The Legendary Axe games are hack n’ slash action platformers and two of the best titles in the TurboGrafx library. Both titles sport great 16-bit era graphics, music and non-stop action. The original Legendary Axe was a launch title and I’m sure early adopters of the TG-16 had to be pleased with this game. You’re a barbarian off to fight monsters and other creatures on a quest to save your childhood friend who was kidnapped as a sacrifice for the evil Jagu cult. You use your trusty axe to slash and defeat what stands in your way and you’ll need to use a variety of platforming elements (chasm jumping, vine swinging, moving platform leaping, etc.) to save her. The environments and enemies in Legendary Axe are rich and detailed in spite of my wife asking me if I was playing a Thundercats video game when she saw the protagonist. The end level bosses are quirky (e.g. a half man/half human giant, a midget swinging a huge ball & chain) and the big spider that is drawn on the cover of the box/game/manual is one of the first mini-bosses you take on. The gameplay is simple but you do build up strength in your axe by defeating more monsters and gaining power-ups scattered throughout the game. This will decrease the number of hits it will take to defeat your enemies and is crucial to defeating the end level bosses. The key to success is memorizing enemy patterns & knowing when to employ the jump hack down onto your enemy. The game is challenging and there is no save feature to allow you to stop and pick up where you left off but you are given several continues.
The sequel, The Legendary Axe 2, was a sequel in name and theme only. Your character is not the same as the one from the original and your mission is different. This time, you are a ancient hero off to defeat your brother who has succumbed to the evil forces he used in order to overpower you in a battle for the throne after your father (the King) died. I guess you really thought you deserved that crown and not him! Anyhow, the graphics & music are still top notch and the level design allows you to not just move horizontally but also vertically. Your character looks significantly different than the one you used in Legendary Axe 1 as you no longer have red flaming hair but a more traditional Conan-like look complete with skimpy loin cloth. The monsters and level bosses are still detailed and quirky with unique attack patterns that must be memorized to excel. The gameplay is also enhanced by giving you two other weapons besides the sword you start the game with. You can also pick up a sickle and chain and a battle axe (i.e. the legendary axe) which is the most powerful of all the weapons. You also can acquire bombs to improve your chances against bosses or clear a screen of enemies when things get hairy. Like it’s predecessor, there is no save feature in Legendary Axe 2 but instead you get 3 continues and opportunities to add extra lives. In all, Legendary Axe 2 is a slightly deeper and more improved version of an already great TurboGrafx-16 title.
I have not finished either game but have been able to make it to level 4 in the first Legendary Axe and level 5 in the sequel. Both titles were picked up off of Ebay in the past year as I knew they would make for fun additions to my TG-16 library.
Currently in my collection:
The Legendary Axe – game, manual, case A-
The Legendary Axe 2 – game, manual, case, box A