It has been nearly two months since the Nintendo eShop opened for the 3DS, and although it was a promising launch, it hasn't exactly been a roller coaster ride content-wise.

The most fascinating part of the downloadable store is arguably the 3D Classics section, which sees old NES titles given a stereoscopic 3D revamp.

The first of only two titles to get the 3D Classics treatment so far, Excitebike, whet our appetites on 3DS a little, and left us wanting more. Finally, we've received that second tasty helping, in the form of classic Namco shooter Xevious.

While it's not exactly the big bang we were hoping for, there's no denying that Xevious is a truly seminal title, the inspiration for many a shmup over the last 29 years.

X-tra, X-tra

Xevious puts you in command of the Solvalou, a powerful jet that can fire unlimited missiles and bombs to take out the incoming hordes.

You are constantly moving upwards, shooting enemies out of the sky, and bombing various buildings and anti-air bunkers. Take just a single hit from an enemy and you'll lose a life, sending you back to the start of the current wave.

Anyone who has played Xevious will know that this is a seriously difficult game. It doesn't matter how good you are at dodging bullets, and ducking and diving - you will die many times over, and you'll need persistence if you want to reach the end.

That said, Xevious belongs to that rare breed of games in which the high difficulty level leads to a huge degree of excitement - which you'll want to share with anyone willing to listen - when you do finally manage to beat it.

Envious

So many shmups in recent times have failed to achieve what Xevious managed all those years ago, simply because they overlook the balance that this game rides on.

Having to watch both the air and the land at the same time is a tremendous challenge, and makes the game that much fuller and slicker. It's usually not possible to wipe absolutely everything out, so being compelled to choose the safest option is tricky business.

What's really lovely about this version is that the new stereoscopic 3D effects not only enhance the visuals, but they also actually make the game even more playable.

The sense and feeling of depth between the floor and your ship is delightful, and you gain a new appreciation for where the bullets are and how to go about dodging them.

It's perhaps the first time the 3D effect in a Nintendo 3DS game feels useful, rather than gimmicky or for show.

X-rated

Xevious was one of the first games in history to feature boss battles. Unfortunately, these are now a horrible hindrance.

Bullets fly everywhere, and if you die, all your hard work against them is destroyed, sending you back to the beginning of the wave.

Dying over and over again during a boss encounter can make constantly restarting rather daunting, as you think to yourself 'what's the point, I'm just going to end up dead at the boss again!'

For many, the other major problem with this release of Xevious is the price. No matter how good the new effects are, no one in his right mind would pay the current asking price of over £5.

When you take into consideration that you're probably going to get less than an hour's worth of play out of the title, it really doesn't make much sense at all. This simply reinforces the notion that Nintendo should be looking at App Store prices and thinking about matching them.

If you've got money to burn and don't mind paying over the odds, Xevious is a nice reminder of where vertical shooters have all evolved from. Otherwise, wait until Nintendo has the sense to reduce the price a little.