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zaxxonj: MAME ROM Information.


Zaxxon (c) 1982 Sega.

Zaxxon is a unique isometric perspective, 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 Zaxxon 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 Zaxxon, the insidious enemy robot. A successful attack-run across the first platform 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, Zaxxon appears, launching seeker-missiles. Destruction of Zaxxon 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.


There were 2 different dedicated cabinets available for Zaxxon, an upright and a cocktail :

* The upright version came in a nice woodgrain cabinet with black and blue sticker style sideart. The marquee is a blue 'Zaxxon' logo with a star filled background. The control panel has a nice 8-Way flight stick with fire buttons on either side, and graphics explaining how to play the game. Finally the upright uses two sets of coin mechs that are of an odd 'skinny' style.

* The cocktail version came in the standard Sega/Gremlin cocktail table (this same table was also used for "Frogger", "Carnival", and several other titles). This was a relatively unadorned machine, the only decorations were a set of instruction cards underneath the glass. This machine had a control panel on either side and used Wico balltop joysticks instead of flight sticks.

All versions used a vertical open frame monitor, and ran the same set of game boards. This game is fully compatible with "Congo Bongo", "Super Zaxxon", and "Future Spy" (those boards will plug right in without modification).

Main CPU : Z80 (@ 3.04125 Mhz)

Sound Chips : Discrete circuitry

Screen orientation : Vertical

Video resolution : 224 x 256 pixels

Screen refresh : 59.999408 Hz

Palette colors : 256

Players : 2

Control : 8-way joystick

Buttons : 1 (FIRE)


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".


Zaxxon was released in at least 2 versions :

The latest version (set 1 in MAME (zaxxon)) corrects a minor error in the way the original zaxxon rom set (set 2 in MAME (zaxxon2)) managed fractions of a credit, seen only when a player earned credit through game play when the game dipswitch settings provided only a fraction of a full credit for each token inserted.


Gun Implacements (Green and Gray) : 200 or 500 points (random)

Fuel Tank : 300 points

Radar Tower : 1000 points

Missile (Ground-to-Air) : 150 points

Missile (Air-to-Air) : 200 points

Fighters (on runway) : 50 points

Fighters (in air) : 100 points + (50 points/level after level 2)

Zaxxon (destroyed with missile in launcher) : 1000 points

Zaxxon (destroying launched missile) : 200 points

Destroying all planes in space : 1000 points

Satellite : 300 points


* To kill Zaxxon, 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 Zaxxon'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 airplanes on the platform : it will reduce the number you need to kill in the space scene. If you shoot all the airplanes 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)


* Consoles :

Colecovision [US] (1982) [Model 2435]

Atari 2600 [US] (1982) [Model 2454]

Mattel Intellivision [US] (1983) [Model 2487]

Atari 5200 [US] (1984) [Model 008-02]

Atari XEGS [US] (1984) [Model 008-03]

Sega SG-1000 [JP] (1985) [Model G-1038]

DynaVision (198?, Zaxxon)

Sony PlayStation 2 [US] (Nov.2006, "Sega Genesis Collection") [Model SLUS-21542]

Sony PlayStation 2 [EU] (Feb.2007, "Sega Mega Drive Collection") [Model SLES-54333]

Sony PlayStation 2 [AU] (Feb.2007, "Sega Mega Drive Collection")

Sony PlayStation 3 [US] (Feb.2009, "Sonic's Ultimate Genesis Collection") [Model BLUS-30259] : Unlockable, see note below.

Sony PlayStation 3 [KO] (Feb.2009, "Sonic's Ultimate Genesis Collection") : Unlockable.

Sony PlayStation 3 [EU] (Feb.2009, "Sega Mega Drive Ultimate Collection") [Model BLES-00475] : Unlockable.

Sony PlayStation 3 [AU] (Feb.2009, "Sega Mega Drive Ultimate Collection") : Unlockable.

Microsoft XBOX 360 [US] (Feb.2009, "Sonic's Ultimate Genesis Collection") [Model 68034] : Unlockable.

Microsoft XBOX 360 [EU] (Feb.2009, "Sega Mega Drive Ultimate Collection") [Model 384-40210] : Unlockable.

