Astyanax Review by: endingsIts not Link, but hes got a fairy who likes to talk. HEY, LISTEN!
This poor game. Its just middle of the road. The only thing that stands out about it, is its near unpronounceable name. What is Astyanax, you may ask? Is it infomercial oven cleaner? No, its a high-school kid. You thought you had it rough? Well, actually, other than no one can pronounce his name, he does seem to have things going on for him. He plays football, he is popular, and then he meets a fairy named CUTIE who needs your help to rescue a fantasy world princess. The princess is ROSEBUD and the bad guy is BLACKTHORN. Yeah, I'm not making that up. Whoever was in charge of names at Jaleco just kind of crazy here.
Astyanax is an action game where you get to use a small variety of weapons and spells to overcome the horizontal or vertical scrolling stages. At the end of each is a boss. While you get the choice between an ax, a spear thing, and a sword, honestly, I think I pretty much just beat the game with the ax. I rarely saw the need to change weapons.
The character models are big and bold, which is a nice change for a NES game, which tends to have tiny characters. Your hero is super beefy and most of the bosses are as well. The regular enemies bullets can be a little tough to see sometimes from the detailed backgrounds. After a couple of stages, you will move on to the next, which covers a wide variety of landscapes.
I went back and listened to all the tracks, and while I could remember some, none struck me as memorable in any way. Some like the boss music are foreboding and tense, the first stage is a bit rousing and cheery, but for the most part, its just... there.
Oh man, this game just wasn't fun for me all those years ago, and its not fun now. While your character model is big and impressive, the enemies repeat very often and offer little variety. Its just a slog to get to the boss, who at least will be something more than a palette swap.
Nothing very original here, other than bad names. Couldn't we just play a warrior already in Remlia? Did they have no knights left to defend Rosebud? What is so great about Remlia anyway? Cutie, couldn't you like, do something?
The variety of attacks you have is good, and the novel energy bar would go on to be used in many current generation games! As you swing your weapon, the meter depletes, so you end up with fast but weak strikes, or saving up for a slow, powerful hit. The stamina bar, you saw it here first (maybe? but probably not).
There are a lot of instant death pits in this game. While a decent brawler, Astyanax is a clunky jumper. You'll like the vertical stages that don't make too many demands of you. Aside from a few more difficult bosses and pits, this game is pretty easy.
Astyanax doesn't bring enough new to warrant a playthrough unless you want to see a fairy named Cutie. The energy bar is a great touch, but there's little else to recommend about this ho-hum action game with a unforgettable, funky title.