"The Legendary Axe" is a blinding supernova of a game in the TG-16 console universe. It is the side-scrolling platform hacker that serves as the standard with which all other side-scrollers are judged. The winner of multiple Game of the Year awards, "The Legendary Axe" was deemed to be not only the best game released on the TG-16 system, it was recognized as the best game released by any console in 1989. Electronic Gaming Monthly regarded "The Legendary Axe" one of the best adventure games of all time. During my play through of "The Legendary Axe", on Console Classix, I found its ubiquitous admiration completely warranted. So much so that I can't help but wonder why the game's protagonist, Gogan, was not tapped to be the TG-16's mascot (that honor fell to Bonk). "The Legendary Axe" is simple enough to be immediately addictive, but nuanced enough to provide depth and require some amount of strategy on the part of the player. The difficulty of "The Legendary Axe" is, well, legendary, for lack of a better word. Punishing would work as well, this game is tough. The enemies are vicious, and much more intelligent than the typical side-scrolling action platform baddies. Proceeding through levels takes some amount of planning, if you want to progress through the game and not find yourself lost and frustrated. Unique among its genre, and seemingly geared toward a more adult audience, the sum of "The Legendary Axe's" parts equals one of the best console, or platform games ever.
Gogan, a mighty warrior living long ago in a faraway place, and his people are ruled by an evil cult called the Jagu. Not only do the Jagu pillage the country destroying all that is sacred, but they also require a yearly human sacrifice of Gogan's tribe. The next sacrifice has been selected, Gogan's childhood friend Flare, who is barely sixteen years old. This is a problem for Gogan, and one he intends to remedy. Fortunately for the oppressed villagers, Gogan has been studying the art of war for the past two years. Upon hearing the news that Flare is to be sacrificed, Gogan has returned to his home village to rescue his friend, but alas, he is too late. Flare has already been taken to the "Evil Place", the mountain stronghold of the Jagu. Armed with his Legendary Axe "Sting" (I wonder if J.R.R. Tolkien gets a check for that), Gogan must hack his way to the Jagu's leader, confusingly named Jagu, to rescue Flare.
Gogan must slash his way through six distinct levels, or Zones, to face Jagu and rescue Flare. Each Zone can have multiple sub-levels that must be conquered before moving on to the next Zone. The player is granted two lives and four continues to begin the game. Gogan has a life meter, at the upper left side of the screen, that drains when Gogan sustains damage. When the life meter is completely drained Gogan will lose a life. When a player continues, Gogan will start at the beginning of the section in which Gogan lost his last life. Gogan can earn extra lives by earning and stacking points.
Gogan's attack power is displayed by a strength meter at the top of the player's screen. The strength meter will deplete after Gogan executes an attack, but will quickly refill after dropping, necessitating some amount of strategy by the player. The strength meter will start off small, but the maximum can be increased by obtaining items.
Enemies are exceptionally aggressive, and will actively try to use the environment to kill Gogan (such as knocking him into a pit). When possible, learning the attack patterns of the Jagu will greatly assist Gogan.
There are a variety of power-ups to found that will assist Gogan in his quest. Power-ups can appear in different forms, including idol statues that need to be smashed to reveal an item. Some items, like crystals, will award Gogan points, while others will recover health for Gogan, grant extra lives, or increase Gogan's weapon power and speed. The weapon power-ups are of the greatest importance and should be sought early to aid Gogan on his journey.
|Up||Climb ladders / obstacles|
|I||Jump (hold to increase height)|
|Run||Start / Pause|