AXELAY
game Cover
game cartridge
アクスレイ
©1992 Konami
Release: 1992-09-11 (¥8800)
Cartridge SHVC-AX
Shooter/Vertical/Horizontal

American Version
country
Released in America as
AXELAY
( SNS-AX-USA )

European Version
European Version
country
Released in Europe as
AXELAY
( SNSP-AX-XXX )
Axelay is a horizontal/forward shooter developped by Konami. In a far future, the peaceful Ilis star system has been invaded by a merciless alien army known as the Dark Empire. The star fighter Axelay is developed in an attempt to stop the invading force, and it is sent out to fly deep inside enemy territory to destroy it from within. The most unique feature of the game is definitively the overhead/vertical stages - unlike most of its peers, Axelay alternates between two styles of play : overhead/vertical and horizontal stages. The overhead levels heavily rely on sprite deformation and scaling effects, and the enemies as well as the background scenery smoothly roll into view and give the game its distinctive character. The horizontal stages are a lot more traditional and yet, they also feature smooth parallax scrolling, sprite deformations and unique visual effects. However, the game doesn't feature any in-game power ups, and the Axelay fighter comes equipped with three weapon slots (main weapon, side weapon and missiles) and the player can freely switch from one slot to another at any time during the game. Beside, the Axelay prototype star fighter can only acquire new types of weapons after completing a new area, which gives the player the ability to pick different slot combinations as the game progresses. Weapon slots also act as temporary shields, and sustaining a hit automatically damages and eventually disables the active weapon. Axelay consists of six stages and is single player only.
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For some obscure reasons, Konami slightly modified the game's original story for the American and European versions of the game. The Dark Empire was renamed the Armada of Annihilation, and the Axelay doesn't collect new weapons from secret bases anymore, but recapture them from the enemy. Also, all the planets were renamed - the original Japanese version featured the Mother Planet, Cloud Planet, Colony, City Planet, Aqua Planet and Magma Planet, whereas the American version renamed them Cumuluses, Tralieb Colony, Urbanite, The Cavern and Sector 3 Lava Planet.

Game story copied from the Japanese instruction manual:
Ilis defensive armed forces executed the Axelay plan against the invasion of the Dark Empire. The main weapon is the Axelay which is a small multi-purpose fighter. Because Axelay is developed to be small size for thinking much of mobility, it can equip only necessary mirimum weaponry. To be mobile, powerful and deffensive fighter, armed force decided to have Axelay equip special weaponry. Such special weaponry is developed at secret bases on different planets of the Ilis Solar system. Now, Axelay has become a more powerful fighter than other huge enemy fighters.

Teaser text from the American version:
Kiss your Axelay good-bye.
You're stewed. Even though you've got the Axelay prototype combat stratafighter with the most sophisticated weaponry in the Illis solar system, the 3-D graphics and perspectives are so realistically shocking that you'll probably freak out and bury the ship in an asteroid. Nevertheless, you're the only remaining hope for a cluster of worlds bonded by one common goal - to suppress the ruthless onslaught brought forth by the Armada of Annihilation in a six level galactic blitzkrieg. The planets of the Illis solar system combined their technology to create a defense force like no other by engineering the D-177B, code name : Axelay. A fighter so advanced and costly, only one could be built.

Game Staff (Copied from the end credits) :

Main Program
"Dreamer" Ueda♥
Sub Program
S. Tamate
Support Program
"König" Ishida
Main Design
Θ山形茶王Θ Kodama
Chara Design
"Boncharu" Yada
Sub Design
"Furiten" Nagisa
Main Design
1st Help Man
T. Furukawa
2nd Help Man
"Kagenin" Sasaki
Opening.Ending
S. Kushibuchi
Sound Program
A. Fujio
Effect & Ending-1
Äki
Music Compose
Taro
ST2-Remix
M.C.Ada
Art Design
Pd. Namba
Special Thanks
Kurokotai
Produce
Mr. Kitaue


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Japanese CD Soundtrack
Japanese CD Soundtrack


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Game illustration
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As Salamander did before it, Axelay brilliantly and seamlessly combines two shooter types into one single game. But, more importantly, Konami managed to create a technically flawless shooter with a veritable feast of special effects, amazingly large and sumptuous bosses, and a spotless and intense gameplay. Without pause for breath, the game segues between intense shooting action and boss attacks with impressive efficacity. So why not give Axelay the highest score ? Well, I think there're two things that disrupt this idyllic picture. First, the overhead stages take some time to get used to, and I've never been a big fan of the "rolling" effect (some enemies appear flat with no perspective, whereas others appear inside the 'rolled' background). Then Axelay is an incredibly tough nut to crack, and difficulty quickly ramps up to a brutal and frustrating level. But all in all, Axelay is an excellent and impressive shooter, despite the hit and miss overhead levels (in my opinion).




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