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Old 04-19-2006, 08:19 PM   #24
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Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 6,237
Axelay (SNES)

I stole this box picture from some Spanish guy. It has some of the game's bosses in it, including the fire giant which doesn't really go with the pattern of bosses, which tend to be giant robots of some sort.

Axelay arrived on the SNES in 1992 and was, at the time, one of the only shooters available for the console. How did it measure up against arcade-king Genesis and other shooters? Why have I waited so long to play it? Read on to find out!

Graphics: 5/10 As far as I can tell, there is a background plane and the sprites on top of it and no other independently scrolling backgrounds. I can't explain it as well as Joe could, but there you go. It's usually better not to have a lot going on in the background of a shooter, because these can provide distractions if you suck at shooters like I do, so I assume that the developer must have been catering to my tastes and changed it at the last moment to suit them. Points for that. However, there is a really strange scaling effect that attempts to simulate the earth's curve when playing on a vertical stage. It's an interesting concept, but executed rather poorly and gives the whole game a rather... "cheap" feel to it, if that makes sense. Sprites are nice sized, but are nothing special. The enemies are uninspired and they leave me with one question-- why is there always a fire dragon in every game with a lava stage?

This looks like the first stage. What can I say? Bland!

Sound: 7/10 I really like the music in this game. I like it so much, in fact, that I'm working on a piano remix of the third stage's music (which I think is the city one). Here's the way I see it. Axelay has below average music for the shooter genre, but above average music for games in general. So there you are. Most of it is very space-age and dramatic, like every level is the most important thing you've ever done in your life. It might lead to some sweaty palms if it gets to you easily.
The sound effects are an interesting bunch. After equipping your ship with weapons pre-mission, a man's vocie will say something like...great. Now I forgot. Okay, I think he says, "Weapon process loaded, good luck!" or something equally worthless. Anyway, for the first few missions, I was sure he was saying "good night!" and I just couldn't figure out why. Anyway, sometimes if you kill enemies too damn fast for your own good (which I did, of course) the explosions won't sync up with the animation. This is pretty much the same on any game in that generation, so I didn't count off for it. Good night!

Be sure to check out Prozax's OC Remix of the first stage's music at .

This is one of the horizontal levels. It's hella hard, if I remember correctly. Which I do, of course. And by hard, I mean hard for you.

Gameplay: 7/10 Unlike most of the shooters that I've played (which isn't many) there aren't any floating power-ups in Axelay, which both limits and strengthens the gameplay in several respects. One way it limits it is that there really isn't much reward for staying alive, aside from the obvious not wanting to die thing. In power-up shooters, you get steadily more powerful and then lose it all when you take a hit. That's what makes Axelay better. Since you don't lose anything when you die, you can continue without being terribly weakened.
At the beginning of every level, you can choose from many weapons, of which you can pick three to equip to your ship. Every time you complete a stage, you get a new weapon to choose on the next one, for a total of nine (?). You begin with three. You do the math. Finding the right combination of weapons for any given stage is a fun challenge and can lead to some creative combos. Just don't underestimate the power of the Macro Missle, because it kills so much face it isn't even close to being a laughing matter.
Instead of dying in a single hit like in a lot of the games of this genre, you only die in one hit if you run into terrain or directly into an enemy ship. It will take four projectile shots from an enemy to lose one life. Each of the first hits will disarm a weapon and the final one will kill you in a burning, fiery death suitable to someone of your gaming calibur.

Story: 0/10 Unreviewed purely because it wouldn't be fair. There's no real story to this game and it doesn't pretend to have one.

Overall: 7/10 Freak, man! Go buy Axelay right now! Not only is it fun, but if you curse loud enough after dying on level 6's boss, the hot chick from next door might even come over to see what's wrong! Then she'll get so engrossed by Axelay that she'll start cussing too. Plus it only runs around $10, so you're wasting your time every second you aren't buying it. Be warned though, you'll have to go through a few of the stages multiple times before you get the patterns down and learn how to properly not suck.

Last edited by Xander; 04-20-2006 at 10:33 PM.
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