Thexder-Neo PSP Impressions: Classic Robot Action

The PSPgo and Playstation Portable were everywhere at Sony's Tokyo Game Show booth. And tucked away in one section of the booth was a blast from the past: A PSP remake of classic 80s action title Thexder.

In Thexder you control a tiny little robot that can quickly transform into a jet and back again in the middle of battles.

Back in the 80s when the game came to the U.S. in the form of a PC game, I played the heck out of it on an old IBM PC and my TRS-80 Color Computer. It was a great, easy-in, easy-out title before pick-up and play gaming became a catchphrase.

Now, with the popularity of quick-hit portable gaming on the rise, a game like Thexder seems like a perfect fit.

Thexder NEO, already available in the Playstation Store for $10, includes a graphic overhaul, a new novice mode for those not used to the rigors of old-school side-scrolling shooters and six-player online races.

My short time with the game at TGS gave me a brief, nostalgic taste of the title's single-player mode. The game remains as fluid and fun as the original as you pilot your fighting robot around the tunnels and spaces of the game, flipping back and forth between jet and robot when necessary.

The controls are fairly simple, face buttons operate the temporary shield, lasers and allow you to transform and jump. And you move the robot and jet with the direction pad or thumbstick.

Not only does the game seem to feel just like the original, it's a perfect fit for the Playstation Portable platform, delivering short bursts of game play with little to no time wasted getting into the action.

I enjoyed the title so much at TGS that I picked it up yesterday when it hit the store. I'd recommend you do the same if you're a fan of this retro-genre.