Originally released in 1985 for the NEC PC-8801 platform in Japan, Thexder is an action-arcade game like no other. You pilot a mech named Thexder who can transform from a standing robot position into a jet and fire heat-seeking lasers into enemies. You must guide him through 16 of the most challenging maps you've ever seen while facing countless enemies and discovering secret items. Navigating your mech requires full concentration and a good plan of attack if one hopes to conquer all 16 arduous levels. Thexder starts the game sealed in the entrance of the forbidden world with only one direction to go. This is where his quest begins.

The first few levels are a great opportunity to gain enmax bonuses by not using your shield                       


                       Time to destroy the main generator and save the day!

How can I play Thexder?
You can download the disk image for Thexder at the link on the bottom of this page. In order to play Thexder, you must first download an Apple IIGS emulator such as ActiveGS. There is also the option of playing Thexder online courtesy of virtualapple.org

What makes Thexder such a great game?
Thexder is arguably the first true arcade game for a PC. Because of the games challenging style and the large number of hidden compartments, it can be replayed again and again allowing the player to discover new things along the way. I'm a big fan of platform arcade games from the eighties (i.e. Megaman, Metroid) and Thexder was the first one I ever played that really blew me away. Did I mention the music is outstanding? Although after hours of gameplay it gets slightly repetitive.

History of Thexder
Thexder was created by software developers Hibiki Godai and Satoshi Uesaka in 1985. The game was a huge success in Japan, so much so, that in 1987 Sierra Entertainment licensed Thexder for release in the United States. Among the many platforms it was ported to was the Apple IIGS, which I first played it on. A year after Thexder's release, Hibiki Godai and Satoshi Uesaka created Silpheed, the pseudo-sequel to Thexder. Silpheed was a classic arcade shooter game whose francise is still very alive. Project Sylpheed is the newest game of this francise and is availbile for the Xbox360.


For a first time player, Thexder may seem a bit overwhelming, and for good reason. The key to successfully beating this game lies in your approach with the few levels. If you can manage to complete these levels without using your shield, you will recieve large enmax bonus points and a huge increase in energy. (Enmax simply referes to the maximum energy you can obtain at any given point in the game. Your enmax also increases with most enemies you kill). The first few levels are relatively easy and you should try to avoid using your shield as the more energy you can acquire early on will benefit you greatly in the later levels.

Because your laser is heat-seeking, any enemy/item will attract your beam. Rather than wasting unnecessary energy, try to focus your laser only on life-threating enemies. You can do this by flying in jet-mode or by holding the space key while in mid air. As you move on through the levels, use of the shield will most likely be required. These are times when you know your going to take on heavy damage. Try to limit shield use only when it's absolutely nessessary. Often times I use the shield when I attempt to fly by swarms of enemies rather than attacking them.

Finally, remember to explore each level thoroughly. Don't just rush through as fast as you can or you'll likely to miss many hidden items that will increase your health and ensure your survival. Whenever you want to resume gameplay at the level you last completed, press L.

Level Maps

Courtesy of Lou
Level 1
Level 2
Level 3
Level 4
Level 5
Level 6
Level 7
Level 8
Level 9
Level 10
Level 11
Level 12
Level 13
Level 14
Level 15
Level 16

Cast of Characters

Game Review


The controls for Thexder are secure and easy to use. It will take a few practice runs to get the gist of it like most games do. Since his laser is heat-seeking, you don't really have to aim much except by facing in the general direction of your enemy. However, because all animate objects attract his laser beam, there requires some strategy to destroying enemies that are positioned in closer proximity than others. In some areas you will see an ememy right in front of you and also one out of range yet Thexder tries to destroy both. This can be quite annoying, but usually these situations can be avoided. You may choose to use either the keyboard or a gamepad, but I prefer the keyboard. In order to transform from a standing position to a jet simply press down on your control. To change back to a standing position, press the direction opposite of Thexder's current one.


Thexder contains great 2D artwork for its time. The use of bright, full colors and a primarily geometric landscape give it a futuristic setting that works well. Some of the levels in this game are just plain huge, but all are meticulously drawn and well designed. The sound effects are what you would expect, (i.e. the laser beam sounds like a laser beam). The music that accompanies the game is extremely catchy and sets the mood for action and suspense. Also, Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata is played during the opening credits.


Thexder is a hyper dual-armor Robot-Jet transformer who has been sent to the forbidden world to eradicate all the evil inhabitants that dwell there. He must survive all 16 levels and disable the central computer in order to save the planet from certain death.


Thexder offers a great, challenging experience that one will not soon forget. It has a great replay value to it because of the enormous levels, hidden items, and plethora of enemies. There are lots of other side-scrolling platform action-arcade games out there, but none so unique and innovative as Thexder. No one should call themselves a true gamer until they've conquered this game.


Music Download

Download the main theme Here.

Level 1 Video

Here's Thexder in action.

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BEFORE CONTINUING: Please note that it is illegal to download the disk image for Thexder if you do not own a copy of the actual disk itself. If you choose to break this agreement, you alone are liable for the consequences.

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