Review by BCD
"A decent action adventure, even with its flaws."
Faxanadu is a rather unknown action adventure game similar to the Metroid games but with more RPG elements. Basically you play as an elf how has returned home from a journey to discover his homeland has been suffering form a shortage of water due to the dwarves draining their wells and fountains who wants to do something about it. The game has its faults but it is fun as you play through it.
There is not much to this game’s story except what I have mentioned earlier. There is no character development at all to make it more interesting either. There are no main characters at all except from the hero, who doesn’t say a word except at the very beginning. No other character appears for more than a minute or two in the game and they usually only have one or two, often poorly translated, lines for the entire game. But at least the story had a better concept than most games at the time even if the result did not turn out as well as could have been.
The graphics for this game are typical for most of the games of its time. It does have its high points though. The world looks like it is dying for water. The misty area however, with its dark and dreary atmosphere looks the best though. It makes the area even creepier and the shifting mist is one of the best background effects I have seen in an NES game. Other than that, the rest of the graphics are just average.
The background music tends to fit the mood very well throughout the course of the entire game. The sound effects on the other hand are not that great. They just sound strange and annoying. For example, the sound made from hitting and enemy with your sword is just an annoying screech that you have to hear for the entire game, making it worse. If it were not for the decent background music, you would likely just hit the mute button when you play the game.
The gameplay is linear and very repetitive. You spend most of your time traveling across the land slashing enemies with your sword or any spells you have at the time as you go from place to place to gather key items to advance further into your quest. As you progress, you will visit several towns where you can purchase weapons and armor, keys to unlock doors, and healing items. You can also talk to gurus to get a password to enter, which you use to save your progress so you can player later. Gurus also promote you when you earn enough experience points from defeating enemies to achieve the next rank. However, even though there are different ranks and such, they have not real purpose in the game other than to look good so it is possible to play through the whole game as a “novice,” the rank you start at, and it will not make a difference to you. Yet even with its flaws it still happens to be very fun. There are various enemies throughout the entire game that can be a challenge at times, many of which you will need to develop your own strategies to defeat many of them. This is definitely true later in the game when you often cannot just charge at some of them like you can early on. Of course once you have a successful strategy, it becomes old rather fast.
Replay value: 2/10
As similar at the game may play and appear similar to Castlevania II or even Metroid at first, Faxanadu is rather linear so there is not much else to do once you have completed the game. You have just about seen everything this game has to offer once you have reached the end.
Lasting appeal: 4/10
Despite the limited replay value, the first time through the game is very fun and will keep you playing until the end. However once you have beaten the game, you may never want to play it again for a long time.
With a so-so story, linear gameplay, annoying sound effects, and lots of repetitiveness you may wonder why I gave Faxanadu such a high score overall. The graphics for some areas, good background music, and the challenges the enemies and obstacles provide will more than make up for the game’s faults to be played all the way through at least once. You will certainly enjoy playing through it the first time. However, don’t expect much more if you want play through it again.
Reviewer's Score: 7/10 | Originally Posted: 10/20/03, Updated 10/21/03
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