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Zaxxon

From Sega Retro

For the home computer conversions, see Zaxxon (home computers).
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Zaxxon Arcade Title.png
Zaxxon
Publisher: Sega,
Atari 2600
Coleco
Developer:
System(s): Sega Zaxxon hardware, SG-1000, Atari 2600, Atari 5200, ColecoVision, Intellivision, Virtual Console
Genre: Shoot-'em-Up






























Release Date RRP Code
Arcade
JP
1982-01[1] ¥?  ?
Arcade
US
1982 $?  ?
Arcade
DE
198x  ?  ?
Atari 2600
US
1982 $?  ?
Atari 2600
EU
1982 £29.95[2][3]  ?
Atari 2600
BR
1982 $?  ?
Atari 5200
US
1984 $?  ?
ColecoVision
US
1982 $?  ?
ColecoVision
EU
1983 £29.95[4]  ?
Mattel Intellivision
US
1983 $?  ?
Mattel Intellivision
EU
1983 £?  ?
SG-1000
JP
¥4,300 G-1038
SG-1000
TW
NT$? B-038



Wii Virtual Console
JP (Arcade)
500 pts ?
Wii Virtual Console
US (Arcade)
800 pts ?
Wii Virtual Console
EU (Arcade)
500 pts ?



Zaxxon (ザクソン) is an arcade shoot 'em up video game released by Sega. It is named after its groundbreaking use of axonometric projection (though more specifically, it uses isometric projection) and was released for bespoke arcade hardware in 1982.

Zaxxon was the first video game to use an isometric perspective, a graphical style which would see widespread use in the years which followed. It was an early attempt at adding three-dimensional depth to the shoot 'em up genre.

Zaxxon stands as one of Sega's earliest video game successes, and is also notable for being the first arcade game to be advertised on US television, with a commercial being produced by Sega's then-owners Paramount Pictures for $150,000[5].

Gameplay

In Zaxxon, the player controls a starship which continuously moves towards the top right of the screen - a "diagonal" sidescroller, as opposed to the horizontal or vertical shooters more commonly seen. The basic idea is to shoot at and destroy enemies within a space fortress to rank up points, while avoiding obstacles and enemy fire.

What made Zaxxon unique at the time was the ability for the player to adjust the ship's height as well as move the craft left and right, essentially creating one of the first three-dimensional shooters (though the player can still only move in two dimensions, as he/she cannot stop the ship from moving forward). With this comes the task of navigating scenery - Zaxxon has levels which take part in space stations, and the player must duck and dive to avoid crashing into objects. Furthermore missiles can be launched upwards from the ground (similar to Scramble by Konami), and the player must obtain fuel to stay airbourne.

History

Legacy

Zaxxon stands as one of Sega's first big successes in the arcade video game market, and was subsequently brought to a plethora of home systems during the early 1980s, being one of the most widely ported Sega games in history. The hardware behind the game also went in to fuel other isometric arcade games, such as Congo Bongo and Future Spy.

The Atari 2600 and Intellivision versions of the game (published by Coleco) are the most radically different, opting for a third-person "behind the ship" view rather than an isometric one, presumably due to hardware limitations. It has been suggested, however, that Coleco purposely dumbed down these versions for competition purposes - their ColecoVision port was for many years the most accurate home copy of the game, however skipped a few levels due to cartridge restrictions (something later fixed with Zaxxon Super Game for Coleco's Adam computer).

An Atari 5200 version similar to the Atari computers copy was also released.

Sega produced their own home port of the game for Japanese SG-1000s in 1985, however held back from bringing the game to more modern Sega platforms. Zaxxon was not seen again until a surprise appearance in the Sega Mega Drive Collection and Sega Mega Drive Ultimate Collection compilations, and in more recent times, the arcade version has been made available through the Wii's Virtual Console service.

As one of Sega's first success stories, Zaxxon was also turned into a board game by Milton Bradley in 1982. Bandai and Coleco also released VFD and LCD versions of the game, in the form of a tabletop Zaxxon, FL Zaxxon and a handheld Zaxxon. Curiously, Sega of America, through its blog, has erroneously laid claim to several other versions of Zaxxon - a homebrew Commodore Amiga version from 1995, and a version for the Dragon 32/64 computer (based on the TRS-80 CoCo version), whose legitimacy has yet to be verified.

Zaxxon was followed in the arcades by Super Zaxxon, which despite offering similar gameplay, was far less successful. Also created was Zaxxon 3D for the Sega Master System and Zaxxon's Motherbase 2000 for the Sega 32X.

Production credits

Magazine articles

Main article: Zaxxon/Magazine articles.

