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Zaxxon flyer.jpg
North American arcade flyer
Developer(s) Sega but see main article
Publisher(s) Sega
Platform(s) Arcade, Virtual Console
Release date(s) 1982
Genre(s) Shoot 'em up
Mode(s) Up to 2 players, alternating turns
Rating(s) ESRB: E
Input methods 8-way joystick, 1 button
Cabinet Upright and cocktail
Arcade system Sega Zaxxon hardware
CPU Z80 (@ 3.04125 MHz)
Sound Samples
Screenshot of Zaxxon (Arcade)

Zaxxon is a 1982 arcade game developed and released by Sega. Some sources[1][2][3] claim that Japanese electronics company Ikegami Tsushinki also worked on the development of Zaxxon. The game gives the player the experience of flying a fighter craft through a fortress while shooting at enemy entities (missiles, enemy gunfire, etc.) The object of the game is to hit as many targets as possible without being shot down or running out of fuel—which can be replenished by shooting fuel drums.[4]

At the time of its release, Zaxxon was unique as it was the first game to employ axonometric projection, which lent its name to the game (AXXON from AXONometric projection). The type of axonometric projection is isometric projection: this effect simulated three dimensions from a third-person viewpoint.

The world record on Zaxxon is 4,680,740 points scored by Vernon Kalanikaus of Lā'ie, Hawai'i, on March 15, 1982, according to the Twin Galaxies Intergalactic Scoreboard.[5]

A bootleg of the game was released in the arcades in 1982 called Jackson.[6]



A popular game, Zaxxon was ported to almost all home computer and video game console systems between 1982 and 1985. Among them were DOS (as a booter), Apple II, Atari 400/800, Atari 2600, Atari 5200, Atari XL, MSX, ZX Spectrum, Commodore 64, Dragon 32, ColecoVision, Intellivision, Sega SG-1000 and TRS-80 Color Computer.[7]. Unauthorized adaptations of the game were published for the TI 99/4A (as Arcturus), Amstrad CPC (as Zaxx), and the TRS-80 Color Computer (as Zakssund).

The Atari 2600 and Intellivision ports were noticeably different because they used a three-dimensional perspective instead of the isometric graphics of the other versions. This is probably due to technical limitations of these consoles. The ColecoVision version, designed by Coleco staffer Lawrence Schick, was the first home version to use the isometric graphics.

In 2006, Zaxxon games were included as bonus game on the Sega Genesis Collection for Sony's PlayStation 2 and PSP consoles. The original Zaxxon is the game included on the PS2, and Super Zaxxon is the one available on the PSP. It was also included as an unlockable game in Sonic's Ultimate Genesis Collection for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.

The arcade version was released on the Wii Virtual Console in Japan on December 15, 2009[8] and in the PAL region on March 5, 2010. It is also scheduled for a future release in North America.


Due to its success, Zaxxon spawned an arcade sequel, Super Zaxxon. It did not do as well as the original.

In 1987, Zaxxon 3-D was released for the Sega Master System. This console variation made use of its 3D glasses add-on for extra depth perception.

Zaxxon's Motherbase 2000 was released for the Sega 32X in 1995. It is the only Zaxxon game to use full 3D graphics. The game bore the Zaxxon brand only in the United States, as the Japanese version was named Parasquad and the European version was named Motherbase.

  1. Zaxxon (1982)
  2. Super Zaxxon (1982)
  3. Zaxxon 3D (1987)
  4. Zaxxon's Motherbase 2000 (1995)

Board game

In 1982, Milton Bradley made a Zaxxon board game.[9][10]

Tabletop and handheld games

In 1982 Sega released Zaxxon as a tabletop game and a handheld version as well.[11] Bandai[12] and Coleco[13] also released Zaxxon handheld games.

Remakes and clones

In 1987's Panther one had to rescue men and avoid enemy ships in a same isometric 3d-view game.[14]

The 2003 Retro Remakes competition produced clones for Linux and Windows.[15]

Similar games

  • Future Spy was created by Sega in 1984. This game uses the same hardware as Zaxxon and has very similar game play but with a more realistic military theme.[16]
  • Viewpoint was released by Sammy in 1992 for the Neo-Geo system. This game features the same 3/4 view perspective and similar gameplay as Zaxxon.[17]
  • Blue Max, a World War I flying game for the Commodore 64 and 8-bit Atari computers, had a similar isometric perspective and similar gameplay, and was described by one reviewer as "a souped-up version of Zaxxon." [18]


