock, the player will need to shoot down everything that they come across and use their Flint for either offensive or defensive use, whilst changing their shot type by collecting labeled pickups. At the end of each level is a boss fight, with each boss having a weak spot which must be destroyed to proceed to the next stage. In between stages are cutscenes that show Princess Irene pleading her help and/or Klaus taunting the player.

Random power-ups can be found by shooting secret locations in the level. There is a slim chance a 1UP can appear in these spots. This is the only way to earn extends.


XEXEX Controls.png

Xexex is a two-button game. Piloting the Flintlock TMF01, the ship can move in 8 directions, fire a wide variety of shot types, and manipulate a biological weapon called the Flint

  • A: Fires main shot.
  • A (Hold): Charges up the Flint.
  • A (Release): Unleashes a powerful, long-range tentacle attack.
  • B: Drops the Flint directly in front of the ship. Pressing the button while the Flint is deployed will call it back to your ship.
  • B, while charged: Shoots the Flint forward a great distance.


The Flintlock's hitbox is quite large, covering most of the ship, it's front arms, and the engine in the back. It's best advised to use your Flint to block incoming enemy shots. The back tips of the ship will emit sparks if they touch a surface.


The Flint

The Flint, just like the Force Pod from R-Type, is invincible, blocks bullets, and has tentacles. The ship always starts with it and only attaches to the front of the ship. The Flint itself starts off with one tentacle, but more can be added by collecting the appropriate power-up, up a maximum of three.

While the Flint is attached to the ship, It acts as a shield with a relatively small size. When deployed, the Flint's tentacles will sprout out and block bullets, home into enemies, and deal damage to whatever they touch. The ship will be able to rapidly shoot by holding the A button in this state.

If the Flint's core touches the center of any organic part of an enemy or boss, it will latch onto it and deal continuous damage until the enemy is destroyed or the enemy goes offscreen or moves fast enough.

Controlling the Flint

The Flint itself can be used in a variety of ways. With the Flint attached to the ship, holding down the A button will charge it up, up to a maximum of two times. While charged, the following actions can be performed:

  • Releasing the A button will unleash a tentacle attack. This attack has a very long range and does great damage towards enemies, but is weak towards bosses. The more tentacles the Flint has, the wider the attack gets. Releasing A when charged up a second time will make the attack go across the entire screen. Do note that the tentacles can be stopped by terrain.
  • Pressing B while charged will launch the Flint forward at a very high velocity, piercing through any small enemies in the way. A level 2 charge will launch the Flint further; across the entire screen. If the Flint hits any terrain or a large enemy while being launched, it will produce an explosion that does extra damage.

Pressing B without charging will drop the Flint a small distance ahead of the ship. This is useful if you need to avoid enemy fire from behind.

Main Shot

The Flintlock starts off with a basic Photon Beam shot. This shot does a decent amount of damage but the projectile is tiny. Other weapons and items can be acquired by destroying rapidly flashing enemies.

Item Desciption
XEXEX HomingLaser.gif
Homing Laser
Fires a burst of three lasers. The top and bottom lasers divert and home onto the nearest enemy, up to 90 degrees.
XEXEX ShadowLaser.gif
Shadow Laser
Functions identically to the laser weapon in Gradius, except leaving behind a trail.
XEXEX RoundLaser.gif
Round Laser
Shoots a shotgun-like blast of five shots, which encircle into each other after some distance.
XEXEX SpiralLaser.gif
Spiral Laser
A persisting laser that gets wider the further the shot gets. Functions like a combination of the normal Laser and Ripple Laser from the Gradius series.
XEXEX SearchLaser.gif
Search Laser
A heat seeking laser that actively hunts down enemies.
XEXEX GroundLaser.gif
Ground Laser
Shoots a long laser that travels along the ground alongside a regular shot.
XEXEX Speed Up.gif
Speeds up the Flintlock.
XEXEX Flint.gif
Adds a tentacle to the Flint. Up to a maximum to three.
XEXEX Energy.png
Grants an extra ship. Can be found randomly by revealing secret locations.

Upon death, All power-ups are lost and the player is brought back to the last checkpoint.


Xexex has a much more dificult second loop after completing the first. Some stages have changes in order to make the stage more difficult:

  • In general, enemies are much more aggressive. They shoot faster and their bullets are faster.
  • Stage 1 has a different color palette. The stage boss has more health.?
  • Stage 4's tunnels are narrower when the paths split, making it harder to maneuver.
  • Stage 5 uses a different color palette. More erupting volcanoes are added halfway through the stage. There is a huge increase in large flying enemies.
  • Stage 6 has an extra battleship during the high-speed section.
  • Stage 7's Zub-like enemies appear much more often. The final boss' ring attack homes onto the player.

There is no additional loops after. The game ends after completing the second loop.

Revisional Differences

This page goes over the original Japanese (Version JAA) release of the game. When the game is brought overseas, drastic changes were made to the game with three different revisions:

  • Asian version (Version AAA)
  • European Version (Version EAA)
  • US Version (Version UAA), Renamed to Orius.

Due to the drastic changes made to the revisions, the original Japanese version is the preferred way to play this title.


All three revised versions of the game function the same. The gameplay itself received several changes:

  • Each stage has a proper name, instead of "CHARGE THE ENEMY" being displayed when the stage starts.
  • There is now 2-player co-op, with a new, second Flintlock that has a different appearance.
  • The Flintlock has a slightly smaller hitbox.?
  • Checkpoints are removed. Players now respawn upon continuing.
  • There are no lives in the game. Replacing it is an energy meter that when runs out, requires the player to continue.
  • All laser power-ups are removed, and are replaced with much simpler weapons.
  • Enemies are more abundant and take more hits to destroy, even appearing in different stages.
  • Bosses have much more health and their patterns are changed. Stage 6 for example has a second copy of the boss.
Item Desciption
XEXEX RoundLaser.gif
Replaces the Photon Beam with a 2-way spread shot. Additional pickups add an addition shot to the spread, up to a 5-way spread.
XEXEX HomingMissile.png
Homing Missile
Allows the Flintlock to fire homing missiles over and under itself. Additional pickups add more missiles and increase their travel speed.
XEXEX Speed Up.gif
Speeds up the Flintlock.
XEXEX Flint.gif
Adds a tentacle to the Flint. Up to a maximum to three. During 2-player games, up to four tentacles can be active at once.
XEXEX Energy.png
Restores a small amount of energy to the Flintlock.


Several changes were made to how firing and the Flint functions.

  • Charging the Flint is slower than normal, which instantly charges to level 2 once charged.
  • There is no rapid-fire when the Flint is detached from the ship.
  • Pressing B without charging will always shoot out the Flint as if it was charged to level 1.