The gods must be crazy retarded. Athena is a game about the Greek Goddess of Wisdom a princess and her quest to rid the land of evil make really stupid life decisions.
The plot begins with her opening Pandora’s Box the Door Which Shouldn’t Be Opened at Mount Olympus Victory Castle, leading her to enter the Underworld Fantasy World to battle some evil guy named Dante… no wait, that last one’s right.
John’s Rating: 1.5 out of 5.0. Athena jumps a randomly determined height when you hit A. Let me say that again – you jump a randomly determined height when you hit A. It doesn’t matter how long or short you hold the button, Athena either jumps very high or makes a tiny near-useless hop. Nothing I can figure out influences which one it will be. That alone would be a game-breaker, but it also suffers from obnoxious music, poor hit detection and a collection of nearly useless weapons that replace your useful weapons if you so much as look at them wrong. Oh, and levels have no check points. You’re welcome.
As a final note, I know that the first two games by SNK were phenomenally lousy, but they really were a great company, and in upcoming releases, I will be able to sing their praises rather than cursing their name.
Space Shooters are a staple genre of the NES. You might recall me giving Gradius the first perfect score of this blog, so I’m certainly not biased against them. Shmups, as they are sometimes called, have represented a huge slice of the gaming pie – and a rather delicious slice at that!
Having said that, there are certain qualities I expect in a space shooter. The first is variety – repetition is a huge game killer for any sort of Shmup, so a large variety of environments and enemies is a must. The second is graphic consistency – if a game takes itself seriously, it should make an effort to do so throughout the entire experience, keeping powerups – for example – looking like part of the environment rather than annexes to the games graphic library. The third is a aesthetic quality – the audio and visual experiences should be unobtrusive if not pleasant. Alpha Mission is a generic space shooter example of not working very hard on any of this.
John’s Rating: 2.0 out of 5.0. The only thing that stands out about this game to any meaningful degree is how annoying the music is. Beyond that, it’s pure vanilla paste.