Review by PUhler

Reviewed: 11/24/00 | Updated: 01/11/01

Warning: Excessive Mode 7 Effects May Dizzy Small children!

A meeting with the greatest shooter in SNES history.

Me: So, we finally meet.
Axelay: Yes....
Me: I hear you're the greatest SNES shmup ever.
Axelay: You heard right...
Me: Well, maybe you attained such a title because of the pathetic crop of SNES shooters, including the legendarily bad UN Squadron.
Axelay:...And?
Me: Well maybe it's just because you had no competition that you garner such praise.
Axelay:...
Me: I think that's probably it...
Axelay: Enough talk! Savor my Mode 7, boy! ::The room starts to spin::
Me: ::In zombie-like state:: Mmmmm... Axelay good...

''Look at all the pretty colors!''

Axelay is un-deniably a beautiful game. It's that simple. It has rich, vibrant colors, large, detailed bosses (though the 5th boss suffers from some dithering and flicker), and enough Mode 7 to over-load your brain. Axelay was a veritable work of art for it's time, an excellent title to show off what the SNES was capable of. The music is pretty good also, especially the 2nd stage music. Axelay is overall rippin' on a superficial level. There are problems, however...

''Not enough to do.''

That sums up Axelay perfectly. There is simply not enough to do. It seems Treasure tried to please both shooter camps: The reflex intensive, adrenaline junky crowd, the guys that prefer over-the-top arcade style vertically-scrolling shmups, and the horizontal-scrolling crowd, who prefer more thinking then reflexes. I fit firmly into the first camp. I just love the joy of blowing up everything in sight, the sheer bliss of weaving through a seemingly impossible to dodge barrage of bullets. Axelay tries to please both camps, with levels 1, 3 and 5 vertical scrolling, and levels 2, 4, and 6 horizontal scrolling. Couple this with the incredibly cool bosses (this is Treasure, what do you expect?), and the creative weapon lay-out (you choose between each mission which 3 weapons you'll be using for that mission), you have a recipe for success, right? Well, on paper you do, but it doesn't work out the way it was planned.
There simply isn't enough to do. The vertical-scrolling levels lack the needed amount of enemies and bullets that you would expect to find in any vertical-scrolling shmup worth it's salt, and the horizontal-scrolling levels are simply no fun. The weapon system is also flawed, because there are basically only 3 useful weapons in the whole game. Even in cases where certain weapons are designed for that level, they still hurt you more than help you, and you end up sticking with the same certain 3 weapons the whole game (I'm not telling which ones they are!).

''The Derrick Coleman of shooters.''

By that I mean Axelay had the potential to go places, but since Treasure had to divide their attention into 2 different kinds of games, they lost their focus and stumbled. It's a great idea on paper, but trying to please both shooter camps was simply too ambitious. It's a good game, yes, but simply falls short...

Rating:   3.5 - Good

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