[[caption-width-right:335:''[[OpeningNarration After months of tenacious enemy attack only one ship has survived:]]'' ''[[TitleDrop Axelay]]'']]

Axelay is a ShootEmUp for the UsefulNotes/{{SNES}}, made by Creator/{{Konami}} and released in the US in 1993. It has also been released onto the UsefulNotes/{{Wii}}'s Virtual Console service. It pushed the limits of what was capable for the SNES's graphics and sound capabilities

Several elements make this shooter stand out from the pack. First, the perspective alternates between a behind-the-back perspective (which plays like the more conventional top-looking-down perspective) and a side view (a la ''VideoGame/{{Gradius}}'' or ''VideoGame/RType''). The closest comparison to the behind-the-back look might be the original ''VideoGame/FZero''.

Second, there are no power-ups. Before the level begins, you pick three weapons from a list of weapons that grows with each level. These weapons are either upgrades for your main gun, or an upgrade or a replacement for your missiles (of which you have infinite). The weapon that is not enhanced is comparatively weak. You can switch between the three at will, however, if you get hit by enemy fire, you [[BreakableWeapons lose the weapon]] you are using for the rest of the life, replaced by the regular weapon. In theory, you have four HitPoints, though it is debatable how far you could go with only the weak weapon.

Third, the soundtrack is a bit unconventional. Instead of just a song for all the bosses, each boss has a remixed version of the song for the stage you just went through. There's a strong jazz influence to the soundtrack, believe it or not. It also has some of the best 16-bit drums you'll ever hear.

Fourth, the bosses. This game has some awesome bosses.

