Review by KasketDarkfyre

Reviewed: 12/27/01 | Updated: 12/27/01

One of the best....

Sometimes, when you think of good shooters on any system, most of them tend to fall between a pair of systems to the Nintendo and the Genesis simply because the action genre demands it. Like some sort of flaming destruction from Hell, Axelay smashes into the Super Nintendo Entertainment System and completely dominates whatever else you may find for that particular shooter genre on this age old system! The story line is pretty much the same as what you would find in any other shooter, in which you are charged with the defense of a civilization from the clutches of an overly evil and tyrannical alien force that is looking to enslave the populous. Alright, so the story line isn’t fresh, and the plot of the game is rather old, but in most shooter games, you're not looking for stories or plots, but just how much action you can pack into a single sitting, and Axelay delivers on all counts. Once you’ve started into the game, you’ll find that the much-toted visuals that the SNES has spoken about are featured in many different forms. Much of the game is played through not the standard overhead or side scrolling, but a combination of the two that also features some interesting wrapping stages that I haven’t seen before in another shooter title!

The game play has two different sections to it, both of which allow you to participate in both the side scrolling and the overhead views. The weapon feature of the game is a little different in Axelay, in which you don’t collect the weapons as you progress through the stages, but rather when you complete them and pick up a new weapon for use! This adds to the challenge and the overall variety because the game never truly allows you to use the same weapon combinations at all times, and you’ll find that the different ways that you can attack your enemies is a refreshing change of pace. The challenge of the game is something that most shooter fans will find to be at just the right level, while veterans may fly through the game, beginners may struggle in the later stages. When you consider the amount of stages, the challenge that the bosses feature and the different strategies that you have to use throughout the game, there really is some spectacular game play that can be found throughout Axelay, and it merely adds to the overall replay value of the game.

Control is always a good feature in shooters, but you’ll only find that the game moves near flawlessly through both of the different modes of play. Where you would have several selections of weapons and whatnot, this has been replaced by non-stop action in which your only job is to fire on whatever looks threatening! The ease of picking up the controller and playing through the game without having to learn anything that is too difficult or advanced will be a blessing for any beginner, but may be a bane for those of you who are looking for something more than the generic move and shoot tactics that rule the shooter genre. That is not to say that the control doesn’t require precision, because you’ll have to learn how to move through fields of enemy fire, and if you’re not careful, then you’ll end up going down in a blaze simply because you screwed yourself up.

Probably one of the most impressive features that Axelay brings to the table is that the game is so visually sound and overall astonishing, that you may find yourself dazzled by the different modes that you come across through your adventuring. The stages that you journey through are not just limited to the side scrolling feature, but also an overhead view, all of which allow you to see the detail, speed and color that Axelay has to offer! While the enemies are strictly your run of the mill mechanical baddies, you’ll find that the sheer size and imagination that went into the boss characters at the end of the stages is nothing short of amazing. When you place all of these things together, along with the wrap around three-dimensional stages, you’ll find that the game is truly ahead of its time on the Super Nintendo, and it is damned hard to find another game that matches the visual flare that this one brings out.

The audio features in Axelay are what you would hope for in a shooter, and almost fall along the lines of the Genesis Thunder Force series in which you have a superior bass line and some killer drum effects that follow you throughout most of the stages. You’ll find that some of the best music tracks that are found in the game, come with the different stages, such as the underwater stage in which you have this truly ghostly sounding track that immerses you into the action and theme of that particular stage! When you put together tracks and otherwise like this in a shooter game, you find that the sound effects tend to blend in flawlessly and unless you’re listening for them, you really can hear it. That same thought is true here, in which the sound effects really don’t come out too much unless you’re really listening for them, but all in all it blends together without much of a problem.

Axelay is one of the most amazing shooters that I’ve seen on the SNES, and with games that tote such amazing visuals, audio, control and overall game play, it’s really quite sad that the SNES didn’t do other things with the system! Once you’ve gotten into the game, and felt the addictive qualities that Axelay has to offer, you may find that there really isn’t much left for you to do, other than pick it up every once in a while when you need a quick fix. If you’re really into shooters for the SNES, you can’t get much better than this, but if you’re simply an action gamer that is looking for something truly unique in the game play department, then you may want to look elsewhere for your action game fix.

Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

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