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1990 Jaleco



The name "Astynanx" is a figure out of Greek mythology, but this game has nothing to do with that.  This Astynanx is an obscure side scroller about a high school kid who's kidnapped by a fairy into an alternate dimension to (what else) rescue the princess.

The game is the usual 8-bit side scroller, walk left to right, kill bad guys, get power up, ho-hum. The gimmick here is that you have a meter that depletes then rapidly regrows after each swing of your weapon. A strike when the meter is full will result in a more powerful swing. You also have the ability to cast three different kinds of spells, a screen-clearing fireball thing, a spell that freezes all enemies on screen at once, and one that attacks with lighting. As you progress you gain powerups from breaking open different statues which change your weapon from an axe to a weird spear-thing to a long sword.

The problem here is that all of these elements are sorely lacking in implementation. Seems like you do little to no damage no matter which weapon you have or if you have a full attack meter or not. Ordinary bad guys take too dang long to kill. A generic skeleton enemy takes 9 full swings to destroy. It's just easier to take the hit and walk past them.

Which is what you end up doing most of the time. This game has quite possibly the worst hit detection I've ever seen. Forget trying to hit anything in the air, just not gonna happen. Objects like enemy spears and such that should clearly fly above your head will hit you, while you can also hit enemies on platforms above you that are out of your reach. This really ruins it when in certain parts of the game you can be easily knocked into bottomless pits by stuff that should be missing you. Just a tad frustrating there.

Such a waste..  the graphics are actually pretty good for a no-name game like this, large colorful sprites with a decent amount of detail around pretty good looking backgrounds (although the main character could use more fluid walking and striking animations.) Sound is also half-way decent too. Too bad the whole game is ruined by crappy hit detection. If you can put up with it you'll find a somewhat decent game, with decent cut scenes, good looking bosses, and half-way satisfying levels. Too bad most of us will be turned off before the end of the first level.

Graphics: Large, detailed sprites look good but lack animation. Backgrounds are not bad looking either.

Sound: The usual repertoire of 8-bit clangs, clashes, and explosions.

Gameplay: What could be a good game is ruined by utterly awful hit detection, almost to the point of unplayability.

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