!!This game contains examples of:
* AIIsACrapshoot: The FinalBoss scans your ship, then sends out multiple evil clones of them at you. They follow your every vertical movement as well as firing their primary/secondary weapon whenever you fire yours, making it look like a nightmare to avoid. Hint: What happens if you ''don't'' fire?
* AllThereInTheManual: While it's renamed to Corliss in the English version, the homeworld you see destroyed in the intro was originally named Mother. Only knowable through the soundtrack, the third level's song is titled "Mother" suggesting it is the same planet being being colonized by enemy machines following the holocaust. The credits song that wraps up the conflict is "Return to Mother" implying it will one day recover.
* AttackItsWeakPoint: Almost all the bosses have a weak spot that you have to aim for if you want to cause damage to them.
* BattleshipRaid: The first part of stage 6.
* BeamSpam: the Needle Cracker weapon
* BossRemix: The boss themes are darker remixes of the stage themes.
* BossWarningSiren: The game has an audible warning siren when approaching a stage boss.
* BreakableWeapons: Every time you get hit, you lose a weapon! If you are hit without any weapon equipped, you die.
* ChickenWalker: The second boss, "Towbar," and the invincible walker inside the final battleship..
* CollisionDamage: Hitting anything "solid," i.e., not a bullet, results in instant death.
** Slightly subverted in that upon dying either way, the explosion of your ship and the shrapnel that fly out of it do significant amounts of damage to anything they touch, so the enemies are subject to it as well.
* ContinuingIsPainful: Averted. When you die, you get all your weapons back.
* ContinuousDecompression: The MiniBoss of the final stage uses this on you- its CombatTentacles rip apart the spaceship walls, causing a vacuum to '''quickly''' suck you to the walls where you meet your doom via CollisionDamage.
* CriticalAnnoyance: If you lose all three weapons, an alarm will trigger. This is caused by the automatic weapon switch that can't find a usable weapon, and it may be shut off with the manual weapon select.
* DifficultySpike: The first five stages are a mere harm-up. Just wait until you get to the last one...
** May the game have mercy on you if you're playing on [[HarderThanHard Hardest/Expert]]
* DoingItForTheArt: The ''VideoGame/ChronoTrigger'' of shooters, though not nearly as well-known.
* DownTheDrain: Stage 4.
* EleventhHourSuperpower: The Wind Laser, which shoots out 4 red laser beams above and below your ship that can either fly straight, spread apart or cross each other in front of your ship depending on its horizonal movement and which pierce all enemies and obstacles. [[BreakableWeapons If you manage to keep it]], that is.
* EternalEngine: Last part of stage 6, arguably stage 2.
* EvilIsVisceral: The final part of the FinalBoss is some freakish organic alien thing.
* FatalFamilyPhoto: If the player fails to complete the game, then the locket with the photo would be this.
* FloatingContinent: Stage 1.
* GatlingGood: The Round Vulcan. Probably one of the most original weapons in any ShootEmUp, it fires two rapid streams of initial backward shots that rotate and aim forward as the player holds the fire button.
* [[GiantSpider Giant]] SpiderMech: Arachnatron, The boss of stage 1.
* HarderThanHard: The difficulty levels are "Easy," "Normal," "Hard," and "Hardest/Expert."
** The last difficulty can be only played after you beat the game in the "Hard" difficulty, as if the game weren't difficult enough...
* HeWasRightThereAllAlong: The fourth boss, some organic ''thing'' hanging on the ceiling that drops down into the water and fights the player.
* HomingProjectile: You receive the needle cracker on Stage 3, which automatically adjust their aim after firing. The enemy starts using them on Stage 4, although the missiles stop homing after a short travel time. Homing projectiles cause a OneHitKill, and become more dangerous on Stage 6.
* HumongousMecha: The boss for stage 2. It's got a Franchise/{{Robocop}}-ish look to it, too.
* ItsUpToYou: Justified. In-Universe, your ship is the last surviving craft capable of attacking the enemy.
* JustifiedTutorial: The start of stage 1. Very early on, you'll fight a group of ships that encircle the character, then close in, forcing you to learn how to use the Round Vulcan. Immediately after a few waves of those ships, you'll be faced off with a big one that has invulnerable shields in front, which the explosions from your Macro Missiles can bypass...
* LethalLavaLand: Stage 5.
* LightningCanDoAnything: The boss in stage 4 uses it to change your weapons involuntarily.
* MacrossMissileMassacre: the Macro Missiles, in a way. The ClusterBomb would count if it didn't fire straight down.
* MementoMacGuffin: Seen in the beginning and end of the game, carried by the pilot.
* MirrorBoss: Sort of, the FinalBoss will scan your ship and send out [[AIIsACrapShoot evil clones]] of your character. These enemy Axelays will move vertically with you, as well as shoot their primary/secondary weapon whenever you do. It would be quite a big problem to come out unscathed, if not for the fact that [[spoiler: the evil clones ''won't'' attack if you do not fire at all]].
* MookMaker: Lots of them- the [[GiantSpider 1st boss]], the mini carrier ships in the second level, the fly spawners as well as the boss in the fourth, as well as the FinalBoss.
* MoreDakka: The boss in stage 3 does this.
** Also the [[ThatOneBoss last one]] to an higher extent, for obvious reasons.
* NinjaPirateZombieRobot: The boss for stage 5 is a giant cyborg lava ogre. [[CrowningMomentofAwesome AWESOME]]. So awesome, in fact, it was featured on the cover art.
* OneBulletAtATime: The threshold is high and varies per weapon.
* OneHitPointWonder: Averted. You get four hit points, in theory, unless your ship hits something like the walls or an enemy, in which case you die instantly.
* OutrunTheFireball: After you destroy the final boss, you must escape from the [[LoadBearingBoss self-destructing]] base! But [[NotQuiteDead if you think you're just gonna fly out of there]]...
* PersonalSpaceInvader: Stage 4 has those amoeba-like things that stick to your ship and weigh it down. Shake them off by mashing the directional buttons.
* RammingAlwaysWorks: If you have the lives to spare, and you're all out of special weapons, go for it. See CollisionDamage above.
* SequelHook: Beating the game on its hardest difficulty level gives you this. But [[MemeticMutation the miracle never happen]].
* ShoutOut - Stage 2 has a definite [[Anime/MobileSuitGundam Gundam]] influence, and stage 4 looks a bit like ''Manga/NausicaaOfTheValleyOfTheWind''.
* SubsystemDamage: Getting hit by enemy fire will only damage whatever weapon module you currently have equipped, disabling it until you lose a life or finish the stage. Your ship will only be destroyed if you receive CollisionDamage or if you only have a damaged subweapon selected when you get hit by enemy fire.
* ThemeMusicPowerUp: An extended version of the "Stage Clear" theme plays as you [[OutrunTheFireball escape from the exploding base]] and confront the FinalBoss's final form.
* TriumphantReprise: The opening of the game depicts the invading armada laying waste to planets in the system while set to a somber, hopeless dirge before moving on to the main theme tune. The opening half of Stage 6 (the final stage) reprises the dirge and remixes it into a "heroic comeback" theme.
* TurnsRed: Stage 3 boss ("Regenertoid") first appears to be very small. When its {{Attack Drone}}s are wasted, it becomes a much larger and fires a lot of flak. When that it damaged, it increases size again to become a battleship. The manual calls it "an ominous machine that grows when attacked".
* WallMaster: Stage 4 has a few enemies hiding in a pod, who spring out when you get too close. It's not a good idea to kill them, though, as they'll spawn the amoeba-things (see PersonalSpaceInvader) when destroyed.
* [[WhyDidItHaveToBeSnakes Why Did It Have To Be Spiders?]]: [[AllThereInTheManual According to the manual]], the first boss [[GiantSpider Arachnatron]] was "engineered to intimidate the enemy so much that they freeze up from fear".