Microsoft XBOX 360 [AU] (Feb.2009, "Sega Mega Drive Ultimate Collection") : Unlockable.

NOTE: To unlock the game on the PlayStation 3 and the XBOX 360, just collect five bonus coins while playing "DeCap Attack".

* Computers :

Tandy Color Computer [US] (1983)

Apple II (1983)

Atari 800 [US] (1984)

PC [Booter] (1984)

Commodore C64 [EU] (1984) : 2 releases - 1 by Synapse Software, the other by U.S. Gold

Commodore C64 [US] (1984) [Model 008-05]

MSX [EU/JP] (1985)

Sinclair ZX Spectrum [EU] (1985)

PC [MS-DOS] (1985)

Amstrad CPC [EU] (1986, "Zaxx")

* Others :

VFD handheld game (1981) released by Coleco : one of the coolest handheld arcade conversion, Coleco's Zaxxon uses a unique combination of mirrors and 2 different VFD displays to get a 3-D affect. Your ship appears to be flying above the surface of the planet and actually flies over walls and other VFD generated images (not possible with just one VFD display). The planet's surface and ground based enemies are created by one VFD, while you and air-based enemies are created by the VFD reflected off a mirror.

LCD handheld game (1982) released by Bandai : it's a cool double panel LCD game (there are two LCD panels on top of each other). The dual panel creates a kind of 3D effect with lower objects on one panel, and higher ones on the other. Also, all of the background images are created by the LCD and animated. It's quite impressive for an LCD game (and a must have if you love Zaxxon!).

VFD handheld game (19??) released by Bandai : this game has a unique way of creating a 3-D effect - it only uses 1 VFD display (unlike Coleco's Zaxxon which uses two). The VFD is basically split in two, the upper half you see as the lower part of the playing field, while the lower part of the VFD is reflected on a semi-transparent mirror to create the upper half of the 3-D playing space.. Pretty cool idea to help, and it really works in that all of the ships (not just the players ship like on the Coleco version) have a true depth. It's a little awkward to play sometimes as you have to sit just right to get all of the screen centered perfectly, but once you are in position, it's a very nice version of Zaxxon. It features the planes in space mode, and the flying over land mode.. The only thing that seems to be missing is the actual Zaxxon boss at the end...


Game's rom.

Machine's picture.

F.A.Q. by Kevin Butler A.K.A. War Doc

Details of the code analysis can be views at www.romseti.blogspot.com

MAME Info:

0.08 [Mirko Buffoni]

Samples required


- Use F2 to enter test mode, then 1 to advance from one test to the following.


- In Zaxxon, after you enter your initials, the screen proudly displays: INITIALS ENTERD Happens on the real machine...


- 0.134u4: Team Europe added clone Zaxxon (set 3).

- 0.134u2: Team Japump added clone Zaxxon (Japan).

- 0.122u8: RansAckeR improved dipswitches according to manuals in Zaxxon. Added 2x 'Unused' dipswitch.

- 0.107u3: Fixed rom names.

- 0.107u2: Aaron Giles rewroted Zaxxon driver from the schematics. This is still a WIP (not finished yet): Fixed clock speeds and video timing. Complete memory maps. Simplified video code and merged common cases together. Palette derived from resistor weights. Background positioning still a little off.

- 0.99u2: Derrick Renaud fixed sample playing.

- 0.76u1: Changed Z80 CPU clock speed to 3041250 Hz.

- 23rd October 2003: Converted Zaxxon to use tilemaps in the foreground graphics layer, and corrected the CPU speed in it.

- 0.59: Removed 3rd coin slot. Added 2x 'Unused' dipswitches.

- 0.35: Added clone Jackson (bootleg).

- 30th June 1999: Nicola added a Zaxxon bootleg called Jackson.

- 0.35b11: Marco Cassili added clone Zaxxon (set 2). Changed parent description to 'Zaxxon (set 1)'.

- 9th April 1999: Marco Cassili added an Eagle clone, a Zaxxon clone and a Mr. Do! Run Run clone.

- 0.33b5: Zaxxon supports rotation (albeit slow) [John Butler].