  1. ^ Company:Ikegami Tsushinki - Game Developer Research Institute
  2. ^ ドンキーコング裁判についてちょこっと考えてみる Thinking a bit about Donkey Kong, accessed 2009-02-01
  3. ^ It started from Pong (それは『ポン』から始まった : アーケードTVゲームの成り立ち sore wa pon kara hajimatta: ākēdo terebi gēmu no naritachi?), Masumi Akagi (赤木真澄 Akagi Masumi?), Amusement Tsūshinsha (アミューズメント通信社 Amyūzumento Tsūshinsha?), 2005, ISBN 4-9902512-0-2.
  4. ^ Zaxxon from the Killer List of Videogames (KLOV)
  5. ^ Zaxxon entry from
  6. ^ Jackson entry from CAESAR (Catalogue of Arcade Emulation Software - the Absolute Reference)
  7. ^ Zaxxon at MobyGames
  8. ^ December 2009 releases in Japan
  9. ^ Zaxxon from the Great Game Database (GGDb)
  10. ^ Zaxxon at BoardGameGeek
  11. ^ Handheld Zaxxon from the GGDb
  12. ^ Bandai Zaxxon from the GGDb
  13. ^ Coleco Zaxxon from the GGDb
  14. ^ Panther on AtariMania. Retrieved on 2009-04-28.
  15. ^ Gary Pankhurst. "Zaxxon RetroRemake - HomePage". Retrieved 2009-04-30. 
  16. ^ Future Spy from the KLOV
  17. ^ Viewpoint from the KLOV
  18. ^ Analog Computing Magazine #19, June 1984

External links


Strategy wiki

Up to date as of January 23, 2010

From StrategyWiki, the free strategy guide and walkthrough wiki

Super Zaxxon
Box artwork for Super Zaxxon.
Developer(s) Sega
Publisher(s) Sega
Japanese title スーパーザクソン
Release date(s)
Genre(s) Shooter
System(s) Arcade, Atari 8-bit, Commodore 64/128, MS-DOS
Players 1-2
Preceded by Zaxxon
Followed by Zaxxon 3-D
Series Zaxxon
Super Zaxxon marquee

After the release of Zaxxon, Sega realized it had a hit on its hands. The unique nature of the game featuring its three-quarter perspective was one of the first (if not the first) games to add depth and some feeling of perspective to a space game. Sega was quick to follow up on this success with Super Zaxxon. Super Zaxxon built on the Zaxxon model by creating a more challenging game. Although Super Zaxxon didn't do as well as its predecessor, it still created a respectable niche as far as arcade games went. It was not ported to nearly as many systems as Zaxxon was, making it only to the Commodore 64, MS-DOS, and the Atari 8-bit line of computers.

Change Summary

  • Your fighter moves much faster. This makes going after ground targets a big challenge.
  • The graphics are different. Although this is more of a viewing difference, it can still change ones perspective after they have gotten used to the Zaxxon graphics.
  • There is no more outer space battle. Instead, you must go through a narrow tunnel to get to area 3.
  • Instead of 20 fighters, you now have to tangle with 25 fighters in area 2.
  • A new enemy, the Mine Layer, is introduced. As the name implies, this ship lays mines in your path. You can destroy the mines but it takes a few hits.
  • Instead of encountering one Zaxxon robot, you now have to deal with three Super Zaxxon, dragon looking robots.
  • The placement of things (fuel tanks, gun implacements, etc.) in areas 1 and 3 is different then in Zaxxon.
  • There are now indestructible, elevated guns in area 1. These guns sit on the right side and they are 2.5 units in altitude.

Change Analysis

With Super Zaxxon, Zaxxon has been given a new coat of paint, but that's about it. The graphics are much more colorful, and enemy turrets and fuel tanks have been redesigned. But everything is in nearly the same place as before on both the first and second asteroids, so any patterns that you may have used on Zaxxon will work on Super Zaxxon.

A major difference between the two games is that the player's ship moves faster in Super Zaxxon than in Zaxxon, requiring faster reaction time. This aspect of the game results in a quick end to the first few games for beginners as well as former Zaxxon players.

At the end of the first asteroid comes the only original addition to Super Zaxxon. Rather than flying up and over a wall to face enemy fighters in space, the player must enter a tunnel. While in the tunnel, upward mobility is restricted to the lowest two levels, and placed in your path are the old fighters from Zaxxon and new mines that will try to move in front of you.

With the great increase in speed and the restricted mobility of the player, this point in the game is the most unfair to the player. It is very difficult, though not impossible, to survive. If all the fighters and mines within the tunnel are destroyed, a 2,000 point bonus is awarded.

At the end of the tunnel, the player enters space and must fly up over a wall to attack the second asteroid. As mentioned earlier, this asteroid has a very similar layout to the second asteroid of Zaxxon. And at the end of the 2nd asteroid, the 1,000 point Zaxxon robot has been replaced by a fire-breating Dragon (also, supposedly, a robot). If you destroy the Dragon by shooting it in the mouth six times before it tries to fry you, you'll get 2,000 points. Otherwise, all that you'll get is 500 points.

After the 2nd asteroid in Zaxxon, the player returns to the beginning of the first asteroid to try it all again with a slightly faster fuel consumption and restricted openings in the walls. But in Super Zaxxon, you have to face the Dragon a total of three times. This could add up to as much as 6,000 points and may see like a waste of time. It is, because you need enough fuel to survive three attacks. At later stages, facing the Dragon three times is just a cheap way of killing off the player's ship without giving him or her the chance to get any more fuel.

Super Zaxxon is a good looking game, but the unfair aspects of the game play severely limited it chances of becoming as big a success as Zaxxon was.

Box artwork

editZaxxon series

Zaxxon · Super Zaxxon · Zaxxon 3-D · Zaxxon's Motherbase 2000


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