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Level 1
The Legendary Axe (Level 1)
By Cyril Lachel     |   Posted on September 02, 2010   |   Episode 13 (Show Archive)  

   

Welcome to Level 1. Every week we look at a random game's very first level. It doesn't matter what kind of game it is or what system it's for -- we're here to dissect the game's first level and see what it tells us about the rest of the game. I promise you an eye-opening experience in each episode! Forget magic potions, guns and a protective suit, the only thing you're going to need to need this week is blood axe. This is The Legendary Axe, the game that was supposed to put NEC's TurboGrafx-16 on the map. It didn't, but together we can play through this game's exciting Level 1!

The Legendary Axe (NEC)
[ Release: 1989 - Console: TurboGrafx-16 ]
The Legendary Axe (TurboGrafx-16)
The Legendary Axe (TurboGrafx-16)
At one time The Legendary Axe was thought to be the next big game franchise. But like so many early TurboGrafx-16 games, this NEC property never took hold. The Legendary Axe is not much more than your average 2D action game, you walk from left to right whacking people over the head with your axe. Its claim to fame was its graphics, which at the time were far beyond anything you got on the Nintendo Entertainment System. NEC eventually released a sequel, but that's pretty much where this franchise ended. There is a lot of missed potential in The Legendary Axe, which you will see when we push the start button and play through Level 1 ...

Zone 1 - The Forest: I find myself naked in the forest. I look down and am horrified to see a tiny loin cloth covering my bits and pieces. In my right hand is an axe, one that may in fact be legendary. The blood on my axe suggests that I've had to use it before; perhaps
The Legendary Axe - Zone 1
The Legendary Axe - Zone 1
somebody else noticed that I was practically naked. I'm glad I trained before going on this adventure, if I was a few pounds heavier this getup may not be very appropriate. But I have the body for it, so I'm going to rock it for as long as I can.

As I move through the forest I see a family of bats fly overhead. They're high above me, keeping me company as I cut down vines and bushes. All of a sudden a native jumps out, startling me and the bats. We wrestle around for a bit, but a few swipes with my
The Legendary Axe - Zone 1
The Legendary Axe - Zone 1
axe and he knows who's boss. I get up and dust off my loin cloth. I look down at my advisory and take note of his clothing. He's a little bigger than me, but at least he has a shirt. I reach for his threads only to discover a troubling tag that said, "Made in China." I may be a half-naked man in the jungle holding a bloody axe on a delusional quest to conquer evil, but I do not buy products from China. A warrior has to have principles, you know.

The Sub-Boss - Giant Spider: I jump down a large hole and come face to face with a eight-legged spider. This beast is huge. I'm talking the size of a small car. And furry, too. Oh man, I hate spiders. I run for shelter and start to break down. I'm reminded of that time when I was a kid and my father died because
The Legendary Axe - Sub-Boss - Giant Spider
The Legendary Axe - Sub-Boss - Giant Spider
of a spider bite. Well, it wasn't actually the bite that killed him, but had he not been distracted he would have never run his oxen off the road into the valley. Rest in peace, pops. I grip my axe a little tighter and build up the courage to kill this giant spider for my father.

The spider looks surprised at my newfound aggression. I rush in and take out four of his eight legs. All the while he's spitting fireballs and webbing at me. But my axe keeps me save, maybe even in a legendary way. I slice and dice, savoring the
The Legendary Axe - Zone 1
The Legendary Axe - Zone 1
sweet taste of spider blood. As I take my final swing a ladder descends from up above. I don't stop to wonder why a path would open up right as I killed the spider; the less I know about that demon's magic the better.

Zone 1 - The Forest: I'm back in the forest, still naked. Ahead of me is a small ball of energy hiding under a tree. I walk over and pick it up. The moment my body touches the ball; I surge with a power I've never felt before. Suddenly I'm glowing. No, seriously, I'm glowing. What the hell is going on? How am I going to explain this
The Legendary Axe - Zone 1
The Legendary Axe - Zone 1
when I get home? And how am I going to ambush somebody if they can see the glowing a mile away. Hell, I'm in a loin cloth, it's ancient times and I don't even know what a mile is. Now I'm officially screwed.

Not so fast. I take out my aggression on the local animal kingdom, but much to my surprise my swings are stronger and take more damage. It used to be that when I slashed a crazed monkey I could only get my blade halfway through his chest, now I can take his head clean
The Legendary Axe - Boss - Grizzly Bears
The Legendary Axe - Boss - Grizzly Bears
off. There's barely any blood on my axe, I think you could say that when I retell this story to the guys back at the camp it's going to be legendary.

The Boss - Grizzly Bears: The celebrating quickly comes to an abrupt end when two savage grizzly bears show up. Now, I've heard stories of grizzly bears before. They're supposed to be huge and furocious. They say that one of these bears can take out your entire left arm just by sneezing. Well, I'm here to tell you that it's not true. Don't believe the hype. These bears may not be friendly, but I had no problem making short order of these fellas. They barely put up a fight, I almost felt sorry for them. I use the lifeless bodies to clean my axe and get warm. Even though this is only zone one, I feel good about my chances against the evil of this ancient world.

What Have We Learned Today: I don't care who you are, the thought of a man in a loincloth holding a bloody axe is the stuff nightmares are made of. There is no scenario where that man is just looking for a party. There is no
Facts are facts, men holding bloody axes are not to be trusted!
Facts are facts, men holding bloody axes are not to be trusted!
profession that requires you to wear a loincloth and a bloody axe. If your blind date shows up with a loincloth and a bloody axe, the appropriate reaction is to yell and run in the opposite direction. I would not try to cut in front of a man in a loincloth with a bloody knife as he stands in line for Going the Distance. You have been warned.

What Did We Miss: In Zone 2 we trade in the deep forest for an underground cavern. It's here that we dodge fireballs
The Legendary Axe - Zone 1
The Legendary Axe - Zone 1
and jump over lakes of lave. Now aren't you glad we stuck with the loincloth? In the caves you will have to deal with acrobatic lizards, a pesky critter that can easily dodge your axe. For the first time in this journey you're starting to question if your axe is indeed legendary. But don't lose faith just yet, because that loincloth seems to be pointing us in the right direction. At least, I hope that's what it's doing.

What the Guy From Magic Sword Says: "I met this guy once. It was a few years ago at one of those industry trade show things. We were all getting hammered at the casino when this guy in a loincloth starts making trouble. He starts in about how he has a legendary axe. Well, I look over at him and point to my magic sword. All of a sudden he's in my face about how I stole my weapon from the Heavenly Sword chick, so I remind him that Golden Axe has been doing it longer than any of us. After that I think he went home with a showgirl."
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