Was there a better video game system for platforming then the NES back in the day? When games were games and you could be taken to those faraway lands and battle evil? Sure the sounds weren't great or the controls perfect but you still had a blast. Faxanadu is one of those games.
You play as an unnamed man who has returned home from traveling to see the town walls falling apart, the rivers running dry and trees dying. Speaking to the King, you learn that all is not well and monsters are coming from the source of the land's energy and corrupting it. Given money, you set out to right the wrongs by casting spells, battling monsters and searching for artifacts that will aid you on the journey.
Gameplay is basic. Jump, swing your sword, shoot magic, climb ladders and enter towns to buy items with gold and enter monster filled structures. Nothing new or that hasn't been done before. Monsters when defeated give you experience and sometimes gold or bread for health. Go into towns to refill health or magic points, buy keys, or new weapons, or even hear gossip as to what the monsters are doing.
Graphics are colorful and fill they're duty, though there are a lot of earthenware colors of brown, brown, green and brown. Some levels switch it up a bit. There is an atmosphere to the game though. The first levels in the world have an adventerous theme to them. The dank World of Mist, a fog covered land has a bleak beat to it and later music gets forboding and erie with the music matching. Sound effects are decent, but some sounds are annoying, like the high squeaking effect that is made when you attack a monster.
Controls are solid for the most part as far as moving your hero around and attacking monsters but jumping takes some getting used to and you need to start walking to build momentum to make some jumps, and misses can get annoying. The game does have it's cheap spots too where monsters can sometimes appear where you spawn on screen, or put in a position where it's hard to get past without getting hit.
Other times monsters if you try and dodge them can scamper after you, best to turn around and swing your sword at them. The only other quibble is that there really isn't a map for the game and you will hear townspeople talk of "The Tower of Trunk having a powerful treasure inside" Which tower is that? Some sections of the game, the World of Mist especially, have MANY places where you can get lost looking for where you are supposed to go.
Faxanadu is a game many have played but not many stuck with an short of an odd name, it's a fun game. When you get over the control issues, this is a solid game that offers lots of exploring and battling. Dust off that NES or buy on the Wii for a nice piece of classic adventure, just don't expect Olivia Newton John.
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