So i went to Japan and finally got my PC Engine Duo-R system i so longed for, so what can be more appropriate than to check out and review one of the systems lunch titles? Well, Legendary Axe actually a launch title for the American version (Turbografx16) and i have to say it looked really good at first sight and it seemed to have a Castlevania-ish gameplay. Plus, the Happy Console Gamer(Johnny Millennium) recommended it so i decided to give it a go.
You play this axe wielding cave man who has to save his girlfriend from some stone age beast king. A pretty basic premise yes, but a unique setting nonetheless. I was thinking about this and the Bonk series and thought to myself “What’s the deal with the Turbografx and cavemen?”. Well, this setting works for me but that is not the best thing about the game. The gameplay is super tight also.
You only jump and hit basically but the controls are super responsive and you control your caveman like a dream. You can control yourself in the air freely not like in Castlevania were the level of commitment to the direction you jump in is so high that “you have to get an engagement ring for your jump”.
So various enemies come and try to cut you down but you won’t let them! Cut them down with your axe, not that much to it but later on in the game you get power ups and you notice that there is a power bar on the top of the screen that indicates the power of your next attack and if you attack it depletes and have to wait for it to fill up again. This has never worked for me until now. I hated it in Secret of Mana where i thought it was kind of broken but in The Legendary Axe it really makes you think about your attacks and makes you maybe save up for that one big attack instead of jump mashing away at the enemies. Really cool feature.
Now what makes this game even more like Castlevania is the difficulty of this game.Holy hell this game really makes you work to get through it. There are a lot of pits, annoying enemies that make you fall down pits and just long grueling sections were you fight and fight without getting extra health with very little room for error.There are some tough bosses, some not so tough but most of them are a pretty fun challenge. But like i have said before that is what makes clearing the game so much more satisfying. The joy when the final boss goes down….Nothing compares to it.
What makes this even more difficult than some of the Caslevanias is that you have limited 3 continues. Each continue comes with 3 lives and you can find some extra lives by getting your score up but man… They really wanted this one to last… And it did! It took me a while to finish this one and it will take you more than a few playthroughs.
The game is released in 1988, an early Turbografx game and it looks really good especially when compared to the games that were coming out on the NES at the same time.The sprites are big and clear,backgrounds look good and all movements are smooth.
I loves the soundtrack of this game, it is kinda jazzy but it does not venture too far from typical action adventure music of the time. It is kind of difficult to capture the stone age feel in music but if the stone age genre exists there are some tunes in there that would fit well in that category.
And a longplay from our pals at World of Longplays
All in all The Legendary Axe is an awesome game and until now one of my favorite Turbografx16/PCEngine game. This one definitely should have been the pack in game for the system instead of Keith Courage, clearly the superior game.
The Legendary Axe is a simple action platformer, but it has it all and scores high in all categories. The only sad thing is that the game is kind of hard to reach if you don’t have a Turbografx/PCEngine. It never came out on the Virtual Console so if you get desperate you might have to emulate it although i would never recommend it unless you don’t want to deal with the high difficulty of the game. But whatever you do and however you play it should not matter that much though and I’m sure you would enjoy the game regardless of how you play it
Lasting appeal 9
Is it fun? 9
Overall a 9 an awesome game!
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