Another SNK classic gets a port over to the Playstation Minis service. This time it is Athena, a game that came out the same year as Ikari Warriors; however, they couldn’t be more different.
Athena is a side scrolling, action adventure game, where you play the Greek Goddess Athena. She has grown tired of life in the heavens and craves some excitement. One day she opens a mysterious door and falls from the heavens in to Fantasy World, a world of dangerous monsters. It is your job to guide her to safety and battle the evil that lies within Fantasy World. There are things that will make your life easier, though. There is a whole host of weapons, items and equipment to aid you on your quest and you will definitely need all the help you can find.
The good thing about this game, as with Ikari Warriors and the rest of SNK’s recent Mini releases, is that it is a faithful conversion of the original arcade game. It really does feel like the game you remember from all those years ago, in both looks and sound. However, this is also its downfall, as these games were designed to swallow silver and, as such, Athena is brutally hard. The player will get swarmed by enemies, both left and right. Some of these enemies will also take more than one hit to kill (depending on which weapon you have at the time); this is made more frustrating by the very slight time delay in between Athena’s attacks.
It also doesn’t help that the controls can sometimes let you down, especially the jump button. One of the first pieces of equipment you find is Athena’s sandals. These allow you to extend the height of your jump and also float around a bit. However, there doesn’t seem to be an exact science to get them to work. I found myself failing to reach higher platforms on several occasions, getting frustrated each time it happened.
The game does, at least, allow you put in a large amount of ’virtual’ quarters before you start the game, which means that you can have an almost unlimited amount of continues. But each time you lose all your lives, the game starts you at the beginning of the level, and some of the levels are really long. Being a faithful port of an old arcade game, I don’t expect there to be any checkpoints, but it just adds to the frustration of the game when you die just before the end of a long level.
Athena is regarded as a classic arcade game from its era, but looking back, it is difficult to see why. Admittedly, you can’t really go wrong with a price tag of $2.99, but be warned, this game is for those among you who enjoy punishing yourselves with the kind of hardcore difficulty that so few games nowadays bring.
Review copy provided by publisher.