Andro Dunos VS Axelay

 

By Tibe

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Visco opposed to Konami ... Talk about a remake of David against Goliath! Actually, the situation here is somewhat different. If Konami is a leading company in the gaming world, Visco is only a secondary role. The company rarely develops on home systems, mainly devoting itself to the arcade market. Subtlety for this comparison, our David (Visco) use a powerful bazooka (Neo Geo) while our Goliath (Konami) will be using a simple gun (Super Famicom). Will this be enough there to balance the duel? SNK console displays 4096 colors 256 against for Nintendo's, the resolution is also in advantage of the Neo with 320x224 against 256x224. As for the performances on sprites, sound, and memory capacity, NG benefits a big advantage. Besides, the theme of David against Goliath is here reversed: Andro Dunos weighs 34 megabytes, against 8 per Axelay! That's still quite large for a SFC game back in 1992, while Visco's shooter figure as a dwarf in the Neo Geo library. Andro Dunos is a classic side-scrolling shoot 'em up, that can be played two simultaneously, while Axelay can be played single only, and alternates from one stage to another between horizontal and vertical scrollings.

GRAPHICS

Konami's first big feat in Axelay are the graphics. The system, while still young, is here marvelously exploited. Programmers and designers have performed a great set, with a beautiful and varied universe, pretty colorful and nicely designed. The enemies are numerous and differ from one level to another, while the Bosses are downright impressive! When the game was released, the press and public were amazed by its realization. And if Konami's shoot them up is a real praise to the Super Famicom, it should not be too much to say Andro Dunos almost ashames the Neo Geo! Indeed, graphics in this one are downright disappointing for a console this caliber. Capabilities of the machine remained in the cloakroom, Visco didn't really wanted to break their heads. Apart from some nice screens, it's often quite empty and not very detailed. The Bosses are decent, but far less impressive than those of its competitor. When comparing the screenshots, the SFC can be proud of Axelay's graphics, definitely way above Andro Dunos.

ANDRO DUNOS............ 65%

 AXELAY ......................... 84% 

ANIMATION

If the animation is flawless in Andro Dunos, it looks nothing special either. The game is fast, fluid, but it's neither very decomposed , very detailed, nor impressive! The game never slows down, it only flashes very rarely when playing two, and only on heavy screens. Here again, Konami did a great job. Offering variety by switching between vertical (using mode 7 brilliantly) and horizontal scrollings, the game also features huge Bosses, moving in a way both smooth and surreal. Game mixes intense action and a wide range of enemies... one can only applause! The only downside is the some flashes and slowdowns... proof that the system is pushed to its limits. Visco only did the bare minimum, while its competitor takes risks and provides us an animation that rocks, despite a few defects.

ANDRO DUNOS............ 80%

 AXELAY .......................... 82% 

SOUND

Themes of Andro Dunos are like its graphics: simplistic! Despite this, these are catchy and stick well to the action. The sound effects are really limited for a Neo Geo, but anyway, the whole game was made like that. On its side, Axelay is a real blast. The melodies composed by Taro Kudo - who also created themes for Super Castlevania IV - are simply magical! There is genius in these songs, the atmosphere generated is epic and each stage benefits an appropriate music. Organic, warrior, dramatic, space... All are really fabulous, at least the caliber of Viewpoint, it's to say. The sound effects are excellent, explosions, fire, Boss moves... SFC allows itself even a few digitized voices, totally absent from its rival!

ANDRO DUNOS............ 69%

 AXELAY .......................... 97% 

REPLAY VALUE

Eight stages for Andro Dunos, six for Axelay. Visco's game is harder than its rival, but Konami's is still a great challenge for a majority players. It will take some time to overcome each for sure. Both productions propose a similar life, it's to say about forty minutes to clear each, but believe me, you won't be able to perform this straight course on the first games you'll phave on these, especially with Andro Dunos! This one takes here a slight advantage over its competitor, with its great scoring system and two-player mode.

ANDRO DUNOS............ 75%

 AXELAY ......................... 70% 

GAMEPLAY

Our two shooters have in common the ability to choose between different weapons, ie one can switch between several during the action. Four are available 'in-game' in Andro Dunos, as well as the ability to trigger a corresponding special attack by depressing A button. It's also possible to upgrade weapons by collecting various power-ups during the stages. Modules, powerful shots, bombs, missiles, shields... It's comprehensive and allows a nice strategic approach. In Axelay, you choose your ship's armament at the beginning of each level. The vessel is equipped as you wish with three different weapons, so don't make any mistake! Whenever the ship is hit, you lose a weapon: so, you can be damaged twice before exploding. By cons in Andro Dunos, no error is allowed! Alternating vertical and horizontal scrollings is a great idea from Konami, and suddenly the game is varied and never repetitive. This being said, the scoring is more interesting in AD, a feature appreciated from seasoned arcade players. Its action is dynamic and fun, but still can't match its rival here... Axelay being a model of original gameplay, with its great strategic use of weapons and breathtaking action!

ANDRO DUNOS............. 84%

 AXELAY .......................... 94% 

CONCLUSION

The thirty-four megas  of Andro Dunos and the power of the Neo Geo weren't enough to overcome this great shooter from Konami. Original, well programmed and made by talented artists, Axelay is a powerful hit. Graphics, musics, animations: everything is a credit to the system on which the game is programmed. It only lacks a two player mode, but the SFC was probably not able to take more. Andro Dunos on its side, stands as a very good shooting game packing much fun, but not impressive nor deep enough to match its rival, which remains in the history of Shoot them Up a great title.

ANDRO DUNOS

76%


AXELAY

89% 


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