Promotional material


Photo gallery

Physical scans

Arcade version

Zaxxon hardware, US
Zaxxon Arcade US Marquee.jpg
Zaxxon Arcade US Manual.pdf
Manual
Zaxxon hardware, FR
Zaxxon hardware, DE
Zaxxon Arcade DE Marquee.jpg
Zaxxon Arcade DE ControlPanel.jpg

SG-1000 version

SG-1000, JP
Zaxxon SG-1000 JP Top.jpg
Zaxxon SG1000 JP Box Back.jpgZaxxon SG-1000 JP Spine.jpgZaxxon SG1000 JP Box Front.jpgZaxxon SG-1000 JP Spine2.jpg
Cover
Zaxxon SG-1000 JP Carttop.jpg
Zaxxon SG1000 JP Cart.jpg
Cart
ZaxxonSGJPManual.pdf
Manual
SG-1000, TW

Atari 2600 version

Sega Retro Average 
Publication Score Source
70 №32, p52-53[6]
Atari 2600
70
Based on
1 review

Atari 2600, US
Zaxxon Atari2600 US Box Back.jpgNospine.pngZaxxon Atari2600 US Box Front.jpg
Cover
Zaxxon Atari2600 US Cart.jpg
Cart
Zaxxon Atari 2600 US Manual.pdf
Manual
Atari 2600, EU

Zaxxon Atari2600 EU CBS Cart.jpg
Cart
Atari 2600, UK
Zaxxon 2600 UK Box Back.jpgNospine.pngZaxxon 2600 UK Box Front.jpg
Cover
Zaxxon Atari2600 UK CBS Cart.jpg
Cart
Atari 2600, FR
Zaxxon 2600 FR Box Back.jpgNospine.pngZaxxon 2600 FR Box Front.jpg
Cover
Zaxxon Atari2600 DE CBS Cart.jpg
Cart
Atari 2600, DE

Zaxxon Atari2600 DE CBS Cart.jpg
Cart
Atari 2600, DE (alt)

Atari 2600, CA
Zaxxon Atari2600 CA Coleco Box Back.jpgNospine.pngZaxxon Atari2600 CA Coleco Box Front.jpg
Cover
Zaxxon Atari2600 CA Coleco Cart1.jpg
Cart
Zaxxon Atari2600 CA Coleco Cart2.jpg
Alternative cart
Atari 2600, BR (Tron)

Zaxxon Atari2600 BR Tron Cart.jpg
Cart
Atari 2600, BR (Intellivision)

Zaxxon Atari2600 BR Intellivision Cart.jpg
Cart
Atari 2600, BR (Dynacom)

Zaxxon Atari2600 BR Dynacom Cart Back.jpgZaxxon Atari2600 BR Dynacom Cart.jpg
Cart

Atari 5200 version

Atari 5200, US
Zaxxon Atari5200 US Box Back.jpgNospine.pngZaxxon Atari5200 US Box Front.jpg
Cover
Zaxxon Atari5200 US Cart.jpg
Cart
Zaxxon 5200 us manual.pdf
Manual

ColecoVision version

Sega Retro Average 
Publication Score Source
90 №8, p6[7]
90 №3
83 №5, p25,27[8]
100 №6, p36-37, [1]
ColecoVision
91
Based on
4 reviews

ColecoVision, US
Zaxxon ColecoVision US Box Back.jpgNospine.pngZaxxon ColecoVision US Box Front.jpg
Cover
Zaxxon coleco us cart.jpg
Cart
Zaxxon coleco us manual.pdf
Manual
ColecoVision, EU
Zaxxon ColecoVision EU Box Front.jpg
Cover
Zaxxon ColecoVision EU Cart Top.jpg
Zaxxon ColecoVision EU Cart Back.jpgZaxxon ColecoVision EU Cart.jpg
Cart
Zaxxon coleco eu manual.pdf
Manual
ColecoVision, UK
Zaxxon ColecoVision UK Box Front.jpg
Cover
Zaxxon ColecoVision UK Cart.jpg
Cart
ColecoVision, FR
Zaxxon ColecoVision FR Box Back.jpgNospine.pngZaxxon ColecoVision FR Box.jpg
Cover
Zaxxon ColecoVision FR CBS Cart.jpg
Cart
ColecoVision, DE
Zaxxon Coleco DE Box Back.jpgNospine.pngZaxxon Coleco DE Box Front.jpg
Cover
Zaxxon Coleco DE Cart Back.jpgZaxxon Coleco DE Cart.jpg
Cart
ColecoVision, CA

ColecoVision, AU
Zaxxon ColecoVision AU Box.jpg
Cover

Intellivision version

Sega Retro Average 
Publication Score Source
20 №9
67 №9, p28/29[9]
Mattel Intellivision
44
Based on
2 reviews

Intellivision, US
Zaxxon Intellivision US Box Back.jpgNospine.pngZaxxon Intellivision US Box Front.jpg
Cover
Zaxxon Intellivision US Cart.jpg
Cart
Intellivision, EU
Zaxxon Intellivision EU Box Front.jpg
Cover
Intellivision, UK

Zaxxon Intellivision UK CBS Cart.jpg
Cart
Intellivision, DE

External links

References


Games in the Zaxxon Series
Zaxxon (home computers) (1982) | Super Zaxxon (1982) | Zaxxon Super Game (1984) | Zaxxon 3D (1987) | Zaxxon's Motherbase 2000 (1995) | Zaxxon Escape (2012)
Others
Zaxxon (LCD) (1982) | FL Zaxxon (1982) | Zaxxon (tabletop) (1982) | Zaxxon (board game) (1982) | The Official How to Win at Zaxxon (1982)