#222 – Faxanadu

Xanadu wishes it was Faxanadu.
Gotta get me a pair of those fresh wingboots.
Uh… friend?





RELEASE DATE: August 1989

It’s hard to properly review RPGs on this blog (unless, of course, they are as derivative as Faria), but what the heck! Faxanadu, ho! In all fairness, Faxanadu is an action-RPG, but it’s a mighty long and difficult one. Story: elves versus dwarves, but things get more complicated. Blather and balderdash aside, you’re a hero on a mighty quest and isn’t that what’s really important? Towns, weapons, needless grinding (though not too much) – it’s all here! But like any discerning retro gamer, one takes a retro RPG’s fundamentals, accepts them, then looks for the differences. In other words, what makes Faxanadu worthy to join the echelon of classic warrior tales on the NES? Well, the game is completely side-scrolling, which was fairly unique for even an action-RPG. The side-scrolling streamlines the exploration process, which can often feel like a chore in the majority of older RPGs. The battle system is a lot like Zelda II, but a little slipperier. Your character feels like he attached butter sticks to his feet and is always sliding around. Despite his butter slippers, what’s nice about combat is that you don’t really fight for experience. You fight for gold so you can buy the most expensive armor and weapons. You do gain experience, and in each town, there is a guru who will bestow different titles on you, depending on the amount of experience you have. All the titles do, besides make you sound attractive to the ladies (“why yes, I am a Paladin”), is give you extra gold every time you’re bestowed a new one. So you see, it really does come down to the bling. And the women.

While I didn’t dislike Faxanadu, I understand that it’s a fairly revered cult classic. Certainly, it’s better than a lot of similar-playing ilk on the NES, it has some interesting concepts, and I wouldn’t suffer through a full play-through. It didn’t capture my imagination like I had hoped it would, though, and that’s what counts. Again, for those of you Faxandu-gooders who are frothing at the mouth, pitchforks in hand, read: it’s not a bad game. I just wanted more.


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8 replies on “#222 – Faxanadu”

Another game from my childhood. In my younger years I never really got too far in this game, but it was definitely quite charming for its time and sets off my nostalgia meter. I&#039m going to jot this down on my list of to-plays. -RK

Faxanadu, one of the few games that captured the imaginations of most of my family. Lots of great memories playing this one, morning to sunup the next morning. The final boss is a bit too easy and the game is really brown, those are the main complaints. Getting the wingboots for the first time is a great experience though!

“Butter slippers” and “Faxanadu-gooders”. Some of you best work, man. I'm truly enjoying these posts

Ah, the butter slippers! And the diahrrea color palette! (Although in its defense, the world was drying up so all the browns make sense)
This was one of my absolute favorites as a kid, and i remember being totally blown away that your appearance changes when you upgrade equipment. That was a novel concept in the days of the NES.
…But why does everyone blink so much when they talk to you? Again, maybe its just because their world is so dry.
Ah, good times.

I beat this game on a rental. I remember having loads of fun with it. But the details are murky. I do recall the large variety of weapons up for grab, which was new and very fun at the time. Don&#039t remember any issue with the controls. I was young and dexterous lol

In terms of fun factor, at the time it was an A for me, which I why I still remember the name of this game over 20 years later.

I really like this game even to this day. If any of the Dark Souls, Demon Souls, Dark Tower and King&#039s Field games had an 8 bit equivalent then Faxanadu would be it. Faxanadu is 8 bit grand daddy of Dark Souls.

The jump physics are tricky, but I’m surprised at the comments below about difficulty. The giant blue bat demon things are tough, but I used to rent this often as a kid and I’d finish it every time. Still one of my all time favourites.

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