Publisher: Jaleco
Genre: Action/Adventure
Year of Release: 1990

Date Reviewed: 1-27-98 ("Old Era")

If I had to choose one word to describe this game, I would choose "unique". Why? Because, unlike many other games that were produced for the NES, this one doesn't seem as though it takes any of its precise elements from any other game.

The action sequences of Astayanax feature pseudo-medieval weapons and enemies, and a slow-moving interface with very large characters. There are three different weapons that the player can acquire along the way. First is the axe, which is the best rounded weapon. It deals an average amount of damage to enemies (in proportion to the other two weapons) and absorbs a reasonable number of magic points (the strength of magic doesn't depend on the weapon, but the number of MP each spell absorbs does). The second weapon one can get is the spear (which doesn't really look anything like a spear.) It is the weakest of the weapons, and thus destroying enemies with it can be an arduous task. However, the number of magic points absorbed when using the spear is infinitesimal in comparison to the other weapons. Third is the sword, which (by simple process of elimination) is the strongest hand-to-hand weapon, and expends the most MP. In addition, your character has a meter of strength which measures the effectiveness of hand-to-hand blows. Put simply, the stronger you want your attack to be, the longer you have to wait for the meter to fill up.

However, this game has one blatant strike against it, and that is its plot. The story of the game (which is divided into cinema sequences, a la Ninja Gaiden) centers around an American teenager who is summoned to a parallel universe by a fairy to defeat an evil emperor. This story could not be more of a ridiculous cop-out if the main character were an old woman who lived in a shoe. In a time in which a comprehensive story was not necessary for the success of a well-rendered action game as this, giving the game as stupid a plot as that of Astayanax produced a detrimental result on the whole. Call me critical. Call me hypocritical for complaining about incomplete plots in previous reviews. No plot is better than one this cockamamie.

My Score: 6.5

Cruel pseudo-Metroids are among the many otherworldly perils that await our hero.

Why don't you just fly on home? I'm sure the wicked witch is missin' you by now.


It is one of the tacit laws of videogaming that all evildoers be more articulate than the heroes who oppose them.

To complete the cliché, the final enemy is a giant dragon.

Return to the main page - The NES Enshrined
Return to the review listing - Game Reviews

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

web analytics