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Written by  :  keith jones (5)
Written on  :  Aug 19, 2002
Platform  :  SNES

4 out of 6 people found this review helpful

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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.