Monday, January 6, 2014

Nerdicus NES Review #47 : Astynax

Title : Astynax

Publisher : Jaleco

Genre : Action Adventure Platformer

Players : 1 Player

Release Date : 1990

Estimated Value (as of today's date) : $3-$5

Only in Astyanax does a 16 year old kid turn into a barbaric warrior with a fairy named CUTIE as a side kick. Not a joke. The fairy is called Cutie. At least she doesn't irritate the hell out of you with incessant "HEY, LISTEN!"'s Oh, but it gets better. You also have to rescue the Princess Rosebud. Okay, that's not so bad. But how about the name of your axe. Yes, you heard me right. Your axe is named BASH.

I can only sit here and blink. Who the heck in the translation department thought up of those names?! Were they just sitting in a room, drunk out of their minds throwing out random gibberish? Why not name the axe VANQUISHER? Why BASH?!

Ugh - anyway, sorry for my rant. This game was ported from an old Japanese arcade side-scrolling classic, which doesn't have any of the idiotic back story that the American NES version has. I remember being lucky enough to play the Arcade not too long ago at an arcade revival event and loved it. So how does the NES version hold up? Let's find out.

Much like the arcade version, you're hacking and slashing your way through each side-scrolling level while collecting power ups for your weapon (which could change into a spear or a sword), as well as getting  new magical spells that you can cast by hitting up and the B button at the same time. You'll also run into the typical health boosts and power boosts, but that's a given in these type of games.

Now this game is far from easy. In fact, it's pretty damn difficult. Compared to some other side-scrollers, the gameplay feels a little slow and clunky. The way you move your character across the screen is at a crawl, but the enemies are moving at twice the speed you are.

Another irritating quirk about enemies? They tend to respawn if you trigger them by walking back and forth on the screen. It's pretty irritating spending a minute or so trying to kill a flying eyeball, only to have it respawn because you walked too far.

To make matters even worse, you have a power gauge that is depleted every time you swing your weapon. This may not seem like a big deal since you can just stop swinging and wait for it to recover, but just knowing the fact that you could waste a powerful swing on missing an enemy is damn frustrating.

Word of advice when pit jumping. NEVER JUST JUMP THE PIT WITHOUT CREEPING TOWARDS THE EDGE. There's a HUGE chance that on the other side is a monster waiting to spawn and knock you down into the depths of hell. Trust me.

Despite it's short comings, there are a lot of things I absolutely love about this game. Visually it's pretty impressive and I love the details put into the background as well as the characters on the screen. Oh, and the "anime-esque" cut scenes are priceless. Feels like I'm watching an 80's anime as I play this game. Which is a good thing!

The music is also incredibly well done and pretty damn catchy. I found myself bobbing my head to the rhythm numerous times. Maybe I was just too hyped up on caffeine, but still, I'll give credit where it's due.

In all seriousness, this game deserves a spot in any NES collector's library. It's wonky at times, but rewarding in the end if you can manage to beat it. And if you do decide to play it, tell Cutie I said hello.

Final Score (out of 5) :

Until next time. Keep on gaming!



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