Athena (NES)

Athena Box Art


System: NES

Release Date: August 1987

Developer: Micronics

Publisher: SNK

Genre: Platformer

SNK put out a huge turd developed by Micronics back in May. Will Athena be just as bad? No. It’s not just as bad. It’s definitely better, but that doesn’t mean it’s good. You are Athena, the Goddess of Wisdom and you’re bored, so you decide to go on an adventure. The manual doesn’t say to what end, so I guess it’s adventure for adventure sake. I guess that follows Greek Mythology well.

Fighting the boss on the first level.

Athena platforms through several levels, finding weapons and power-ups along the way. She starts unarmed and must defeat enemies or break blocks to find weapons. Looking back at the manual, the control explanation is garbage. The B button doesn’t pick up weapons, you walk over weapons to pick them up. The B button smashes enemies. The A button isn’t used to dodge, it’s used to jump.

Using the powerful ball and chain weapon.

Athena can find a plethora of weapons from the enemies she defeats. You start off with billy clubs and hammers. Then you can find the ball and chain. There are multiple types of swords to wield. The bow and arrows allow for long range attacks at the expense of power. There’s even a magic stick which gives you magic firepower. Athena can also find helmets, armor, and shields to pump up her defense. Helmets also allow her to break blocks above with her head.

Look at those sweet Pegasus Wings!

The game follows a pattern of walk to the right, kill enemies, smash blocks, and navigate to a boss. Sometimes you get to what you think is the end of the level only to be deposited back at the beginning. Looks like you picked the wrong path. Try again! In the water level, Athena can find a shell necklace that turns her into a mermaid, which is helpful for swimming. She can also find a Pegasus Wing, which gives her the ability to fly.

Athena has transformed into a mermaid.

Just some warnings, if you get the flame sword, it will knock off your hit points every time you swing it, which can be confusing until you figure that out. You also want to avoid collecting skull items, as they strip your armor away from you, which also sucks. There are also red vases, which contain poison and count your hit points down if you collect one.

Graphics: 2.0

The graphics are fine. Sprites are big and fairly detailed. Backgrounds are there and not horrible to walk in front of.

Sound: 1.0

The music is more miss than hit and the sound effects can be shrill.

Gameplay: 2.0

I mean, it works, I guess. You have to learn which weapons don’t break bricks and prepare accordingly.

Difficulty: 2.0

You can probably get through this one without too much trouble, but I didn’t go past level three of eight.

Fun Factor: 1.5

It’s funish. I would probably give it another look if I had the time.

Overall Grade: 1.7

Athena gets a C-. Micronics did way better with this one, but it’s going to take a lot to get the stink of Ikari Warriors off them.

Athena Video Review on YouTube