Faxanadu

Last updated
Faxanadu
Faxanadu NES US box.jpg
North American cover art
Developer(s) Nihon Falcom
Publisher(s)
Designer(s) Hitoshi Okuno, Toshiaki Takimoto
Composer(s) Jun Chikuma
Series Dragon Slayer
Platform(s) Family Computer/NES, Virtual Console
ReleaseFamily Computer/NES
  • JP: November 16, 1987
  • NA: August, 1989
  • EU: December 28, 1990
Virtual Console
  • JP: October 5, 2010
  • PAL: November 26, 2010
  • NA: February 21, 2011
Genre(s) Action role-playing game
Mode(s) Single-player

Faxanadu(ファザナドゥ,Fazanadu) is an action role-playing platform-adventure video game for the Family Computer (Famicom) and Nintendo Entertainment System (NES). The name was licensed by computer game developer Nihon Falcom ("Falcom") and was developed and released in Japan by Hudson Soft in 1987. Nintendo of America released the game in the United States in 1989 as a first-party title under license from Hudson Soft. Mattel distributed the game for Nintendo in PAL territories in 1990.

Action role-playing video games are a subgenre of role-playing video games. The games emphasize real-time combat where the player has direct control over the characters as opposed to turn or menu-based combat. These games often use action game combat systems similar to hack and slash or shooter games. Action role-playing games may also incorporate action-adventure games, which include a mission system and RPG mechanics, or massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPGs) with real-time combat systems.

Video game electronic game that involves interaction with a user interface to generate visual feedback on a video device such as a TV screen or computer monitor

A video game is an electronic game that involves interaction with a user interface to generate visual feedback on a two- or three-dimensional video display device such as a TV screen, virtual reality headset or computer monitor. Since the 1980s, video games have become an increasingly important part of the entertainment industry, and whether they are also a form of art is a matter of dispute.

Nintendo Entertainment System 8-bit video game console produced by Nintendo in 1983

The Nintendo Entertainment System is an 8-bit home video game console developed and manufactured by Nintendo. It is a remodeled export version of the company's Family Computer (FC) platform in Japan, also known as the Famicom for short, which launched on July 15, 1983. The NES was launched through test markets in New York City and Los Angeles in 1985, before being given a wide release in the rest of North America and parts of Europe in 1986, followed by Australia and other European countries in 1987. Brazil saw only unlicensed clones until the official local release in 1993. In South Korea, it was packaged as the Hyundai Comboy and distributed by SK Hynix which then was known as Hyundai Electronics; the Comboy was released in 1989.

Contents

Faxanadu is a spin-off or side-story of Xanadu , which is the second installment of Falcom's long-running RPG series, Dragon Slayer . The title Faxanadu is a portmanteau formed from the names Famicom and Xanadu.

<i>Dragon Slayer</i> (series) video game series

Dragon Slayer is a series of video games developed and published by Nihon Falcom. The first Dragon Slayer title is an early action role-playing game, released in 1984 for the NEC PC-88 computer system and ported by Square for the MSX. Designed by Yoshio Kiya, the game gave rise to a series of sequels, most of them created by Falcom, with the exception of Faxanadu by Hudson Soft. The Dragon Slayer series was historically significant, both as a founder of the Japanese role-playing game industry, and as the progenitor of the action role-playing game genre.

A portmanteau or portmanteau word is a linguistic blend of words, in which parts of multiple words or their phones (sounds) are combined into a new word, as in smog, coined by blending smoke and fog, or motel, from motor and hotel. In linguistics, a portmanteau is defined as a single morph that represents two or more morphemes.

The game uses side-scrolling and platforming game-play, while employing role-playing elements with an expansive story and medieval setting.

Story

The player-controlled protagonist of Faxanadu is an unidentified wanderer who returns home. [1] He has no name, though the Japanese version allows the player to choose one. The game begins when he approaches Eolis, his hometown, after an absence to find it in disrepair and virtually abandoned. Worse still, the town is under attack by Dwarves. The Elven king explains that the Elf fountain water, their life source, has been stopped and all other remaining water has been poisoned and provides the protagonist with 1500 gold, the game's currency, to prepare for his journey to uncover the cause.

Protagonist the main character of a creative work

A protagonist is the leading character of a story.

As the story unfolds, it is revealed that Elves and Dwarves lived in harmony among the World tree until The Evil One emerged from a fallen meteorite. The Evil One then transformed the Dwarves into monsters against their will and set them against the Elves. The Dwarf King, Grieve, swallowed his magical sword before he was transformed, hiding it in his own body to prevent The Evil One from acquiring it. It is only with this sword that The Evil One can be destroyed.

Elf supernatural being in Germanic mythology and folklore

An elf is a type of human-shaped supernatural being in Germanic mythology and folklore. In medieval Germanic-speaking cultures, elves seem generally to have been thought of as beings with magical powers and supernatural beauty, ambivalent towards everyday people and capable of either helping or hindering them. However, the details of these beliefs have varied considerably over time and space, and have flourished in both pre-Christian and Christian cultures.

