Axe me no questions

I’m sure a bunch of people are going to scream at me for thumbs-downing Axelay in the latest Retro Roundup… and honestly, I’m a bit surprised myself. When I heard it was on its way to Virtual Console last night, I dug up my copy and played a bit of it in anticipation. I was promptly stunned by how poorly it holds up compared to a whole lot of other shooters already available on VC. I mean, yeah, sure, the pseudo-3D effect is still pretty cool, but it’s easy to see through the chicanery now that we have years of true 3D as a reference for comparison. Mode 7 makes for a pretty thin visual veneer these days, and when the underlying gameplay isn’t all that great, what’s the point?

I’m embarrassed to admit my affection for the game was entirely based on its graphics. I now make amends by means of a thumb pointing downwards against a field of angry red.

Also, to everyone who sent me money via PayPal for my spring cleaning project, I will be mailing your goods in the next couple of days. I just need to round up enough boxes, basically.

17 thoughts on “Axe me no questions

  1. Funny, I rented it when it first came out, and I didn’t like it for the gameplay. The game was fine, but most of the weapons were like rejects from good shooters. Imagine how much I would hate it if I played it now that overhead levels are considered fugly.

  2. You know, I was getting ready to be one of those screamers for your thumbs-down of Axelay, probably my most played SNES shooter, but revisiting it these days, man you’re right, it just doesn’t hold up. I found the soundtrack quite good, though, and would recommend it if there weren’t already 68,000 Turbo Grafx shooters already on the VC.

    I’ll give a slight thumbs up the Blue’s Journey, though.

  3. I don’t even have words to express my frustration at this thumbs down.

    I may be half joking, but I’d hardly call Axelay sluggish. As far as “gimmicky” weapons go, there may be a couple (I’m looking at you, gun that rotates backwards in an awkward fashion), but keep in mind that this IS a Treasure game deep down. This also explains how it ended up such a technical showcase, Alien Soldier style.

    Now is the time to set the 65836 heart on fire.

  4. Heh, I was way ahead of the curve on this one! I never liked Axelay. It was more frustrating than it really needed to be, and those “amazing” graphics just look like the backgrounds were painted on a roll of toilet paper. For my money, Space Megaforce was a much, much better game.

  5. Yeah, I downloaded Axelay’s soundtrack about a week ago and listened to it randomly on the train. I was surprised by how good it was — it sounded better than most SNES soundtracks, and really only that goofy slap bass gave away its origins.

    Really, both Axelay and Blue’s would be sideways thumbs if our system weren’t binary. They’re take-it-or-leave-it games, the sort of games whose ratings are pretty much a toss of the coin. I actually do enjoy Blue’s, but I’d much rather play a real Monster World game than such a try-hard copy.

  6. I played Axelay for the first time a few years ago, and couldn’t really see the appeal. Meanwhile, the effects in some other games like Contra Hard Corps have still retained their quality.

  7. Yeah, Parish, are you on drugs or something? Just because you haven’t aged well and have the reflexes of a 100 year old alzeheimer’s patient doesn’t mean Axelay is not good anymore. There still are competent gamers, you know.

  8. …But…But I mastered Axelay, and this was after the SNES era. Axelay isn’t just about graphics! What about the incredible bosses? What about the varied side-scrolling levels? What about the weapons that are actually useful? You’re just not a big fan of shmups to appriciate Axelay for its merits…

  9. Oddly enough the only real use of Mode 7 in the game is the second level boss. Everyone always assumes the vertical levels use it, but it’s really a different graphic effect.

  10. …And by “after the SNES era”, I meant currently. I couldn’t get enough of games like Einhander and Axelay so I had to play these games by any necessary means.

    And to think I would trust you as to not judge a game soley by its presentations. I can’t believe you would get the wrong message in Axelay when Halo apparently superfluous superficiality with nerdy storylines and such. There are many shooters out there with far touchier hitboxes out there, and poorer execution of “3D” at that. Axelay isn’t one of them, and while it may have had problems, it wasn’t enough to spoil the rest of the fun, and once you get around those, the core gameplay truly shows. The pacing and the fine balance between “hard” and “frustrating” tightrope it had to walk is one similarly displayed by games like Magician Lord.

  11. Oh btw, you need to go back to what you were using to convert the images to GIF on the previous updates because on this update the images look awfully grainy :{

  12. Phudman:
    What does it use if not mode 7? Would it be ray-tracing, or some kind of raster effect? Is it the same as the floor in Street Fighter 2? or is it like ther airship in FF3/6, which seemed to distort things differently than in Secret of Mana? Not arguing, just curious.

  13. The 1st level is not all that good, admittedly. After that though the game really begins to show its worth. I almost wrote it off in the 1st five minutes… I’m glad I didn’t. In spite of Jeremy’s thumbs down, I suggest anyone who likes ‘shmups’ to try it out. I think you’ll like it. (*Thumbs UP from me)

  14. “…but keep in mind that this IS a Treasure game deep down.”

    Actually, it’s not. Only one staff member who later went on to Treasure worked on Axelay (and is credited for “support program”). Have a look at SFKosmo’s Axelay page for the details.

  15. Staff or not, metaphysically speaking, it’s very Treasure-y in look, feel, and design.

    Search your feelings. You know it to be true.

  16. I fucking hate it when you take on a sacred cow and have the temerity to be totally right about it all. Why don’t you just shut up?

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