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Old 12-17-2004, 04:31 AM   #240
Joe Redifer
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Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Denver, Colorado
Posts: 20,149
Super Nintendo

Just another SNES box that
you probably threw away.
Damn you!

The SNES wasn't exactly known for its great shooters. Well, it couldn't have been... it simply didn't pack a fast enough CPU to pull off a great shooter. But that didn't stop a few companies from trying. One of the more notable efforts is definitely Konami's Axelay. Comprised of both overhead and side scrolling action (like Thunder Force 2, except you can only scroll up in the overhead stages), Axelay comes packed on an 8 megabit (1 megabyte) cartridge, but only uses a little over 6 megabits of memory. That's about a megabit per stage. Axelay ends up being the best shooter ever... for the SNES.

It's a giant turd! Don't touch!

Graphics: 8/10
Axelay pulls off just about every effect you can ask for... scaling, rotation, even scrolling! The overhead stages have a unique effect applied to the scrolling. As the imagery scrolls downward, it expands vertically, but not horizontally. It's sort of a 1-dimensional scaling effect since it only grows in one plane. It creates sort of a "curved" effect which is absolutely bizarre. When there are two layers of this going on, the bottom layer only resizes to a little over halfway down the screen, and then it just starts scrolling straight down without scaling. I'm not sure what I really think of this effect. It's not like things are coming from a distance, as there is zero perspective. It's more like it's being "unrolled" from a scroll. And since the SNES cannot scale sprites, the enemies do not grow larger as they "approach", making the effect even more strange looking. The only exception is when an enemy ship is actually a background layer. I'll give it points for uniqueness, but that's it. The rest of the graphics are very sharp, and the side scrolling stages are well drawn, detailed, and can feature up to 3 layers of scrolling at a time. Colors are very well used throughout the game, but there is some flicker and things do seem kind of small. There are a few bosses that have some cool designs, like the walking thingy of level 2, but its implementation is kind of jerky.

The benefits of these employees have
expired. Time to take them out!

These graphics here kind of
remind me of a Neo Geo game.

Sound: 8/10
There are two voices in the game. One that tries to make some sort of weird announcement as you approach the boss of any given stage that is unintelligible, and the voice that says "Arms installation is completed. Good Luck!" before each stage which sounds very real (no digitizing artifacts). On the music side of things you'll find that Souji Taro composed some fantastic tunes for the game, with a little help from M.C. Ada who did level 2's music which is apparently not original to this game. Wherever it's from, it rocks! The music gets pretty boring for the last 2 stages, however. And even stage 4's music gets old kind of quick. The sound effects are all fairly average. Explosions sound pretty flat, and just about every sound in the game has at least a small amount of the typical SNES reverb applied to it that I hate so much.

The fire dragon enemy from
the Gradius series makes a cameo!

Gameplay: 7/10
As mentioned earlier, there are overhead stages which scroll vertically and side scrolling stages as well. They alternate and there are only 6 stages. That's it. What is a bit unique about this game is that there are no power ups at all throughout the stages. You choose your weapons before the stage begins. After each stage you have a new weapon to chose from in one category. If you get hit by enemy fire, you loose the weapon you are using. Once you loose all 3 weapons you use the basic wimpy attack and then after that you die. You can also die if you touch an enemy directly no matter how many weapons you have left. It's a pretty good shooter, but some of the stages tend to drag on and get boring (especially stages 4 and 6). I keep thinking to myself "OK I'm bored. I'm ready for something to happen now... or at least change". Playing through the first few levels is always fun mainly due to the great music, but once you hit stage 4 there really is no reason to continue after a few minutes in there. I'm not sure if I preferred the overhead more than the side scrolling stages or vice-versa, but the pace is a bit slow on both modes. There is a TON of slowdown and it really interferes with the gameplay and detracts greatly from it. The SNES just can't handle games that require much, if any movement. It's as the same clock speed as the Sega Master System and trying to handle tons more information at once for Chris'sake! It's like trying to watch HDTV on the Game Gear... not the greatest idea. But given that, I'm impressed with what Konami was able to pull off here, and it remains a worthy game. It is fairly challenging, and once you beat it the game just repeats from stage 1 (minus the weapons you've acquired for some reason) even after you beat it on hard. There is a decent intro and ending to the game, and there is some sort of locket involved, but hell if I know what it's significance means. Oh well. I don't play games for the story. I play games to have fun. If I rated in decimals, the gameplay would get a 7.4 or so, as would the overall game. Remember, 5 is average for the system, 7 is definitely not bad!

It's the boss! Time to request a raise and some
vacation time. The boss disapproves, of course.
How he got promoted, I'll never know.

Wrap up:
Definitely the best shooter for the SNES, but certainly not as good as Genesis shooters like Thunder Force IV and Gaiares, etc.
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