Dwarf (mythology) being in mythology

In Germanic mythology, a dwarf is a human-shaped entity that dwells in mountains and in the earth, and is variously associated with wisdom, smithing, mining, and crafting. Dwarfs are sometimes described as short and ugly, although some scholars have questioned whether this is a later development stemming from comical portrayals of the beings. Dwarfs continue to be depicted in modern popular culture in a variety of media.

World tree

The world tree is a motif present in several religions and mythologies, particularly Indo-European religions, Siberian religions, and Native American religions. The world tree is represented as a colossal tree which supports the heavens, thereby connecting the heavens, the terrestrial world, and, through its roots, the underworld. It may also be strongly connected to the motif of the tree of life, but it is the source of wisdom of the ages.

His journey takes him to four overworld areas: The tree's buttress, the inside of the trunk, the tree's branches and finally the Dwarves' mountain stronghold.

An overworld is, in a broad sense, an area within a video game that interconnects all its levels or locations. They are mostly common in role-playing games, though this does not exclude other video game genres.

Gameplay

A typical gameplay shot. Faxanadu NES gameplay.png
A typical gameplay shot.

Faxanadu is a side scrolling action role playing game. [1]

Side-scrolling video game video game genre

A side-scrolling game, side-scroller or 2D is a video game in which the gameplay action is viewed from a side-view camera angle, and the onscreen characters can generally only move to the left or right. These games make use of scrolling computer display technology. The move from single-screen or flip-screen graphics to scrolling graphics, during the golden age of video arcade games and during third-generation consoles, would prove to be a pivotal leap in game design, comparable to the move to 3D graphics during the fifth generation. Although side-scrolling games have been supplanted by 3D games, they continue to be produced, particularly for handheld devices or for digital-only releases.

Players guide the hero through a screen-by-screen series of fields, towns, and dungeons. The hero can walk, jump, and climb ladders – all typical characteristics of a platform game. Along the way, he may also purchase usable items with gold, equip and use bladed weapons against enemies, equip armor, and cast magic projectiles. In addition, he can access information regarding the game's events by speaking with townsfolk or by consulting other sources.

The limits of physical damage the hero can sustain from enemies is tracked by a life bar, and the magical power he can exert is tracked by a magic bar. These are listed on the top of the screen along with total experience, total gold, time (for items with a timed duration), and the currently held item.

When the hero defeats an enemy, it usually leaves behind gold or life-giving bread, and the hero gains a set amount of experience. Experience points help increase the hero's rank (see below). Occasionally, an enemy will also drop an item, some of which activate specific effects when touched and some of which can be stored for later use.

The game utilizes a password system. Passwords, or "mantras" as they are known in the game, can be obtained from church-dwelling Gurus. Gurus also bestow ranks to the hero when he meets certain experience totals; these determine the amounts of experience and gold a player will possess upon resuming a game via password.

Because of its use of statistics, reliance on story, thematic basis upon Medieval fantasy, and provision of interactive NPCs, many observers have classified Faxanadu as a role-playing video game.

Development

The music was created by Jun Chikuma.

It was one of several NES games that took some inspiration from Zelda II: The Adventure of Link , which include Battle of Olympus and Moon Crystal . [2]

The game's graphics are often brown, or sepia tone. [3] [4]

Release

Faxanadu was released in Japan on for the Famicom on November 16, 1987. [5] It was released in North America on August 1989 and was published by Nintendo. [6] The November/December 1989 edition of Nintendo Power , Faxanadu debuted on the magazine's "Top 30" list at #6. It gradually fell from the list in subsequent issues. [7]

The game world was featured in two Season 2 (1990–1991) episodes of the Nintendo-based, Saturday morning cartoon series, Captain N: The Game Master . They are "The Feud of Faxanadu" and "Germ Wars". The Elven King was named Melvis and looked and sounded like Elvis Presley for his first appearance; the voice was changed in the latter episode. The Dwarf King was not featured and was replaced by Queen Dwarfine.

The game was eventually released on Wii virtual console in 2010 and 2011. [5] [8] [9] [10]

Reception

The game has received critical acclaim. The game received a score of 29 out of 40 by Weekly Famitsu . [5] IGN reviewed the game in 2011, after its Wii virtual console release, giving it a better score of 8.5 out of 10 and called it a hidden gem. IGN went on to call it a better action RPG than Zelda II: The Adventure of Link and Castlevania II: Simon's Quest . [11]

Marcel van Duyn of Nintendo Life gave the game an 8 out of 10, saying that it is a surprisingly fun game and an absolutely essential purchase for those who like RPGs. However, he also criticized the password system for western audiences, but felt grateful the Virtual Console port eliminated that feature. [12] Retro Gamer listed the game as the 16th best titles for the NES, saying it is a "forgotten gem" of the system. [1] IGN listed the game as the 36th best NES title. [13]

Influence

In an interview on Kotaku's Splitscreen podcast, Team Cherry cited Faxanadu as a major influence on their critically acclaimed game Hollow Knight . [14] They stated that Faxanadu was the biggest of three major influences, with the other two being Zelda II and Metroid. They noted that that the map in Hollow Knight was an inverse take on the tree in Faxanadu. [15]

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References

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