At a Glance: Athena struggles to cure boredom in a spellbinding tale of suspense and intrigue with a surprise ending that left me breathless. Now you can relive her amazing game by curing your own boredom with this review. You'll totally feel like a Greek deity, I swear.
Platform: NES (Download Emulator here - 192k)
Download: Download ROM here - 70k
Game Plot: I am ATHENA. They call me the Goddess of Wisdom, but I have grown weary of my dull life in the castle. The Fantasy World beyond the castle walls beckons to me! Strange and fearsome creatures will attack me at every turn. But I will find weapons along the way: a ball and chain, a bow and arrow, or a mighty sword will be my defense! In the Fantasy World, I can put on wings and take to the sky, or become a mermaid to explore the ocean depths. There, the Goddess of Wisdom can become the Princess of Victory!
If SNK had listened to enough Tool cds to become as smart as Athena, they might've realized the irony of a quest for excitement that becomes boring as hell after 2 minutes when the novelty of fighting an endless supply of monsters that look like retarded muppets wears off. Also, if I remember my abridged picture version of the bible correctly, gods are supposed to be powerful and stuff. So what the fuck is the point of stabbing your enemies with a crappy sword the size of a popsicle stick when you can just turn them into pillars of salt and sprinkle them over some giant french fries that get eaten by a fat guy in a toga?
Weapons: Athena's genius arsenal of MENSA-approved weapons consists of a bow and arrow and a bunch of identical swords. Sadly, there's no highly innovative flamethrower like in Ubi Soft's unofficial sequel to this game starring the color brown. When Athena swings her sword she does an awesome dance move that most people don't even notice since her body is composed of roughly 20 pixels, 13 of which belong to her giant head.
Enemies: Trying to guess what the enemies in Athena are supposed to be could become the next party game craze to sweep the nation. Or at least that's what some 50-year-old women in my aunt's bridge club said in between filming scenes for a hilarious new summer comedy where they mistake Jason Biggs for a male stripper and then tell fart jokes for 2 hours. As a way of giving the readers who tell me I don't know shit about Nintendo games a chance to show off their incredible knowledge of Greek mythology and ultimately be called fags, I've created the following Athena enemies test. Remember that there are no wrong answers except for B which I probably made up while wearing a silly top hat and pretending to drunk.
C. tennis ball
D. write your own answer here
|A. evil chair
B. Charlton Heston
C. jelly bean nose
|A. mutant giraffe
|A. Mick Foley
C. bouncer for futuristic nightclub
Correct answers according to Athena manual:
Joss, Goober, Kat, Pablo, Davi, Momo.
The enemies are constantly breeding like rabbits just to the right of the screen, so you can stop pretty much anywhere in Athena and still kill hundreds of monsters just by taping down the B button. It's great if you hate jumping puzzles and just want to experience the sword simulation part of the game, which I must admit is executed nearly flawlessly.
Number of Levels: 6, but I was only enough of a Princess of Victory to see the first 2. It sort of makes me wish I'd have paid attention in mythology class instead of drawing pictures of candy mascots humping each other. Actually, no it doesn't. Those pictures were awesome, and if Athena is so smart, she should be able to beat her own damn game.
Number of Bosses: Here is a product that desperately needed the considerable amount of coolness a cyclops automatically adds to anything. If Gamspy's scathingly satirical Top 10 column did a list of the 10 worst ideas for a game, basing it on Greek mythology and not including the most obvious boss monster next to that giant snake thing and David Bowie would be #1, right above another zany, irreverent reference to Custer's Revenge that would probably make me say something like "Don't even go there, girlfriend."
Defining Moment: You can attempt to view all the ROMs on this site as tiny, imperceptible steps toward the perfect formula of giant breasts and lens flare effects that comprises games today, but even then Athena is still somehow in a world of its own. How Athena's head got so big or why there were indians in ancient Greece are just a few of the many mysteries of this game that will never be solved. My brain hurts whenever I attempt to imagine the mental conditioning that made kids in the 80's play this crap. Then I give the 80's kids a little more credit and conclude that the only people who bought Athena were Japanese perverts like this guy.
Each category in the rating system is based out of a possible -10 score (-10 being the worst). The overall score is based out of a possible -50 score (-50 being the worst).