Review by kevins drg
"Better than Zelda... You bet!"
Faxanadu is simply put a classic 2D side scrolling action RPG that doesn't get nearly enough recognition today. It easily bests Nintendo's overrated(but still enjoyable Zelda) by a long shot. Where Zelda was its weakest was plot I mean here you are standing in a desert with a cave and a couple of paths beside you and your just supposed to magically know where you're intended to go. Well, enough about Zelda, Faxanadu has a story and a good one too. You know what you are supposed do and are never just standing there looking blindly into nothingness thinking what's next.
I liked the story even though it has some weak points and it isn't always crystal clear however back in 1989, I doubt you will find many stories equal or better. The story out of the manual goes like this... The elf town, Eolis was once a town boasting peace and prosperity. Yet, now it is on the verge of destruction. Meteorites are raining down upon the World Tree and crazed monsters have taken the opportunity to run amuck. Wells are drying up and people are in the grips of fear. To restore peace again, someone has to penetrate the giant World Tree and overthrow the Evil One that lives in the Evil Place. Now, it is your mission to set out on a journey bearing the hopes of the people of Eolis. Traditional save the world type stuff, but good nonetheless.
You really had only one character in Faxanadu and that was the main one and you really only got limited background on him for example you knew he was an adventurer of sorts and he was a male and well that's about all that was told. The NPCs were done well and for the time there was a uprising amount of dialogue spoken by them.
Faxanadu had good sounds that were never painful on the ears and always distinguishable. They got repetitive, but not to the point of being an annoyance. They music was very nice and I loved the piece when you went to input a password, that was definitely the best music in the whole game.
Excellent, superb, flawless, all that and more. I believe this might be the best control system I've ever seen in any action RPG old, or new. You moved around with the directional buttons like almost all games. A was to jump and you could hover for a fraction of a second when you jumped. B was to use whatever weapon you were holding(fists, knives, swords, etc.) and when you pressed the B button and the UP directional button you would perform a magic attack. Also Down and the B button worked the item you were holding. Start paused and Select brought up the item screen. This probably doesn't sound very impressive, but it all flowed together with such grace and perfection it was and still is groundbreaking.
This is were it hurts because they were so close to being some of the best ever on the NES. Everything is richly detailed and every time you buy a new weapon or armor you see it on your character. Enemies are varied and NPCs walk around, but the one thing done with-out much regard here is the color. There is way to much tan, beige, mahogany, and just plain brown here. Its like a dog crapped all over your T.V., spread it around, then tried to lick it up and crapped on it again. Your character is even brown!!!!!! Its gotten to the point now that whenever I see a UPS truck I start violently crying and spitting. Please no more brown I can't take it anymore.
Difficulty Easy to Moderately Hard
Faxanadu starts off easily enough, but as with most games of its time it can get to be very hard if you don't do the right things. If you stay on top with the best weapons, armor, and magic, then you'll be fine for the most part. If you get lazy and don't train for the precious gold you need to succeed then you will probably fail miserably.
The best action RPG of its time and a classic that should get much more respect then it does. Faxanadu is better than Zelda, Willow, and ha ha Hydlide in terms of just about everything and yet it still doesn't get its just recognition. That is common though when you talk about NES game so many are falsely proclaimed as great and so many truly wonderful games are left in the forgotten shadows of video game time. Faxanadu is rare, but not to the point where you can't get it on Ebay. Pick this up for an action RPG experience that proves time really doesn't diminish the greatness of a game.
Reviewer's Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Originally Posted: 12/01/03
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