Review by Ofisil
Zelda 2 Beta Version
Faxanadu is an Action\RPG developed by Falcom and released by Hudson. Faxanadus name actually comes from Xanadu an old game of the Dragon Slayer series, so we have Famicom, (NES), and Xanadu = Faxanadu. Many consider this game a classic and Ive got to admit that I wonder why
Ive found it very boring and badly designed, let me explain why
Ok, do you know many NES games that have a good plot? Nooo, but I also know that most NES games dont even try to have a plot. You open the manual and read, You are insert name here- and you must save the World\Princess from the evil insert bad guy name here- and that whole thing means, THERE IS NO STORY JUST PLAY THE GAME!!! Faxanadu tries to include the plot within the actual game and that means that the plot is now affecting the whole experience. The bad thing is that the whole story starts quite good, (for an old NES game). You are an unnamed hero who returns home after your long journey and see your deserted homeland and the titanic World Tree behind it that looks as if its energies are drained. You must enter the tree itself, (most action takes place in it), and find out why. So far so good but after meeting your King the whole thing becomes very bad. First of all, the King upon seeing you says that you are their only hope without explaining why and gives you a, (very small), amount of money to prepare for your journey. After that the story is just find that item so you can enter the next region and meet some peoples in there who will give you some details about what is happening that unfortunately are not enough and definitely not good or original.
Good and bad at the same time, the graphics of Faxanadu have the typical NES quality that most games had back then. The main problem is the use of the palette and by that I mean that we have a small amount of colors and most of them are dark. Areas are full, of brown, dark green, dark purple and colors like that at least it creates an atmosphere of a world at chaos. Enemies have only two colors, (with black always being the second one) and have simple animations. Our hero looks a bit strange when he walks because of his head constantly bouncing. Another strange thing is the character portraits at shops because instead of fast mouth movement and slow eye blinking we have the exact opposite making characters look a bit off. One good thing is that what you equip at your character is what you see in the game.
Nothing special about the sound section of Faxanadu. Simple, typical NES quality with sound effects that although strange not irritating and music that you may like or not even care about it
Remember Zelda 2? This Zelda is considered to be the worst of the series and being a hardcore Zelda fan myself I agree, but when I started playing Faxanadu it was like playing Zelda 2: Bad Edition!!! The gameplay is similar to Zelda 2. It is actually a side scrolling sword-swinging game that has some platform elements too. You kill stuff, collect items and generally all the things youd expect from a game like this.
Now let me explain what the problem is. First of all your character moves slower than most enemies, cant crouch and falls like a rock when he is off a ledge or land after a jump. Enemies on the other hand are fast but with simple AI. They move in simple patterns but are placed in the map in such a way that sometimes cant be avoided without them hitting your character and when they do they push you a bit making you fall in gaps, which luckily are never bottomless. Bosses on the other hand are very simple, just stand in one high place and swing your sword when the boss approaches or, for more challenging ones, have many health potions with you. Across the towns youll visit are shops where you can sell or buy stuff and people who give you info, but all dialogues are extremely slow, something that I consider bad for a RPG. Your character can either use his sword or a ranged magic attack. There are only 4 kinds of armor, swords and magic and all are the same with the fourth one being the most powerful. And now let me explain the level up system. There are only 15 levels and you can max your character very fast but leveling up is somewhat useless in this game. You see the only thing your level do is how much money will you have after loading your game. Finally you dont actually save your game since Faxanadu uses the password system to record your progress.
The game is actually like this, get that item in order to reach a boss, kill the boss and obtain an item that will help you reach the next boss and so on. Enemies are more or less the same with just a bit different movement, each town just offers more powerful equipment, levels have bad design and generally it is a very repetitive game and quite linear for an adventure\RPG.
-Atmospheric graphics, (I guess so )
-Very small, (here it is a good thing)
-Good manual story, but bad game story
-Bad level design, enemies are placed in places where you cant avoid them
-Character that moves very slow and falls very fast
-Strange level up system
-Castlevania: Circle Of The Moon (GBA)
-Castlevania 2: Simons Quest (NES)
-Wizzards & Warriors 2: Iron Sword (NES)
-Zelda 2: Adventure Of Link (NES)
When it first came out it was a great game, but now it shows its age and problems that which werent so obvious back then since non-Japanese gamers where thirsty for RPGs and would play everything they could lay their hands upon.
Rating: 2.5 - Playable
Product Release: Faxanadu (EU, 12/28/90)
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