Thursday, May 8, 2014

Nerdicus SNES Review #18 : Axelay



Title : Axelay

Publisher : Konami

Genre : Scrolling Shooter

Players : 1 Player

Release Date : 1992

Estimated Value (as of today's date) : $35-$40

There's something mindlessly satisfying about a scrolling screen, massive explosions, and a huge array of weapons. So what are you in the mood for? A side-scrolling shooter, or a vertical shooter? Oh, what's that? You want to play both? Well you're in luck, because have I got the shooter for you thanks to the brilliant minds over at Konami.

Konami, to me anyway, was the king of scrolling shooter games. After all, they were the creators of the famed GRADIUS series, which is by far one of the greatest, if not THE greatest scrolling shooter ever devised. I'm willing to open up on debate regarding that though, but I shall prove you wrong!

So why limit yourself to one brand of shooter. Konami said "screw you" to the idea, and basically merged the two to create a semi-masterpiece. Enter a hybrid vertical / side-scrolling shooter, and one that remains to this day one of the most creative.

AXELAY for the SNES.


You've got a lot of the typical shooter elements incorporated into Axelay, so I won't be talking about those much. Instead I want to focus on some of the things that really make Axelay stand out from the rest of the shooter crowd. 

First off, the game alternates between side-scrolling levels, and vertical-scrolling levels. It does offer enough of variety that you are pretty much forced to adjust your play style based on the level. It's a very effective way of keeping you engaged throughout your play-through, as it removes the monotony of encountering the same stage type over and over again. 

It does help that you'll also see a huge array of visual differences between levels. I'm serious when I say that these are some of the best level designs you'll get to see in a shooter. The creativity and graphical prowess that is in this game is downright stunning. In terms of "impressiveness", I'd prefer most of the game to have the visuals of the vertical scrolling, because those are far superior than the side-scrolling. You can't win em all though.

Mode 7 for the win, am I right?




So what if you have to face off against the robotic guard from Robocop. Seriously, tell me that's not the same thing. Who cares, it's awesome.

Another difference that stands out, is that instead of collecting power-ups throughout a level, you are rewarded with weapon upgrades which can come in the form of your main laser, your missile, or your bombs. At the beginning of each stage you can customize your weapon load out to your own particular tastes, but also how you feel might be most effective based on the level. 

It does give a sense of variety to how you can play each level, because at least you aren't blowing up your enemies the same way over and over again. Adds to a little bit of replay value, and this game needs it considering it's so short. There's only 6 stages...bummer.


This game ultimately has a few hits and misses. The creativity behind the level design and switching between vertical and side-scrolling definitely has it perks. However, you've got some really limited design elements going on in the side-scrolling, and it's a shame you only have the chance to play 3 of each stage. 

But, the game is still stunning to look, and the audio / music is superior to other games of this nature. I can't stress how important sound is to games, and I can't wait to write up an article on it. 

All in all, it's a good shooter, and if you're a fan of said shooters, you are going to enjoy this one without a doubt. And if you can't find a copy for the SNES, fear not, this bad boy is on the virtual console.

Final Score (out of 5) :


Until next time, keep on gaming!

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