- [Zaxxon/Super Zaxxon Sound Samples: By an anonymous individual. 11/20/98 Zaxxon uses discrete sound circuitry that cannot be emulated. I got lucky and found some sound boards that still had some power in them. Most Zaxxon boards the capacitors are all dried up so a lot of the sound disappear. Stuff to do: Zaxxon has 5 flight sound variations. These have to be put into the driver to take advantage of them].

- 0.34b1: Added color proms ($0, 100 - palette and char lookup table).

- 0.31: Alex Judd support sample sound in Zaxxon and Berzerk. Gerald Vanderick added accurate colors to Zaxxon.

- 12th March 1998: ATJ - For the moment replaced Brad's version of the samples with mine from the Mame/P release. As yet, no variable volume, but I will be combining the features from Brad's driver into mine ASAP.

- 26th January 1998: LBO - Fixed the sound support. I lack explosion samples and the base missile sample so these are untested. I'm also unsure about the background noise. It seems to have a variable volume so I've tried to reproduce that via just 1 sample.

- 25th January 1998: LBO - Added crude support for samples based on Frank's info. As of yet, I don't have a set that matches the names - I need a way to edit the .sam files I have. Hopefully I'll be able to create a good set shortly. I also don't know which sounds "loop".

- 0.30: A note about Zaxxon colors: we are aware that they are wrong. The reason is that we are using the Super Zaxxon color PROM. As soon as we'll have the correct Zaxxon color PROM, they will be fixed.

- 0.29: Zaxxon is getting there (sprites are mostly correct, background isn't) [Tim Lindquist, Nicola Salmoria].

- 0.28: Zaxxon can go in service mode (F2) [Nicola Salmoria]. Known issues: What do the dip switches do?

- 0.27: Improvements in Zaxxon colors by Marc Vergoosen.

- 0.26a: Mirko Buffoni worked with the wrong source, now everything is back to normality in Zaxxon.

- 0.18: Zaxxon now save their high scores for real [Nicola Salmoria]. The code had disappeared from the drivers. I did write it, since I had .hi files in my directories.

- 0.15: Miscellaneous graphics fixes to Zaxxon and added high score saving [Nicola Salmoria].

- 0.13: Marc Lafontaine submitted a new palette for Zaxxon.

- 0.11: Marc Vergoossen provided a much better palette for Zaxxon.

- 0.09: Background graphics in Zaxxon now work, albeit a bit slow (45-50 fps on my 486/100) [Nicola Salmoria]. Note: The background is stored as a rectangle, but is drawn by the hardware skewed: Go right two pixels, then up one pixel. Doing the conversion at run time would be extremely expensive, so we do it now. To save memory, we squash the image horizontally (doing line shifts at run time is much less expensive than doing column shifts).

- 0.081: Zaxxon now works, but the background graphics are missing [Nicola Salmoria]. Control: Arrows = Move around and CTRL = Fire.

- 0.08: Mirko Buffoni added support for Zaxxon (Sega 1982), doesn't work yet.

- 29th December 1996: Virtu-Al dumped Zaxxon (set 1).

LEVELS: 20 (endless - after 20th level, the level counter is replaced by the sentence "GIVE UP!", and the game continues endlessly)

Other Emulators:

* Mimic


Recommended Games (Defender 3D):


Super Zaxxon



Choutetsu Brikin'ger - Iron clad (Prototype)

Gratia - Second Earth

G-Darius Ver.2

Border Down

Psyvariar 2

Trigger Heart Exelica

Romset: 105 kb / 17 files / 33.6 zip

MAME XML Output:

       <game name="zaxxonj" sourcefile="zaxxon.c" cloneof="zaxxon" romof="zaxxon" sampleof="zaxxon">
              <description>Zaxxon (Japan)</description>
              <rom name="zaxxon_rom3.u13" size="8192" crc="925168c7" sha1="0f14b5072b5be252955ffb3a30fa6c76b3e6a6c4" region="maincpu" offset="0"/>
              <rom name="zaxxon_rom2.u12" size="8192" crc="c088df92" sha1="c0c6cd8dcf6db65129980331fa9ecc3800b63436" region="maincpu" offset="2000"/>
              <rom name="zaxxon_rom1.u11" size="4096" crc="f832dd79" sha1="1d626f22630eaa53603637991a06aeb7401e9769" region="maincpu" offset="4000"/>
              <rom name="zaxxon_rom14.u54" merge="zaxxon14.u68" size="2048" crc="07bf8c52" sha1="425157a1625b1bd5169c3218b958010bf6af12bb" region="gfx_tx" offset="0"/>
              <rom name="zaxxon_rom15.u55" merge="zaxxon15.u69" size="2048" crc="c215edcb" sha1="f1ded2173eb139f48d2ca86c5ef00acbe6c11cd3" region="gfx_tx" offset="800"/>
              <rom name="zaxxon_rom6.u70" merge="zaxxon6.u113" size="8192" crc="6e07bb68" sha1="a002f3441b0f0044615ce71ecbd14edadba16270" region="gfx_bg" offset="0"/>
              <rom name="zaxxon_rom5.u69" merge="zaxxon5.u112" size="8192" crc="0a5bce6a" sha1="a86543727389931244ba8a576b543d7ac05a2585" region="gfx_bg" offset="2000"/>
              <rom name="zaxxon_rom4.u68" merge="zaxxon4.u111" size="8192" crc="a5bf1465" sha1="a8cd27dfb4a606bae8bfddcf936e69e980fb1977" region="gfx_bg" offset="4000"/>
              <rom name="zaxxon_rom11.u59" merge="zaxxon11.u77" size="8192" crc="eaf0dd4b" sha1="194e2ca0a806e0cb6bb7cc8341d1fc6f2ea911f6" region="gfx_spr" offset="0"/>
              <rom name="zaxxon_rom12.u60" merge="zaxxon12.u78" size="8192" crc="1c5369c7" sha1="af6a5984c3cedfa8c9efcd669f4f205b51a433b2" region="gfx_spr" offset="2000"/>
              <rom name="zaxxon_rom13.u61" merge="zaxxon13.u79" size="8192" crc="ab4e8a9a" sha1="4ac79cccc30e4adfa878b36101e97e20ac010438" region="gfx_spr" offset="4000"/>
              <rom name="zaxxon_rom8.u58" merge="zaxxon8.u91" size="8192" crc="28d65063" sha1="e1f90716236c61df61bdc6915a8e390cb4dcbf15" region="tilemap_dat" offset="0"/>
              <rom name="zaxxon_rom7.u57" merge="zaxxon7.u90" size="8192" crc="6284c200" sha1="d26a9049541479b8b19f5aa0690cf4aaa787c9b5" region="tilemap_dat" offset="2000"/>
              <rom name="zaxxon_rom10.u60" merge="zaxxon10.u93" size="8192" crc="a95e61fd" sha1="a0f8c15ff75affa3532abf8f340811cf415421fd" region="tilemap_dat" offset="4000"/>
              <rom name="zaxxon_rom9.u59" merge="zaxxon9.u92" size="8192" crc="7e42691f" sha1="2124363be8f590b74e2b15dd3f90d77dd9ca9528" region="tilemap_dat" offset="6000"/>
              <rom name="mro_16.u76" merge="zaxxon.u98" size="256" crc="6cc6695b" sha1="01ae8450ccc302e1a5ae74230d44f6f531a962e2" region="proms" offset="0"/>
              <rom name="mro_17.u41" size="256" crc="a9e1fb43" sha1="57dbcfe2438fd090c08594818549aeea6339eab2" region="proms" offset="100"/>
              <sample name="03"/>
              <sample name="02"/>
              <sample name="01"/>
              <sample name="00"/>
              <sample name="11"/>
              <sample name="10"/>
              <sample name="08"/>
              <sample name="23"/>
              <sample name="21"/>
              <sample name="20"/>
              <sample name="05"/>
              <sample name="04"/>
              <chip type="cpu" tag="maincpu" name="Z80" clock="3041250"/>
              <chip type="audio" tag="mono" name="Speaker"/>
              <chip type="audio" tag="samples" name="Samples"/>
              <display tag="screen" type="raster" rotate="90" width="256" height="224" refresh="59.999408" pixclock="6082500" htotal="384" hbend="0" hbstart="256" vtotal="264" vbend="16" vbstart="240" />
              <sound channels="1"/>
              <input players="2" buttons="1" coins="2" service="yes">
