How to Play X on the GameBoy (Part 1)


For those who haven’t been keeping up with my tweets or the Stalking the Retro Podcast. My good friend Jeremy sent me a GameBoy game that I’ve been seeking out for a while, X, or Ekkesu if you’re Japanese; they don’t have an X in their alphabet, so they have to spell it with four Japanese characters. Speaking of Japanese language, this game is REALLY heavy in Japanese, so I was given the task by Jeremy to create (what we believe will be) the first English walk through.



Even though it was made 1992, it has a tutorial; a MANDATORY tutorial that you can’t skip! What makes things worse, as shown in the image above, there’s a language barrier. So let me explain the tutorial to you.


The first part of the tutorial, shown in the image above, is trying to explain the different gears in your tank, called the VIXIV. There are 6 gears you can use, Reverse, Stop, Low, Med, High and Turbo. You switch these gears by pressing up and down on the dpad, and the VIXIV will move automatically at that speed. Think of it like a speed control on a train or a boat. Reversing and Turbo thrusting is a little different; to reverse, you need to be in the stop gear, then press down on the dpad and hold to keep moving in reverse; releasing down on the dpad will switch back to stop again. Turbo is the same, set the gear to High, then press and hold up to turbo thrust. The turbo thrust will end when you release up on the dpad or when you run out of fuel.

Sonar and the Map:

The next part is simply trying to tell you where the Sonar and the Map is on the screen. You’ll have to wait until the dialogue is finished to progress.

X (Japan)_02


Time to destroy a few tanks! You’ll fight one tank that’s static, and then fight another tank that’s moving. Press the A button to shoot your laser, each tank needs a few shots before they’re destroyed.

Lock On:

The beginning of the Lock On tutorial shows a building with a satellite dish and a pair of pillars. Drive slowly between the two pillars, and then turn around and face the building. You’ll see a hole and an arrow pointing towards it, drive into this hole. These buildings are Defence Stations where you can resupply fuel, health, and bombs. There’s a selection of four items you can use, there’s a Lock On, High Ex, Jet Pac, and Bomb. Out of these, select the Lock On and select the exit to leave the Defence Station. When you’re out, drive through the pillars, and look out for your first enemy. When you approach the enemy, slow down, line up the enemy with your cross hair, press the B button, and a square will appear around the enemy, press the B button again to shoot the missile. If the enemy is turning, they can avoid getting hit by the missile. You’ll need to wait until the enemy tank is not turning to get a guaranteed hit. The Enemy tank will explode and leave behind something that looks like a rotating mushroom. This is a repair kit, and will fill up one unit of health to your VIXIV tank. The health of the VIXIV is indicated by the 8 squares on the right hand side of the screen. After defeating the enemy tank, another pick-up will appear. this time it looks like a pair of wings. This is an additional lock on missile; they’re limited unlike your laser, so you’ll need to be careful not to run out of them during battle. You can hold up to 8 missiles at once, these are displayed on the bottom right hand side of the screen.

X (Japan)_03


Time to fly through one of the tunnels in the game. You’ll be face a rotating entrance. Using some timing, wait until the you can see the door and turbo yourself in. Flying through the tunnels is pretty simple. You’ll be using flight controls for this, meaning that just like piloting a plane, down is up, and up and down. There’s gravity inside these tunnels, so you’ll have to pull up gently so that you don’t crash. The tunnel will bend left and right, and will have obstacles to avoid. Eventually you’ll reach the exit and appear in the junction. You’ll have a few options to select, just exit and you’ll leave the junction, which is in the centre of the map.

X (Japan)_05


Time to get that tank flying outside of a tunnel. How do you make a tank fly? Well This is one of the many things I ended up finding out by mistake. In the play field you’ll notice that there are trees and hills. The hills can act as ramps so that your VIXIV can use to enter flight mode. Approach a hill, and hit the gears up to turbo and throw yourself off the hill. You’re now in flight mode! What you’ll need to do next is look on your map, by pressing the start button, and locate the closest power cube. The power cubes are floating in the air, and will be the reason why you wouldn’t have seen them when you’re on the ground. Once you find one, you’ll have to fly through it, just like a ring in StarFox. Keep flying through each cube that appear within a time limit, and eventually you’ll finish the tutorial and move onto your first mission!

Mission 1: Locate the retrieve the Power Crystal.

After the tutorial, you’re sent to the Planet Tetamus II where your future missions are based. The first mission is to retrieve a stolen object called the Power Crystal, and bring it back to the Nuclear Silo. Before starting the mission, you’ll fly through a warp tunnel before entering Tetamus II. Once you’ve gone through the warp tunnel, you’ll start in area 4 and there’s a defence station in front of you. Drive in, pick up any supplies if you have bumped into the walls in the Warp tunnel and make sure to pick up the Lock On item. Leave the base and head east until a white arrow appears in the HUD, this is pointing you towards the Power Crystal. Once you find it, it’ll be protected by a spider tank, this is pretty much the boss of the mission. You have two choices to make, either fight the Spider Tank, then take the crystal, or swipe the crystal and make a dash. Once you get the crystal, head towards the tunnel between area 4 and 6 and travel to the junction. When you get to the junction menu, select Traverse Tunnel, and select the north western tunnel exit. Travel through the next tunnel and you’ll appear in a space between Area 1 and Area 3. Move a little north so that you’re in Area 1, and begin to head east towards the Nuclear Silo. A white arrow will appear once you get close to it, the Nuclear Silo looks a bit like a defence station, but with a crystal on the top of it. Enter the Silo and you’ll see an animation of the Power Crystal being carefully placed into a glass container. Once it’s finished the mission is over.

Mission 2: Stop the Time Bombs

In this mission, you’ve been told that the enemy is now aware of your presence, and to combat it they’re going to destroy the planet with you on it. This mission is simple, locate the five bombs, and destroy them before the time limit. This time around there are a lot more enemy tanks waiting for you compared to the first mission. Make sure you get inside the closest Defence Station, resupply and take the Lock On item. Now you need to find these bombs; each time I played this mission, the bombs had different locations, but each bomb is in the vicinity of certain areas.


  • A bomb is located inside Areas 0 and 2.
  • A bomb is located inside Areas 1 and 3.
  • A bomb is located inside Areas 4 and 6.
  • A bomb is located inside Areas 5 and 7.
  • A bomb is located around the vicinity of the junction in the centre of the map.

When you approach a time bomb, a white arrow will appear on the HUD pointing towards it. It’ll be guarded by an enemy tank or two. Take out the enemy tanks before taking out the Time Bomb. But make sure you have missiles left as Time Bombs cannot be destroyed with the laser. Attack the enemy tanks with lasers rather than missiles to preserve them for the time bombs. Make sure to use the tunnels to get from place to place quickly. Traversing the tunnels does not effect the time limit you have in the mission.

Keep your eyes out for the next missions! I’ll be explaining how to fight a giant rampaging mech!