The Legendary Axe
Release Date: August 29, 1989
Developer: Victor Musical Industries
I’m pretty sure side-scrolling action platformers are going to be a staple of the TurboGrafx, because here’s another one with the Legendary Axe. You are the mighty warrior, Gogan, clad in a loincloth and sporting the titular Legendary Axe. The evil Jagu cult has taken your best friend Flare as their next human sacrifice. You’re not down with that idea so it’s a trek through six levels of action to save the girl!
Gogan jumps with Button I and swings his axe with Button II. Enemies come on screen and you need to attack them. On top of the screen, you see a power gauge. As the meter fills, the strength of your attack increases. At first, the size of the bar is very small, but by collecting Power Supply icons, the size of the bar increases. It begins filling very quickly, but slows down as it nears full power. When you get the last powerup and attack with full power, the screen pauses and flashes to sell the big hurt you just delivered.
Most items are found in idol statues scattered around the levels. These can also hold different strength life-recovery items. It can also hold the wing, which increases attack speed. This can help you strike quickly instead of hard. At one point, I found a key, which opened up a hidden area with treasure. These powerups are very important for your survival, and when you die, you lose a level of Power Supply.
Platforming is the main name of this game. You may see a rope that you need to catch in order to avoid an enemy or jump a gap. There may be small platforms with enemies jumping out of the water, looking to knock you into a pit. Plenty of enemies spawn just beyond jumps, looking to catch you off guard. Enemies appear on screen without any warning. The positive is that once you see it, you can remember what’s going to happen and plan accordingly.
Most enemies go down with the most powerful shot available at the time, though others take more than one hit. The jumping took a moment to get used to, as you’re more in control of Gogan’s jumps than just about anyone not named Mario. This can lead you to missing ledges, if you’re not prepared for said control. This isn’t the kind of game you’re going to be able to beat on your first try. You get four continues and can get more with a special set of button presses.
Zone 5 takes you into a maze that takes some real skill to navigate, as it loops around on itself if you go the wrong way. Bosses cap off every zone. They all take at least one life to understand their patterns, but you also have to get lucky even when you know how they’ll behave. The final boss was easier than I first understood. If you ignore trying to power up and just hack away, he doesn’t get the chance to attack very often, leading to a happy victory.
Sprites are a little grainy, but the graphics try to convey a lot of information and I appreciate it.
The songs are catchy and the sound effects aren’t bad.
Gogan controls well, though sometimes there seems to be just a bit of late reaction. It would also be nice if blocking was possible, as some enemies can.
This is a tough game for how short it is. You need to memorize what’s going to happen. You also only get two lives per continue, so you need to learn quickly.
Fun Factor: 3.0
It was fun enough that I wanted to beat the final boss and save the girl.
Overall Grade: 3.0
The Legendary Axe earns a B. I’d definitely say this is an above average game for what it is. It’s not great, but for a quick action platformer, it’s a good addition to the library.