Follow TV Tropes


Video Game / Faxanadu

Go To

"Unlock doors of legend on your journey through Faxanadu."
— Back of the box

Faxanadu is a 1987 Side View Action-Adventure Role-Playing Game for the NES. It is considered a side story for the Dragon Slayer series of videogames and is actually a port/spinoff of the PC88 game Dragon Slayer II: Xanadu (Faxanadu being a portmanteau name of Famicom Xanadu).

The game features the adventure of a nameless elf who returns to his home town of Eolis to find it depopulated and overrun by monsters. After a visit to the local church and the King, the hero is tasked by the King to infiltrate the "World Tree" and awaken three springs of pure water. Afterwards, The Hero is sent to the higher branches of the World Tree to locate and defeat the Evil One, the hideous monster responsible for the invasion of the towns.

The hero can equip different types of items: Weapons, armor, shield, and miscellaneous that can be used directly in the overworld map. He can learn magic as well, and use different spells with different attributes and effects to attack enemies.

Was featured in a couple episodes of Captain N: The Game Master.

Hello. I sell tropes. What would you like?

  • Adam Smith Hates Your Guts: Prices increase as you progress along the game. The town of Conflate, for example, has meat more expensive than full healing earlier in the game.
  • Alien Invasion: The Evil One is heavily implied to be an alien who came to the world on a "meteorite" and is corrupting the Dwarves to do his bidding. He even looks like another famous Alien.
  • All There in the Manual: The structure of the overworld, as well as the nature of the Evil One, are only barely hinted in the game but far better explained in the game manual's imagery.
  • Ambidextrous Sprite
  • Big Bad: The Evil One is the monster behind the invasion of the towns by his corrupted Dwarves.
  • Bookends: The game begins with the hero arriving at his hometown in a destroyed state, and ends with him leaving it, the town restored with waterfalls flowing and grass green again.
  • Department of Redundancy Department: The manual has some of this, like "Keys (5 Types): You need these to open doors. There are fives types." Or "Things That Can Be Used As Soon As They Are Picked Up: These are effective as soon as they are picked up."
  • Disc-One Nuke: The Magic Shield (the second strongest shield in the game) or the aptly named Death spell (about eight times as powerful as the basic spell) can be acquired as early as the second town. This can be accessed by patient cash farming, or backtracking with the mattock.
  • Doomed Hometown: The starting town is the player's hometown; by the time the game begins the town is already "overrun by monsters" according to the first encountered NPC who goes on to announce that "the end is near."
  • Elves vs. Dwarves: If only because the Evil One turned the Dwarves into psychotic monsters. This is actually discussed at some point early in the game.
  • Equipment-Based Progression: You gain experience points and levels throughout your quest, but they only determine how much gold you get when you resume your quest after dying or using a password. You can only improve your combat prowess by buying or finding new equipment as you progress through the game.
  • Flip-Screen Scrolling
  • Informed Equipment: Averted. Equipping different armour changes the character sprite, and equipping a shield shows it on your character. The different weapons all have a different look as well.
  • Interchangeable Antimatter Keys: Locked doors can only be opened by a specific type of key. The keys are named after the face cards in a deck of cards: J(ack), Q(ueen), K(ing), A(ce), and Jo(ker), but the keys are all cut the same (any Jack key will open any Jack door), and they're all one-use-only. The only unique key in the game is the Joker key, of which you can only have one (though you can get a replacement if needed), and which only opens one door in the game.
  • Interface Screw: One boss enemy is faced in a room that only exists for this purpose. It is possible to accidentally exit the room if you try to cast spells while standing next to the door.
  • Invincibility Power-Up: "I am free from injury because of the Ointment!" Probably due to a bug, it prevented magic damage only when the player had NOT equipped a Shield. It was still possible to bypass this limitation by flinging the sword at the right moment.
  • It's Up to You: For some reason, even though you've only just returned to your hometown after a long journey abroad, you are the last hope of the elves.
  • It's All Upstairs From Here: You start the game at the base of the World Tree, and spend the majority of the game scaling it.
  • Magic Knight: Your basic skill set includes a bladed weapon of some kind and a magic spell.
  • Meaningful Name: The tower mazes, which feature names such as the Tower of Suffer.
