Pete Plays: Axelay (SNES)

Post-production notes:

Shooting a gameplay video of Axelay is something that I’ve wanted to do since I got it as a gift from my mom for Christmas last year. It truly is one of my favorite SNES games of all time, and it’s great to have it in my library once again.

I bought Axelay originally back in 1992, after reading about the game in an issue of Electronic Gaming Monthly. I knew that Konami had a history with shoot-’em-ups… I played the heck out of the Life Force coin-op in 1988 in the arcade at my local convenience store, and I knew about the Gradius series thanks to the NES and SNES ports of the first and third games. I was excited about getting Axelay based on what I’d read, though my friends were always quick to ask, “What the heck is that game, anyway?” So, rather than try to tell them about, I simply fired up the game and showed them– much like I’ve done in this video.

Axelay has a lot of memorable things. The soundtrack, first and foremost, is amazing and each stage BGM sets the mood so well. The sound quality, from its deep and bass-enhanced explosions to the reverb effects heard in the cavern for the 4th stage, shows off the power of the SNES sound chip. The bosses are all huge… especially the lava boss at the end of the 5th stage, which takes up a ton of the screen and dwarfs your ship. There are cool Mode 7 effects, and there’s some really cool parallax scrolling that is seen in the 2nd stage.

Perhaps what impresses me the most about Axelay is that it’s aged pretty well. Sure, there are some technical limitations (slowdown, occasionally poor draw distance), but these don’t really hold the game back. Axelay is great to pick up and play if you have a small window of time for gaming on a particular day. It can be played through in 30-45 minutes, and the ride is intense from start to finish. Unfortunately, there isn’t a battery backup inside of the cartridge, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t take a picture of the screen to show off your highest scores to friends. It’s certainly easier to do that now, with smartphones and their cameras, than it was back in 1992 with more cumbersome cameras. (Believe me.)

Axelay gets a strong recommendation from me as an addition to your own gaming library. The game’s value has spiked since last Christmas, according to PriceCharting, and now stands at just over $30 for a loose cartridge. If you still have a Wii, Axelay is also available as a download from the Wii Shop for 800 Wii Points ($8).

It looks like the Pete Plays series is doing pretty well on the YouTube channel, so I’ll be trying to put more of these together in the coming weeks. They’re hard to do given the lighting situation, figuring out where to set up the laptop for the best angle, and trying to work out a place to put the microphone for the best sound pickup. What I’m doing seems to be working for now, and I hope that you’re enjoying the videos.

As always, thanks for checking out my work. Look for Retro Unscripted Episode 22 soon!

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Posted on April 6, 2014, in Pete Plays and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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