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Not so legendary

Emerald Rocker
 
Posts: 9
Joined: Mon Feb 09, 2015 9:08 pm

Not so legendary

Postby Emerald Rocker » Tue Feb 10, 2015 9:16 pm

Legendary Axe was one of the first releases for the TurboGrafx, a competent hack-and-slash platformer that was intended to be an improvement over the typical 8-bit NES action-game fare. Take charge of the heroic caveman GOGAN, heft your mighty axe, and set forth into the woods to tear some demons and butterflies apart. Axe proves that the "caveman concept" is a viable premise. However, it still suffers from several drawbacks that bar it from classic status.

Like the typical left-to-right platformer, loincloth-clad hero Gogan runs and jumps through lush scenery while fending off legions of enemies. The landscapes, be they vivid green jungles, blue-streaked rivers, or glowing red caverns, are colorful -- however, the backgrounds are formed from tile patterns (similar to old RPG's like Dragon Warrior and Final Fantasy), which is the wrong way to do backgrounds. Furthermore, since there's no parallax, there's little sense of depth -- especially when compared to later 16-bit titles.

Also worth noting is that the story revolves around a "damsel in distress", which offends me.

There are moments of cheapness scattered about. For example, the Punjabbi (shield-bearing, spear-wielding giants). Their thrown spears can be ducked, but if they decide to poke their pointy sticks at you... SORRY! You get hit and lose a lot of life! The fight against two of them, while exciting, isn't even remotely fair -- as you're trying to recharge your Axe Gauge to get a second hit against the behemoth on the right, the guy from the left will creep right up on your ass. And then you're screwed! It's a situation where the only consistent way to win... is to try again and hope that this time, the terrible twins won't crowd you to death. They should have given Gogan the ability to perform evasive rolls.

Towards the end of the game, be it dispatching multiple bouncing monkey-men (shake one off only to have another latch onto your back) or dealing with rooms of poking Punjabbi, much of your success is dependent more on luck than on any self-imposed sense of timing. There are several instances of annoying, frustrating gameplay in Legendary Axe, from aggravating "Jungle Hunt" rope swinging, to the Castlevania-style bouncebacks (into pits) when you get hit -- except that Axe will also sometimes knock you forwards. Into a pit.

Holding the game back further is its simplistic level structure. Most of the stages are more straightforward and more easily managed than what you'd find in Ninja Gaiden or the Mega Man games. The instruction manual proudly proclaims "find keys to open secret areas!" There's exactly one key in the game -- it's a one-shot secret in the third level. That's a nice inclusion, but when a game already has several foibles, it needs more coolness than such a minimal "secret" to establish itself as worthwhile amongst the hundreds of platformers available today.
 

DragonmasterDan
 
Posts: 2
Joined: Sat Sep 28, 2013 8:47 pm

Re: Not so legendary

Postby DragonmasterDan » Thu Feb 12, 2015 10:12 am

Emerald Rocker wrote:
Also worth noting is that the story revolves around a "damsel in distress", which offends me.


This is one of the common tropes of video games, movies, comic books, everything. I'm not sure why you would be genuinely offended by it. If there was a game about cops rescuing sex slaves would you be as offended by that?

There are moments of cheapness scattered about. For example, the Punjabbi (shield-bearing, spear-wielding giants). Their thrown spears can be ducked, but if they decide to poke their pointy sticks at you... SORRY! You get hit and lose a lot of life! The fight against two of them, while exciting, isn't even remotely fair -- as you're trying to recharge your Axe Gauge to get a second hit against the behemoth on the right, the guy from the left will creep right up on your ass. And then you're screwed! It's a situation where the only consistent way to win... is to try again and hope that this time, the terrible twins won't crowd you to death. They should have given Gogan the ability to perform evasive rolls.


The trick is to get both of them on the right side, usually one hangs towards the center of the screen and the other on the far side. When one comes at you hit it with as much of a charge as you can. Are you likely to take some unnecessary damage. Sure, but that's the status quo for platform action games from the late 80s.

Holding the game back further is its simplistic level structure. Most of the stages are more straightforward and more easily managed than what you'd find in Ninja Gaiden or the Mega Man games. The instruction manual proudly proclaims "find keys to open secret areas!" There's exactly one key in the game -- it's a one-shot secret in the third level. That's a nice inclusion, but when a game already has several foibles, it needs more coolness than such a minimal "secret" to establish itself as worthwhile amongst the hundreds of platformers available today.


I'll agree it hasn't aged well but putting its release in 1989 in the US into context. Only Ninja Gaiden 1 was available in the US. Castlevania III hadn't come out yet. For the type of game it was, it was among the best in the time it was released.
 

Rhomaios
 
Posts: 4
Joined: Sat Jul 05, 2014 10:24 am

Re: Not so legendary

Postby Rhomaios » Sun Feb 15, 2015 12:49 pm

Between being "offended" by rescuing someone and hating on Blazing Lazers, this is clearly a troll.
 

Emerald Rocker
 
Posts: 9
Joined: Mon Feb 09, 2015 9:08 pm

Re: Not so legendary

Postby Emerald Rocker » Mon Feb 16, 2015 1:47 am

Haha, I admit the line about being offended was a joke. The rest of the text is how I really felt when I played the game ten or so years ago, although Dragonmaster Dan brought up some valid counterpoints. The advice about the Punjabis in particular is something that I'll have to try the next time I play.

I honestly didn't care for Blazing Lazers. The Compile vertical shooter totem pole goes something like this:

1. Robo Aleste
2. Spriggan
3. Sylphia
4. MUSHA
5. Gun Nac
6. Blazing Lazers
7. Space Megaforce
 

Rhomaios
 
Posts: 4
Joined: Sat Jul 05, 2014 10:24 am

Re: Not so legendary

Postby Rhomaios » Wed Feb 18, 2015 8:01 am

Emerald Rocker wrote:Haha, I admit the line about being offended was a joke.

That was obvious, just some good-natured ribbing. :mrgreen:

There's not really a dispute about the substance of what you said: lack of secrets, straightforward platforming on the easy side (at least the first couple of zones, it did pick up further on in the game), annoying bounce backs, but I still find the game full of charm and like it. I like the artwork, and a tromp through it is fun rather than difficult, not unlike Sonic, if a comparison can be made. The music is great, and the platforming isn't so hard like the end of Ninja Gaiden nor is it so easy that you won't die attempting them.

Hm, now I want to play some Legendary Axe.
 


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