  • Metroidvania: A world map considered in-game to be of gigantic proportions comprising the town of Eolis, the World Tree and the Fortress of the Evil One. There's very little backtracking, though (for example, once you progress from the base of the World Tree and into the misty interior, you will not need to go back to the base, although you can).
  • Mood Whiplash: the beginning of the game starts off as a very action-oriented side-scroller, with clear left-to-right progression and lively music. Once you reactivate the three springs and open the Q(ueen) key door, the game world gets much darker, as you're in the smoke-filled interior of the World Tree, and the music becomes much more mysterious and somber, and progression becomes much less straightforward. The sudden transition takes only seconds and can be very jarring.
  • Monster Town: Below one of the towers are a set of houses inhabited by enemies; a nearby somewhat hidden NPC reveals it used to be part of the nearby town.
    • Also a bit of a Kaizo Trap: your weapon and magic are disabled indoors, whether there's a monster in there or not. When you go into the rooms to investigate, you have no way of fighting back.
  • No Smoking: Curiously averted, given Nintendo's otherwise iron-fisted censorship. Several NPC characters can be seen smoking in the towns you visit.
    • Particular odd when you see elves smoking cigarettes.
  • Not Completely Useless: The Hour Glass, a time-freezing item which caused some minor glitches in some parts of the game, is particularly useful against the Final Boss: It prevents him from firing projectiles.
    • It does the same against the Dwarf King Dragon Boss too! Since there is an Hour Glass spawn in the dungeon you find him in, one could argue that this mechanic might be intended. The bosses might be immune to the magic, but their projectiles aren't. The last town also sells Hour Glasses, and items are usually only found/sold where they are meant to be used.
    • Winged Boots are required for one particular point in the game (reaching a spring in the sky at the base of the World Tree), but getting extra sets of boots makes platforming later in the game much easier, and completely removes the challenge of many towers by letting you skip entire sections.
  • Our Dwarves Are Different: In this game, they are eight-foot-tall gargoyles, though the game makes it clear that the monsters you face have been mutated.
  • Poison Mushroom: The overworld sprites for useful Potion and damaging Poison are much alike (see also Real Is Brown), causing some players to mistake one for the other and take a fatal poison in a moment when they are low in health.
  • Power-Up Letdown: Due to a programming error, the optional Pendant, which the hero can acquire in a Bonus Dungeon during a Side Quest, lowers attack power instead of raising it.
  • Real Is Brown: The games uses a particularly vivid color palette with an abundance of brown and red tints, especially in the upper branches of the World Tree. This gives the game a more realistic aura than some other games around its time. In contrast, the base of the World Tree uses a greener palette. As an unfortunate side effect, the browner palette makes it difficult to distinguish some items and enemies at certain screens during the second part of the game.
    • Justified since the World Tree is withering. The final scene shows it restored and green.
  • Save Point: The churches are a variation of save systems, as they give you a password, called a "mantra." The mantra depends on the player experience and stores the inventory, golds and the location of the furthest church the player has visited, which is the point the player is returned to when he continues.
    • The Mantras don't save your "Golds" (as the game calls them) per se. They, instead, reset your Golds level to a predefined amount based on your current level/rank. This can be exploited when you're low on cash — simply die on purpose or obtain a Mantra, reset the game, and enter it at the title screen to get money. Note that the King in the first town functions similarly. If you speak to him when you have exactly zero Golds remaining, he will act as if it's your first meeting, and give you enough Golds to buy some healing potions and/or keys.
  • Scrolling Text: Agonizingly slow, and accompanied by an annoying typewriter sound effect, and unskippable (if you push the button to skip, it actually cancels the conversation!).
  • Sword of Plot Advancement: The Dragon Slayer must be activated after the other parts of the mythical suits are collected for the last Guru to enable access to the final dungeons.
  • The Dragon: A literal one — the King of Dwarves was turned into a dragon-like creature.
  • Theme Naming: The different types of keys are named and shaped after the "letter cards" J(ack), Jo(ker), Q(ueen), K(ing), and A(ce).
  • Whole-Plot Reference: The plot, which centers on an evil meteorite causing the land to decay, borrows considerably from the H. P. Lovecraft story The Colour Out of Space.
  • World Tree: The setting of the majority of the game (actually, only the starting town and the Final Dungeon are not part of it).