Athena – Review


1987 – SNK

Athena for the NES was the Devil. My cousin owned this game and till this day I’m not sure how she got it or why her parents decided to punish us with it. 

The Story:

This is about a princess named Athena who lives in Kingdom of Victory. She’s bored of her perfect life and finds this door that transports her to Fantasy World which sounds awesome but it not. Its super not. Its run by a dude named Emperor Dante. Wait. What? Of course. Of course he has my name. Why wouldn’t he? Why wouldn’t one of the worst NES games ever made not have my name attached to it? Will this half naked woman be able to defeat Emperor Dante? Likely. She likely will. I know she was looking for adventure but this seems like too much. Its like saying you’re bored and someone drops you off in Fury Road. Suddenly your life is that “Greatness awaits…” commercial.


The Gameplay:

The game begins by screaming at you in computer and you’re greeted by a tree that appears to be in pain. Next thing you know dog faced pig men are rushing at you with giant pink ladles. Don’t ask why. There is no answer. You get a weird looking hammer that allows you to break rocks easier. Why? I told you. Don’t ask. Okay, fine. Because there is armor in the rocks. There are also plants that you destroy to get hearts for energy. The hearts fly away. You can be near death and yelling in frustration as they fly to the top of the screen or make you chase them down. Cool. After getting a helmet, armor, and even a shield you are ready to destroy any weird creature that comes your way. Horse headed chess pieces. Happy blobs.


I have watched play throughs of this game and they make it all the way to the end. I don’t know what anything past the second level even looks like in person. No matter what weapons I got like blue armor or a flaming sword moments later I’m dead. Oh, and once you have the helmet you can smash things above you. How weird is that? If you gave me a helmet the last thing I would think to do was start throwing my head at things. I think Athena may be insane.


The Controls:

There is the A button for jump and the B button for attack. Its standard ass Nintendo controls. I think they knew not to make it anymore complex than that because there was so much happening on screen as it was and the system could barely keep up.

The Graphics:

Standard 8-bit graphics. Much of the game looks like leftovers from other games. Once you got a flaming sword the Nintendo would start yelling at you in binary. Things would slow down which in theory is cool because now you can focus on an enemy. Nope. Things would just start blinking in and out of existence and then you’re dead.

The Sound:

The sound is ugly. Some levels it sounds like sped up versions of other games music with the pitch turned up. In others it sounds like a bootleg Castlevania. You’re just being assaulted by God’s last gifts in slow motion while a robot chirps at you. Its pretty annoying. This game has the kind of music you would hum at friends to upset them.


The Difficulty:

What’s another word for impossible? While watching others play the game online I just assume they have a cheat code. No one is naturally good at this game. Not ever in your life have you ever heard someone say “Man, I can really go for some Athena right now.” It physically hurts to lose in this game because you are constantly trying. Trying to keep the weapons and armor you attain. Trying to not fall in holes. Trying to fend of monsters created in the midst of a fever dream. Trying. This game is nothing but trying. And for what? There’s no prince in the castle. She don’t know this land or its people. She got bored and went through a door to cause a ruckus. Athena is a problem.


The Verdict:

I would suggest playing this in a dare. I don’t see how you could play this and have fun. I know there is joy in some games that are ridiculously difficult but this ain’t one of ’em. I remember just breaking out in angry 7 year old sweats playing this and not having the words to describe what I was feeling. Now I do. Shame. Rage. Frustration.

I give Athena 2 out of 5 TROGS.

GameTrog Review By

Long Black Fingers

LBF is a perler artist, Batman fan and Retro Game fan, what more do you need to know! Check out his website for his artwork:

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