Video Game: Astyanax

Astyanax (released as The Lord of King in Japan) was a side-scrolling action game released by Jaleco for the arcades and the Nintendo Entertainment System. It is not a game about Greek Mythology.

High school freshman Astyanax (named after the hero of Greek mythology, "he thinks", although otherwise not related to his namesakenote ) keeps having visions of a girl. Walking to school one day, he finds himself teleported to another world by a fairy named Cutie. Cutie is the advisor of Princess Rosebud, ruler of the kingdom of Remlia. Unfortunately, Rosebud has been kidnapped by the evil wizard Blackhorn. It seems Astyanax is The Chosen One, as he possesses "The miracle power within him", and so it becomes his job, with the help of Cutie and a magic ax called "Bash", to save Rosebud and restore peace to Remlia.


This game has examples of:

  • American Kirby Is Hardcore: Inverted; Astyanax looks less manly in the NES version's cover illustration than in its Famicom counterpart (which used the same artwork as the arcade version's brochure).
  • Big Bad: Blackhorn.
  • Damsel in Distress: Princess Rosebud.
  • Dem Bones: Blackhorn really loves his skeleton minions... There are very few levels in the game that don't have skeletons lying in wait for our hero.
  • The Dragon: Thorndog.
  • Fairy Companion: Cutie. She speaks to you in cutscenes, and if you break a statue when you run low on magic, she'll appear and offer to refill your Mana Meter or alter your weapon.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Cutie sacrifices herself to destroy Thorndog's seal and allow Astyanax to get to the Tower. In return for rescuing her, Princess Rosebud resurrects Cutie as a human in Astyanax's world.
  • Magical Mystery Doors: Those in Thelenea, level 6-1. The secret is to look for the doors guarded by skeletons; those are the ones you want to take.
  • Morph Weapon: Your player's weapon can assume the forms of an axe, a short spear, or a sword. The axe has average stats all around; the spear is weak but consumes less MP when casting spells; and the sword is strong but consumes more MP.
  • Nothing but Skulls: Level 4-1 (Marshy) has a bunch of them. It's also the only level with a non-unique (relatively speaking) sub-boss; you fight a golden skeleton at the end.
    • Even more so in the following Level 4-2 (Grave) which evidently takes you right through a crypt, as the background is full of coffins and shelves with skulls on them and many more of those skeletons emerge to attack you along the way.
  • Nintendo Hard: Marshy in particular with all of its tough Lovecraftian fish folk and inconveniently-placed enemies just waiting to knock you into any of its many pitfalls. Once you get past that, even that Boss Rush near the end doesn't seem so difficult by comparison.
  • Psychic Link: Rosebud can speak telepathically with Astyanax.
  • Reformulated Game: The NES game bears little resemblance to the arcade game of the same name; even their basic premises are totally different.
  • Spiritual Sequel: To the Turbo-Grafx 16 classic The Legendary Axe, which was developed by the same team at Aicom.
  • Sub-Boss Rush: The final stage, Blackhorn's Tower, makes you fight a handful of sub-bosses from earlier levels (without healing) before you get to fight him yourself.
  • Summon Everyman Hero
  • Teleport Spam: Blackhorn employs this tactic. If he appears right behind you or in front of you, he'll attack with his sword. If he spawns further away, then he's about to cast a spell.
  • Time Stands Still: The Bind spell freezes everything on the screen for a few seconds. You can use it on the first two bosses, but every boss after that will simply ignore it and keep attacking you anyway.
  • Womb Level: The final stage of the arcade game inexplicably drops you in a Giger-esque alien hive, complete with facehugger-type creatures, and the Hive Queen as a final boss.