Lost In Translation/Zaxxon

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This page is a stub for arcade games that are part of the Lost In Translation series using information based on MAME (version 0.113u2).
For an example of preferred content and layout please refer to Out Run or The Ninja Warriors.

Zaxxon marquee.
No screen shot.
Zaxxon control panel.
Manufacturer Sega
Released 1982
8-way Joystick
1 Button(s)
Main CPU Z80 (@ 3.041 MHz)
Sound CPU Mono
Raster (Vertical)
256 x 224 pixels
60.00 Hz
256 Palette colours
Screens 1
ROM Info 17 ROMs
107,008 bytes (104.50 KiB)
MAME ID zaxxon · zaxxon2 · zaxxonb

About The Game

Zaxxon is an isometric arcade video game shoot-em-up in which you find yourself piloting an 'attack-shuttle' spacecraft, strafing the enemy's asteroid city in an attempt to destroy fuel tanks, gun emplacements, missiles, fighters and the dreaded enemy robot.

With the aid of an altimeter that constantly monitors your height, you control your ship with an aircraft-style joystick, barnstorming your way through wall openings, under electronic barriers, dodging rockets, and in a later round, duelling with the insidious enemy robot. A successful attack-run across Zaxxon leads us to a deep-space dogfight with enemy planes. As you climb, turn and dive, a 'cross-hair' appears on the screen to indicate exact positioning for a laser hit on incoming craft. Notice the buffeting as you fly near 'proximity explosions'. In addition to your altitude, a running count is displayed of your score, number of ships remaining to you, number of enemy ships remaining to be destroyed, and fuel remaining. Fuel bonuses, as well as points, are awarded for destroying fuel tanks, but your ship crashes if you run out of fuel between rounds.

After a specified number of enemy ships are destroyed, the robot appears, launching seeker-missiles. Destruction of the robot requires six direct hits on the robot's missile launcher, after which the round changes with greater difficulty. Number of player ships and bonus point levels are operator selectable. Game play ends with the loss of your last ship.


Released during January 1982. At the time of its release, Zaxxon was unique as it was the first game to employ isometric projection, something of a three-quarters viewing perspective. This effect simulated three dimensions (albeit from the viewpoint of a second person).

In the game, Zaxxon is the name of the enemy robot who you must destroy. Milton Bradley turned this and other Sega titles into board games. 'Can You Complete Your Mission Before Zaxxon Zaps You?'.

Vernon Kalanikaus holds the official official record for this game with 4,680,740 points on 03/15/1982.

A Zaxxon unit appears in the 1983 movie 'WarGames'.

A bootleg of this game is known as "Jackson".


Target Points
Gun Emplacements (Green and Gray) 200 or 500 (random)
Fuel Tank 300
Radar Tower 1,000
Missile (Ground-to-Air) 150
Missile (Air-to-Air) 200
Fighters (on runway) 50
Fighters (in air) 100 + (50/level after level 2)
Zaxxon (destroyed with missile in launcher) 1,000
Zaxxon (destroying launched missile) 200
Destroying all planes in space 1,000
Satellite 300

Tips and tricks

  • To kill the robot at the end of every second level, fly at 2 1/2 units (in other words, with two blocks of your altimeter filled in and one at halfway). Shoot 6 shots at the robot's missile, and you will kill it quickly. If you miss, either dodge the missile, or keep firing and you can still blow up the missile. However, you get less points for hitting the missile while it's in the air.
  • Flying at an altitude of 1 1/2 will allow you to hit ground targets while making their shots go harmlessly under you.
  • Shoot aeroplanes on the ground : it will reduce the number you need to kill in the space scene. If you shoot all the aeroplanes in space you will get a bonus.
  • On the levels in outer space, start up the highest point on the upper left and start shooting immediately. You should be able to hit the satellite right away. If you miss, keep moving to the left and keep firing. This works for the second satellite also.
  • This is important in later levels because it is possible to run out of fuel in space : if you hit the satellite, you will get some back.
  • There are only two levels that repeat. The first air fortress level never gets much harder : use the same pattern for it. On the other levels, only the gaps become narrower.
  • Always keep firing! This way you can see if you will make it through the gaps, and you can adjust your height as needed.
  • The white canopy only indicates that the enemy plane is at the highest altitude. At any altitude, when an enemy is in your line of fire you will hear a tone and a white X appears in front of your plane. This makes it much easier to grab the 1,000 point bonus for destroying 20 enemy planes, as well as to avoid their shots.
  • On later levels you will lose fuel quickly. Make sure you hit as many fuel tanks as possible. If you run out of fuel you will lose a ship.


  1. Zaxxon (1982)
  2. Super Zaxxon (1982)
  3. Zaxxon 3-D (1987, Sega Master System)
  4. Zaxxon Motherbase 2000 (1995, Sega 32X)

Cabinet and Artwork


Colecovision (1982)
Atari 2600 (1982)
Mattel Intellivision (1983)
Atari 5200 (1984)
Atari XEGS
Sega SG-1000 (1985)
Sony PlayStation 2 (2006, "Sega Genesis Collection")
Tandy Color Computer (1983)
Apple II (1983)
Atari 800 (1984)
PC [Booter] (1984)
Commodore C64 (1984)
MSX (1985)
Sinclair ZX Spectrum (1985)
PC [MS-DOS] (1985)
Amstrad CPC (1986, "Zaxx")
VFD handheld game (1981, Coleco)
LCD handheld game (1982, Bandai)
VFD handheld game (19??, Bandai)

Soundtrack Releases

Album Name Catalogue No. Released Publisher Comments
Legend of Game Music ~CONSUMER BOX~ SCDC-00497~506[1] 2006-03-24 Scitron Digital Contents 10 CD version.
Arcade Ambiance 1983 N/A[2] 2003-01-01 Andy Hofle Digital download only.

External Links


The contents of this page are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.
The sources used include MAME (version 0.113u2) and history.dat (revision 1.28 - 2008-10-18).
Please see http://www.arcade-history.com for credits.