Moby ID: 6637
SNES Specs
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Description official descriptions

This planet was once a quiet, peaceful place to live, until...they came...

An unknown alien race came to this planet and promptly laid waste to it. The remaining defense force has been sent out to try and defeat them. One lucky person gets to fly the latest line of defense ships made: the AX-77 Axelay. However, these ships are still in the prototype stage, and as such, only one exists.

So get out there and head to the alien's homeworld. With some luck, you may just be able to take them out at the source...

Axelay is a scrolling shoot-'em-up where some levels scroll vertically and others horizontally. The game is notable for its use of Super Nintendo's Mode 7. In vertically scrolling levels, the backgrounds are made entirely of Mode 7 graphics giving the playfield the illusion of depth.


  • アクスレイ - Japanese spelling
  • 엑서레이 - Korean spelling

Groups +



Credits (SNES version)

17 People (16 developers, 1 thanks)

Lead Programmer
Assistant Programmer
Support Programmer
Main Design
Character Design
Assistant Design
Assistant Support
Opening / Ending
Sound Programming
Effects / Ending
  • Äki
Art Design
Special Thanks
  • Kurokotai
Cover Artwork by



Average score: 84% (based on 23 ratings)


Average score: 3.7 out of 5 (based on 32 ratings with 1 reviews)

An underrated, revolutionary shoot-em-up.

The Good
Axelay was a game that used the SNES Mode 7 technology to produce content that is fairly unique to shooters, with 3rd-person perspective levels that allow the player to skim the surface of a moon or planetary atmosphere, to enemy bosses that feature dynamic, complicated attacks within the alternative 2-dimensional levels.

Notable in the gameplay department is the weapon selection--a player can select up to 3 different modes of attack that can be changed on the fly during play. This allows one to use different strategies against the various enemies one encounters throughout a particular level; while some opponents require a great deal of firepower at the expense of a faster rate of fire, others that work in concert to swarm the player can be dealt with using weapons that project their munitions in multiple directions.

Graphics are above average, with some smart applications of transparency and scaling.

Sound effects are the standard shooter fare; explosions, laser beams, and the like all come across like one would expect from a "shmup."

The Bad
If there's a knock against Axelay, it's the music. Nothing truly memorable comes to mind, where oftentimes the better shooters on the market tend to have distinctive soundtracks.

The Bottom Line
Axelay is a shooter that requires a little bit of brainpower, something that usually isn't even a consideration for the genre in general. If you've played the Gradius series of games (specifically LifeForce) then you'll be right at home here.

SNES · by keith jones (5) · 2002


1001 Video Games

The SNES version of Axelay appears in the book 1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die by General Editor Tony Mott.


Beating the game three times in a row on the hardest difficulty will give players a message after the credits roll the third time:


Konami never made the sequel, blaming it on "lackluster sales of Axelay".


Electronic Gaming Monthly

  • August 1992 (Issue 37) - Game of the Month
  • November 1997 (Issue 100) - ranked #91 (Best 100 Games of All Time)
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    • MobyGames ID: 6637
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    Contributors to this Entry

    Game added by Satoshi Kunsai.

    Wii U added by Michael Cassidy. Wii added by gamewarrior.

    Additional contributors: Alaka, monkeyislandgirl, Patrick Bregger, Rik Hideto, FatherJack.

    Game added June 7, 2002. Last modified January 6, 2024.