Thexder is a 1985 run-and-gun video game developed and published by Game Arts. The game was originally released for the NEC PC-8801 but has been ported to many consoles and systems since then. Other systems include the Famicom, Macintosh, Nintendo Entertainment System (NES), and more recently, the Nintendo Switch. Players can find the Eggconsole Thexder PC-8801mkIISR version of the game on Nintendo’s eShop for $6.49.
For gamers who are interested in this classic run-and-gun game, but don’t want to pay for it, Thexder is also available online. Like many classic games, just Googling the title will result in several websites where Thexder and other games like it can be played and/or downloaded. Retrogames.cz has Thexder (DOS) available to play right on the internet browser, no download is required. This website is a great resource for gamers who are interested in exploring and playing classic games for free. Some other standouts featured on Retro Games’s website include Disney’s The Lion King, a 1994 platformer based on the original animated film. Retro Games also features other iconic classics like Gradius and Alien Breed II: The Horror Continues. Thexder can also be found on other websites, like ClassicReload.com.
At the time of its release, Thexder sold extremely well in Japan, but it failed to make a huge splash internationally. Once Thexder received an MSX port (one of the best-selling consoles of the time in places like Europe and Brazil), its popularity skyrocketed. At the time, it was praised for bringing the magic of arcade gaming to the home computer. Thexder is considered to be one of the most influential games in the shooter genre. It broke onto the scene so later games in the genre could get funding.
Today, gamers still love Thexder and praise it for being a fun and impactful experience. 95% of Google users who weighed in on the subject claimed to like the game. My Abandonware rates the game a 4.5 out of 5. ClassicReload.com gives it a similar score of 4.2 out of 5.
Thexder was Game Arts’ first title and it was designed to bring the magic of the arcade into family homes. As a side-scrolling run-and-gun video game, Thexder is still considered to be one of the most important games of the genre. Because of Thexder’s success, doors opened for similar future games. Most industry experts and gamers alike look back on Thexder with appreciation and warmth. Thexder has left a legacy that will never be undone because it’s one of the most famous and popular shooters of the 1980s.
Like many games of the time, Thexder focused entirely on the gameplay. It has little in the way of plot or character development. In fact, players don’t even control an actual person (or other lifeform). Instead, players control a “hyper dual armor” called Thexder. While controlling this armor, the player needs to navigate through various levels. Each level features mazes filled with enemies. The goal is to find their way through the maze, avoid or kill any enemies that get too close, and find the facility’s power core. Thexder is similar to Gradius in this way, which also features gameplay centered around navigating enemy-filled boss fights while trying to destroy the enemy’s cores.
Thexder provides the player’s hyper dual armor with a weapon and a defense system. The player gets a laser that auto-targets while the armor is in mech form. The armor also gets a defense barrier, but it doesn’t last long. Both of these items depend on Thexder’s power supply, which players need to keep an eye on. If they burn through the armor’s power supply, they’ll be sitting ducks for the enemies. Enemies hitting Thexder will also drain power. Players can level up and refill Thexder’s power supply by killing specific enemies.
Thexder Main Characters
As mentioned, Thexder doesn’t really focus on a detailed plot or character development. Players play as Thexder, a “hyper dual armor”. While controlling the suit of armor, they’ll navigate enemy-filled facilities in search of the main cores. Each level plays out like a maze filled with many enemies to shoot and destroy. Once players find the end of the maze, they’ll be able to destroy the facility’s core.
Thexder Titles in the Series
Unlike many other classic games that spawned a massive franchise, Thexder only has a few titles in its series. This is somewhat surprising considering the impact that Thexder had on the gaming industry as a whole.
- Thexder (1985)
- Thexder 2 (1989) – Thexder 2 is sometimes called Fire Hawk: Thexder – The Second Contact.
- Thexder 95 (1995)
- Thexder & Fire Hawk (2005)
- Thexder Neo (2009)
- Eggconsole Thexder PC-8801mkIISR (2023) – A re-release of the original Thexder for the Nintendo Switch.
