Launch games are basically laughed at now before they are even released. As soon as a launch game is announced prior to a consoles release the internet is already buzzing with “LOL Launch game” and other snark. Usually these games get ignored and ripped apart in reviews. Luckily, back when I was a kid in the 80’s launch games were celebrated. The 80’s and 90’s had some of the best launch games in my opinion. Super Mario Bros. is one of the most revolutionary games ever created and it was a launch game for the NES. Sonic the Hedgehog blew everyone’s minds with its “Blast processing’ and colorful graphics. Well it just so happens the next game I chose to review was one of the TurboGrafx-16’s launch titles, The Legendary Axe.
You play as Gogan who sets out to rescue his friend Flare. She was selected by the Cult of Jagu to use her as a sacrifice to the almighty Jagu. Gogan was out studying warfare and once he learns of Flares kidnapping he of course must rescue her. Now that we have the ever important set up, we can play the game! The Legendary Axe is an action-adventure platformer with simple controls. You have a jump and attack button. It controls pretty good… .well platforming can be tricky, but once you adjust to the physics you’ll soon have it down. Gogan, for some odd reason reminds me of Brandon Fraser in Encino Man only Gogan is rockin’ red dread locks.
You attack with an axe of course. There is no fancy axe swinging here, just one short, forward swing. You can’t aim up but you can duck down and swing. This comes in handy when you fight bigger creatures like the golems. There are power ups to make your attack stronger. The long bar at the top of the screen represents your axe’s power. At first the bar is empty but as you collect power ups, it will grow. When you attack the meter drops but will refill if you’re not attacking. The higher the meter the stronger your attack is.
There are only six zones in the game and each zone has two acts. The levels are your typical platformer levels. Caves, jungles, and ice levels etc. The enemies are even more generic. Giant spiders and bugs. Oh and you can’t forget such classics as bats!! Members of the Jagu cult will appear throughout levels and are basically mutated caveman-pumpkin heads. They are quickly disposed of as are most enemies in Legendary Axe.
The boss fights are humorous in the “I’m a big bad man fighting nature” way. Not only do you fight two, I repeat, two grizzly bears at once but one boss encounter is actually two big boulders! I was actually laughing that the creators thought two boulders simply rolling back and forth would make a great boss fight. The giant, fuzzy, floating- purple eyes boss fight in Zone 3B gave me trouble and sadly I could not continue on with the game.
For a launch title The Legendary Axe delivers. Sure it’s no Sonic or Mario but the cheesy action will make you feel manly. Like a man of the land taking on nature. The graphics are nice but nothing special. Same with the music. The controls are easy to learn thus resulting in a nice experience. With some patience you’ll soon master the levels. If I stuck with it more I’m sure I could take down the boss on 3B but I’ll be honest, I rage quit. Perhaps you have the skills and patience to take down the Jagu Cult and rescue Flare!
- easy to learn controls
- nice graphics and some interesting boss fights
- epic grizzly fights
- limited attack