"Gladly. The eighth challenge is the Xevious challenge, which Gus Wilde will be undertaking."
Gus smirks. "That sounds exotic. Let's do this."
The Namcoator snaps his fingers and Gus dematerialises.
We cut to somewhere above the Earth, more specifically above a dense forest. Around 75 metres above the ground, a lone ship is flying. It looks similar to the Galaga fighter, but it does not have any lights, and it has blue stripes on its wings. Inside the cockpit Gus rematerialises. He takes a look around.
"So I'm in another ship… Shooting aliens again, I'm guessing." Gus assumed.
"...Almost." the Namcoator replies over the intercom. "Allow me to fill you in on the details. This ship you are in is called the Solvalou. It's 9.91 metres long, 3.52 metres tall, 6.73 metres wide and weighs 18,500 kg."
"Mmmhmm… If I'm not shooting aliens, then what?"
"Basically player, the supercomputer GAMP is aiming to conquer Earth and wipe out mankind. It'll be sitting pretty if it achieves that, so we're trying to stop it. Your goal in the Xevious challenge is to clear all 15 areas of the game, while GAMP will throw its forces at you, so be careful. Have a seat."
Gus walks over and takes a seat at the Solvalou's controls. There is a steering lever present, along with a fire button and a pedal for Gus's legs.
"The lever's for steering and the button's for firing, yes?" Gus extrapolates from what he has learned in the Galaxian challenge.
"Yes." The Namcoator confirms.
"So what's this foot pedal for?" Gus asks.
"I'm glad you asked. Since this ship is not in space but rather in the sky above Earth, you'll be dealing with both aerial enemies and land-based enemies. The Solvalou is equipped with two weapons, player. You have a Zapper gun for shooting down aerial enemies, fired with that fire button, and you have an unlimited supply to air-to-surface bombs for land-based enemies, fired with that pedal." the Namcoator explained.
"You are going to fly over the testing range shortly, where you can practice using the Solvalou's weapons. Let me know using the microphone when you think you are ready!"
"You bet!" Gus exclaimed as the testing range came into view through the windshield.
Gus has been having fun using the Solvalou's weapons. But the blonde boy knows that he will need to actually undertake the challenge to complete it. He leaned over to a microphone built into the steering lever. "I'm ready for the challenge!"
"Very well! The Xevious challenge shall now commence! But before it actually begins, I'd better inform you that should you die at least 70% of the way through an area, you will start at the beginning of a new area!"
The Xevious game start jingle plays.
GUS WILDE - READY!
No sooner than the jingle had ended that Gus is already aware of a group of ring-like Toroids approaching the Solvalou, but some shots from its Zapper makes quick work of them. As the forest beneath Gus and the Solvalou gives way to a flat grassy plain littered with paths, Gus uses the Zapper to destroy another group of Toroids.
"The enemies aren't even firing on me… This feels too easy for someone like me!"
Below Gus spots a Bara storage station and a Zolbak radar and duly bombs them to eliminate them. A Logram attack dome comes into view next, and it quickly opens to fire a single shot at Gus, who thankfully manages to get the Solvalou out of the way in time.
"Oh, so NOW they're firing on me. About time…" Gus mutters as he bombs the Logram to destroy it.
An hour or so has passed, and Jackie and the Namcoator are now watching Gus battle a huge Andor Genesis mothership. Dodging its bullets and the Zakatos it was firing, Gus is able to expertly land a shot in its centre core, destroying it and grounding the Andor Genesis. Jackie was clearly impressed by Gus's skill.
"This looks hectic…" Jackie begins.
"Yeah." replies the Namcoator. "Not only is Xevious hectic, it's quite smart for a game. Notice how the enemies are more aggressive than they were when Gus started out?"
"I never really paid attention to that, but yeah. They certainly are packing more heat!"
"Seems GAMP has noticed how much of a threat Gus is and is sending in its stronger troops. That was the idea of this game's developer, Masanobu Endoh. He wanted a more realistic game than title like Galaxian or Galaga."
"And how is Xevious more realistic?" Jackie questions.
"Well Jackie, unlike in those games, the enemies here do not do reckless things like sit passively in a formation or do kamikaze bombing runs. No. They rush up to you, take a shot and then retreat."
Jackie then begins silently cheering Gus on, something she has done consistently so far when it is not her turn to undertake the challenges.
Gus sees a dense forest up ahead which marks the end of area fifteen. As soon as the Solvalou begins passing over it, the Namcoator's voice begins sounding out:
"Well done, player! You have reached the end of area fifteen, and with that the Xevious challenge is complete!"
"Indeed!" Gus proclaims. "The enemies may be smart, but I am smarter!"
"Too true!" Allow me to recall you so you may receive your trophy!"
Gus dematerialises, leaving the Solvalou's cockpit empty.
Back in the Namcoator's room, Gus rematerialises. Jackie runs over and hugs him.
"You did as amazing out there as all the other times!" Jackie comments.
Gus nods as Jackie releases him. They turn to the Namcoator, who as already prepared the Xevious trophy, showing the Solvalou. Gus takes it.
"Where are you even getting these things, anyway?" Jackie asks.
"They're hand-made using special molds." the Namocator explains.
Jackie seems to be content with this explanation. She smiles as Gus continues admiring the trophy.
"So what's the next challenge?"