Thexder Cheats, Cheat Codes, & Exploits
Classic games are notorious for having cheats, cheat codes, or exploits to make the game easier. This is partially due to how difficult many of these classic games are. Back in the 1980s and 1990s, many games didn’t have a save function. This meant that when a player opened a game, they needed to finish the game in one play-through. Most games featured a Game Over mechanic which means that if the player ran out of lives (or whatever the game considered equivalent to lives), they would lose and have to start all over again. Power-ups were often dependent on whether players were able to collect specific items quickly during their ventures, so they were easy to miss.
In general, these games are difficult to complete, so many game developers of the time built cheat codes and other hidden secrets into the game on purpose. This practice still exists today, but it’s becoming more and more rare. Modern cheats aren’t usually as game-breaking as retro cheat codes either. These codes often offered things like immortality, extra lives, infinite continues, and super-powered gameplay.
Unfortunately, Thexder doesn’t have much of that. It does feature a few codes, but getting them to work properly is challenging. The effects they give aren’t necessarily worth it either. Only the “Infinite Energy” is game-breaking in any way. That said, running out of energy is what will destroy a Thexder playthrough, so this cheat is worth knowing. Please keep in mind that Thexder came out in 1985, nearly 40 years ago. It’s possible that these cheats won’t work on modern consoles and systems. Some of these codes are also incredibly challenging to enter correctly, so players may need to try them a few times.
Cheat Codes for Thexder (NES Version)
Please keep in mind that this code is quite challenging to input correctly. It may not work the first or even the second time. According to ReyVGM on GameFAQs, this code works for them, but it is frustrating.
- Go to the title screen
- Enter: Up, Right, Down, Left, Up, Right, Down, Left, Up, Left, Down, Right, Up, Right, Down, Left, Up, Right, Down, Left, Up, Right, Down, Left, and Up
- Here’s where things get tricky: The player can’t just input the code like normal.
- ReyVGM says players need to “hold a button, press and hold the next one, release the previous one, then hold the next one and release the previous one, etc, etc.”
- They also offered a clearer example, “Hold Up, then hold Right, release Up, then hold Down, release Right, then hold Left, release Down, etc.”
If the player fails to input the code correctly, they need to close the game and completely reset it before trying again.
- Go to the title screen
- Power up the console and hold Up + A, then reset
- Release the buttons and hold Up + B, then reset
- Release the buttons and hold Down + A, then reset
- Release the buttons and hold Down + B, then reset
- Release the buttons and hold Left, then reset
- Release the button and hold Right, then reset
- Release the button and hold Select, then reset
- Release the button and hold Start, then reset
- If players enter the code correctly, when they start the game, they’ll have infinite energy
- Power up the console
- Hold Left + A, press, then reset,
- Release the buttons, hold Right + A, then reset
- Release the buttons, hold Up + A, then reset
- Release the buttons, hold Down + A, then reset
- Hold Start, then reset
Extra Energy Exploit:
GameFAQs’ ReyVGM also talks about an energy cheese that will give players more energy at the start of the game. They do warn that this cheat is difficult to do, takes some guesswork, and isn’t always consistent.
- ReyVGM’s description of how to get this cheat to work: “This is a bit difficult to pull off. When you start the game, you begin going to the right through a narrow shaft. Notice the blue row of squares on the top of the screen. When the tip of your ship is on the 5th or 6th blue square column, hold Left to turn back and once you hit the invisible boundary, hold A for about 10 seconds. If done right, your energy will increase to 255. Sometimes, you have to hold A for less time and sometimes, you have to turn back left from a different distance. Sometimes you even get infinite energy. This game is crazy. Just keep trying different distances to turn left until you pull it off. Now, after you managed to increase your energy, press Reset and you’ll start an even harder game. You’ll know you did it right because everything will be green.”
Refill Energy Cheat for Thexder (MSX Version)
- During gameplay, press “Stop” to pause the game
- Enter: Select + W + A + O at the same time
- This should instantly refill Thexder’s energy
Another Refill Energy Cheat for Thexder
- Enable CAPS LOCK
- Start the game
- Enter: [ESC], Y, [ESC] on the keyboard
- This should restore Thexder’s energy
Thexder Cheats FAQs
When Googling “Thexder Cheats”, no FAQs section pops up. Oddly enough, when Googling “Thexder” on its own, it also has no FAQs section.
The image featured at the top of this post is ©ballerscuba / Game Arts.