                     <control type="joy" ways="8"/>
              <dipswitch name="Bonus Life" tag="DSW02" mask="3">
                     <dipvalue name="10000" value="3" default="yes"/>
                     <dipvalue name="20000" value="1"/>
                     <dipvalue name="30000" value="2"/>
                     <dipvalue name="40000" value="0"/>
              <dipswitch name="Unused" tag="DSW02" mask="4">
                     <dipvalue name="Off" value="0"/>
                     <dipvalue name="On" value="4" default="yes"/>
              <dipswitch name="Unused" tag="DSW02" mask="8">
                     <dipvalue name="Off" value="0"/>
                     <dipvalue name="On" value="8" default="yes"/>
              <dipswitch name="Lives" tag="DSW02" mask="48">
                     <dipvalue name="3" value="48" default="yes"/>
                     <dipvalue name="4" value="16"/>
                     <dipvalue name="5" value="32"/>
                     <dipvalue name="Free Play" value="0"/>
              <dipswitch name="Sound" tag="DSW02" mask="64">
                     <dipvalue name="Off" value="0"/>
                     <dipvalue name="On" value="64" default="yes"/>
              <dipswitch name="Cabinet" tag="DSW02" mask="128">
                     <dipvalue name="Upright" value="0" default="yes"/>
                     <dipvalue name="Cocktail" value="128"/>
              <dipswitch name="Coin B" tag="DSW03" mask="15">
                     <dipvalue name="4 Coins/1 Credit" value="15"/>
                     <dipvalue name="3 Coins/1 Credit" value="7"/>
                     <dipvalue name="2 Coins/1 Credit" value="11"/>
                     <dipvalue name="2C/1C 5C/3C 6C/4C" value="6"/>
                     <dipvalue name="2C/1C 3C/2C 4C/3C" value="10"/>
                     <dipvalue name="1 Coin/1 Credit" value="3" default="yes"/>
                     <dipvalue name="1C/1C 5C/6C" value="2"/>
                     <dipvalue name="1C/1C 4C/5C" value="12"/>
                     <dipvalue name="1C/1C 2C/3C" value="4"/>
                     <dipvalue name="1 Coin/2 Credits" value="13"/>
                     <dipvalue name="1C/2C 5C/11C" value="8"/>
                     <dipvalue name="1C/2C 4C/9C" value="0"/>
                     <dipvalue name="1 Coin/3 Credits" value="5"/>
                     <dipvalue name="1 Coin/4 Credits" value="9"/>
                     <dipvalue name="1 Coin/5 Credits" value="1"/>
                     <dipvalue name="1 Coin/6 Credits" value="14"/>
              <dipswitch name="Coin A" tag="DSW03" mask="240">
                     <dipvalue name="4 Coins/1 Credit" value="240"/>
                     <dipvalue name="3 Coins/1 Credit" value="112"/>
                     <dipvalue name="2 Coins/1 Credit" value="176"/>
                     <dipvalue name="2C/1C 5C/3C 6C/4C" value="96"/>
                     <dipvalue name="2C/1C 3C/2C 4C/3C" value="160"/>
                     <dipvalue name="1 Coin/1 Credit" value="48" default="yes"/>
                     <dipvalue name="1C/1C 5C/6C" value="32"/>
                     <dipvalue name="1C/1C 4C/5C" value="192"/>
                     <dipvalue name="1C/1C 2C/3C" value="64"/>
                     <dipvalue name="1 Coin/2 Credits" value="208"/>
                     <dipvalue name="1C/2C 5C/11C" value="128"/>
                     <dipvalue name="1C/2C 4C/9C" value="0"/>
                     <dipvalue name="1 Coin/3 Credits" value="80"/>
                     <dipvalue name="1 Coin/4 Credits" value="144"/>
                     <dipvalue name="1 Coin/5 Credits" value="16"/>
                     <dipvalue name="1 Coin/6 Credits" value="224"/>
              <driver status="imperfect" emulation="good" color="good" sound="imperfect" graphic="good" savestate="supported" palettesize="256"/>

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