Box Shot
Platform: NES
Publisher: SNK
Designer: SNJ
Genre: Action
Players: 1
Published Date 1987
Reviewed by: 8-Bit Star


Sometimes, a good game may be overlooked, simply in favor of a more popular game (we all know alot of great RPGs were overlooked in favor of Dragon Warrior and Final Fantasy now don't we?) At times like this, the forgotten ones sometimes end up being GOOD games. This is absolutely not the case with Athena.

You can already begin the list of problems with the plot: Athena, the Goddess of Wisdom (as if you didn't know that) got bored of her life in the castle, so she enters the World of Fantasy, simply to go on an adventure. There's motivation for you. No kidnapped friends, no evil people trying to rule the world, not even as much as a pointless goose chase! At least plot isn't important in these types of games....

Well, after noticing the graphics (typical early NES) you'll notice the music...IT SUCKS! I can only remember the tunes if I just heard them recently (which is why I'm writing this NOW) and I can still only remember that they were horrendous. It's random blippiness as its finest.

Once you move beyond the oh-so-wonderful visual and audio aspects, next you might notice the Controls. These are just fine, except for one thing: pressing the A button ONCE causes Athena to do a small jump, but a second time makes her do a BIG jump, so therefore to leap big holes you have to double press the A Button. This wouldn't be so bad, but the timing needs to be JUST right. Why not hold UP and press jump?

Now to REAL problems. The weapons have no range whatsoever except for bows and other distance weapons, and those almost never seem to hit (even if they TOUCH the enemy!) Things have to be directly in front of you for you to even HAVE a chance of hitting them!

Let me get SOME good things out: I rather liked the upgradeble weapons/armor gig, as it makes the game more RPG-ish (you can upgrade energy as well by picking up big hearts.) But it just doesn't work out, turning what COULD have been a good thing into a bad thing. You lose armor after a couple of hits, and all chestplates and shields do is provide temporary invincibility, and helmets just allow you to break overhead rocks searching for stuff. Most players will probably be searching in vain for the Magic Lamp, which allows you to exit the level just by finding the secret room rather than defeating the boss. There are plenty of weapons, some can break blocks therefore revealing helpful items, but most can't. There are some Items that are somewhat useless, such as this necklace-thing which turns Athena into a mermaid (which is a hindrance, as it doesn't AT ALL help her swimming and just disables armor!). God, WHO THE HELL WAS ASLEEP PROGRAMMING THIS GAME?

And all of the enemies...geez. Remember Contra, and how the enemies always came running out from the sides of the screen? Well, that's present, except it's worse. Athena can barely hit anything, and often she is surrounded by enemies, always being attacked rather than attacking! To add, she shows NO sign she is being hit, the life bar just decreases (usually a lot), then she dies. You then get to see a cinema of her collapsing. Also there is a rather fast timer, and if you explore TOO much, you run out of time and die (you only get about 5 minutes).

If you collect unknown games then go for it, but really, most of you should avoid it at all costs. The poor hit detection, boring gameplay and utter difficulty make it one of the worst action games I have ever played. Stay away from this crap like you would stay away from the plague, OK??