In the wake of Super Mario Bros, side scrolling platformers with bright colorful graphics proliferated, and such mascots as Wonder Boy and Kid Niki were born to the arcades. So SNK made their contribution to this genre with Athena, a goddess of wisdom sporting purple hair and a red bikini, who grows bored with living in her castle and takes a plunge into a fantasy world where everything is trying to kill her. The many possible different weapons and armors lying hidden in the worlds are key to victory.
Athena was released as an Arcade Game in 1986, and ports to the NES, Commodore 64, and ZX Spectrum subsequently appeared. The former was the most known version but that doesn't mean is a good one, until in 2011 SNK Playmore released SNK Arcade Classics 0, a compilation for PlayStation Portable with all pre-Neo Geo games in which Arcade version of Athena was included.
While Athena's future descendant, Athena Asamiya, appeared in Psycho Soldier and The King of Fighters, the original Athena would not appear in another game until the 2000's, when she appeared as a Guest Fighter in SNK vs. Capcom: SVC Chaos and Neo Geo Battle Coliseum as well in various other games for handheld consoles, included a Sequel for mobile (Athena: Full Throttle) which include a new character and a lot of Omake, making similar sprites, gameplay and even artwork as a homage to the original title.
The Other Wiki has an article about this game here as well its sequel and Hardcore Gaming 101 dedicated a page for all the games related to this Athena (and Asamiya too) here. To see more about Athena Asamiya, the descendant of this Athena, take a look to Psycho Soldier and The King of Fighters.
Athena, its sequel and characters got these tropes appeared:
- All the Worlds Are a Stage: The final world is made up mostly of bits and pieces of the previous levels strung together, including the bosses.
- Allergic to Routine: Athena was bored of the monotonous daily life in the palace and desired exciting adventures, the main reason why she opened the Door Which Shouldn't Be Opened.
- American Kirby Is Hardcore: Bob Wakelin used Lisa Lyon◊ (a female bodybuilding pioneer) as the model for Athena for the game's cover art in the West.◊
- Baleful Polymorph: In SVC: Chaos, Athena can transform an opponent into an animal if she wins the fight.
- Bonus Boss: Her second appearance in a Fighting Game was in SNK vs. Capcom: SVC Chaos after fighting Shin Akuma or Serious Mr. Karate as the guardian of Heaven. Her Distaff Counterpart in the game is Red Arremer which is the guardian of Hell. Being the Final Boss, it's obvious to say in this game she's a SNK Boss.
- Boss Rush: The final stage has this.
- The Cameo:
- Apart of the multiple appearances in SNK artworks, she wouldn't get back until The King of Fighters 2000 as Athena Asamiya's Another Striker. Also as stage cameo in various KOF games like XI, '94 ReBout, Maximum Impact 2 and both Pachinko games.
- In handheld consoles, Athena also appears in all SNK vs. Capcom: Card Fighter Clash series as a Character Card and in the last Days of Memories game as "Athena Hatsushiro", a foreign cousin of Athena Asamiya.
- Comic-Book Adaptation: As part of the manual, Athena also has a comic book which serves as a prequel of the events occured in the game.
- Obviously based on the Goddess Athena from Classical Mythology. Also, various of the monsters in this game came from the same base, of course.
- The Final Boss of the first game, Dante, is based on legendary monster Cerberus.
- Helene, Athena's maid and Playable Character in Full Throttle is loosely based on Helene of Troy.
- Foil: Of Athena Asamiya, not just in her nature (a goddess and a normal girl with powers), also in the look both they have, almost like comparing a high-school girl with a swinsuit model.
- Genki Girl: Perhaps due to her godly nature, Athena does not age much through the centuries and retains the maturity of a teenager: enthusiastic, self-centered, and moody.
- Green Hill Zone: World of Forest, the first level.
- Here We Go Again!: The plot of Full Throttle was about this, again being bored of her normal life after going to "Fantasy World", now she opened the Door Which Shoudn't Be Opened: B, which leaded her to "Elysium World."
- Homage: The sequel Athena: Full Throttle is a homage to the first game, with gameplay, sprites and even artwork made in a similar way than the 1986 game.
- Guest Fighter: Apart of SVC, she's a Playable Character in Neo Geo Battle Coliseum.
- In-Name-Only: There's other SNK game called Athena: Awakening from the Ordinary Life, but that is starred by Athena Asamiya instead this Athena.
- Lady of War: Athena can fight demons not just armored or transformed, also with her hands and feet can defeat them.
- Mascot: Officially she was one of the first SNK mascots ever made, considering her success in The '80s.
- Ms. Fanservice/Stripperiffic: Fighting monsters and demons with just a red bikini is enough reason to get these tropes. Also Helene, a Rose-Haired Sweetie version of her, but also wears a bikini (a white one.)
- Passing the Torch:
- Pigeonholed Voice Actor: Haruna Ikezawa was the seiyuu who provided her voice to Athena in the first game, and later to her successor Athena Asamiya in Psycho Soldier and The King of Fighters. Not to mention she born in Athens and speaks greek fluidly.
- Poison Mushroom: Poison potions and broken hourglasses.
- Speak of the Devil: The "Door Which Shouldn't Be Opened" in the basement of Castle Victory, which leads to another realm called "Fantasy World", where the game happens. And this happens again in the sequel, when she opened the "Door Which Shouldn't Be Opened: B" which leads to "Elysium World".
- Timed Mission: Each stage has a time limit, which can be extended by picking up hourglasses.
- Title Drop: Being The Protagonist of the game, Athena is the official name for this game.
- Under the Sea: The World of Sea, where Athena needs a necklace to transform herself into a mermaid.
- Voluntary Shapeshifting: Thanks to certain MacGuffins in the game she can transform into different forms to pass the stages.
- Walking Swimsuit Scene: Athena's red swinsuit is probably one of the most iconic outfits in all SNK history, and probably in all Japanese video games ever.
- When Trees Attack: The boss of the first world.
- Widget Series: Athena, the goddess of wisdom, stripping down to her red bikini to go fight monsters and later having adventures at a Wizarding School. And then her descendant is a psychic Japanese schoolgirl. Yeah, this series is very Japanese.
- Wizarding School: The inmediately followed sequel of Full Throttle was "Winning Witch Academy", a game about new adventures for Athena and Helene in the latter's alma mater.
- You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Purple hair in the case of Athena. In the sequel, there's Helene, which is a Rose-Haired Sweetie.