Axis Assassin

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Axis Assassin
Game No. 268
Voting 5.43 points, 14 votes
Developer John Field
Publisher Electronic Arts
Release 1983
Platform C64, Apple II, Atari
Genre Shoot'em Up
Gamemode Single player
Operation Icon Port2.pngJoystick Keyboard
Media Datassette Diskette
Language Language:english

Description[edit | edit source]

Axis Assassin is a shooter by Electronic Arts from 1983. In this shooter based on Atari's arcade machine Tempest it is the player's task to endure as long as possible against the "Master Arachnid" - a gigantic spider creature - and its hordes of insect-like robots. The happening takes places on a pseudo 3D display game area which is divided into three tracks on which the "Axis Assassin" controlled by the player can move to the left an right as well as the "depth" of the screen. Hordes of attackers storm towards him, that need to be fended off with generous covering with permanent fire from all pipes. If a certain number of enemies is eliminated, the Master Arachnid appears and starts to flood the net with silk. But if the player still makes it to hit the chief spider, he will get sucked into the next level and the shooting will go on there with increased difficulty.

At the start the player has three screen lives and each a smartbomb per level to be able to kill all enemies at once. You can get extra lives by risky manoeuvres, at which you ignite a smart bomb shortly after you have shot the Master Arachnid. You are then teleported into the spider's nest and have to try to rescue a cocooned Axis Assassin from the claws of the Master Arachnid. For this the cocoon needs to be shot open and the captive has to be collected without touching one of the numerous guards of the nest or the spider itself. Furthermore there is more pressure due to a time limit.

Design[edit | edit source]

As the Tempest machine was a vector graphics game and the C64 has its problems with the fast display of vector graphics - as it is well-known - a trick was again used here and clad bitmap graphics serve as vector graphics. The degree of abstraction of the original was kept, so that simple geometric shapes dominate, the design of the Master Arachnid is the most elaborate graphic that you will see in the game. The reason why only four colours were used might be that one is dealing with a quasi 1:1 port of a game originally written for the Apple II. The sound underlines this impression: next to different versions of white noises there is only unspectacular peeping and cheeping. Furthermore one notices well the jerky movement patterns of the enemy and a well noticeable slow-down of the action when a lot is going on on the screen, e.g. at the end of a level when the chief spider appears.

"Hell is empty, devils are here!" (Shakespeare, The Tempest)
Jerky rescue is on the way.
The same in red and faster.

Hints[edit | edit source]

Controls[edit | edit source]

In all directions: controlling the Axis Assassin, in the title screen choose the starting screen
press fire button: Fire at will!

Keys[edit | edit source]

  • Space : ignite smart bomb (1x per level)

Others[edit | edit source]

  • Before the main programme is loading, you can set the difficulty grade by deciding for one of the three spiders.
  • Before the start of the game you can set the starting net with the joystick.
  • You cannot shoot the harvestman robot at the beginning of a screen.
  • Silk threads block the own movements and give cover to the enemies.
  • If you ignite the smart bomb to get into the spider's nest, all the enemies that were still on the net before the explosion are also sucked into the nest.
  • If you shoot by mistake on the Master Arachnid, further attackers are let loose.
  • When the time limit in the spider's net runs out this is not dangerous, the rescue mission is only aborted.

Solution[edit | edit source]

  • Instantly shoot away all silk threads, as the own free moving space is else heavily limited.
  • The rescue mission is very difficult, one should consider if he really wants to take the risk.
  • If attackers get to the basic line and start to patrol up and down on it, you have to move a bit up, turn around and fire until the track is free again.

Cheats[edit | edit source]

None known.

Voting[edit | edit source]

Voting of the C64-Wiki users (10=the best vote):
5.43 points at 14 votes (rank 913).
You need to be logged in to cast a vote.
C64Games 5 18th March 2011 - "satisfying" - 2111 downs
Lemon64 5,7 18th March 2011 - 16 votes 8,0 18th March 2011 - 1 vote
Happy Computer no vote Issue 06/84
ZZap64 70% Issue 11/85

Reviews[edit | edit source]

Robotron2084: "This early attempt of a Tempest copy is despite its additional features in my opinion a clear fail. What is left from the rapid action of the model is only a poor tired copy with unprecise collision query and permanent slowdowns, which looks quite tolerable but simply gets unplayable in the higher levels due to these deficits. You just cannot react precisely due to the jerking of the enemies, as you never know exactly, when and where the strange collision query will strike again, the whole thing degrades more to a gamble than a reaction test. Here a mess was made on the technical side, because such a game has to have fluent movements or else it is no good. Also the nice crazy sounds of the original game degenerated to a mixture of chattering and snuffling, this sounds more like a high speed steam train than a space shooter....sad. From all games by Electronic Arts from the early dars, Axis Assissin is for me definitely the rotten egg in the basket, I at best like the very stylish-made cover, the game is well forgettable. 4 out of 10 points."

TheRyk: "Nothing against vector graphic shooters, but this one is so terribly flawed that I'd almost call it trash. For its time, you might rate it as barely playable, 3 out of 10."

Miscellaneous[edit | edit source]

Screenshot comparison of different conversions[edit | edit source]

Apple II version.

Video[edit | edit source]

Some highlights from the game.

Cover[edit | edit source]


Diskette[edit | edit source]


Cassette[edit | edit source]


Highscore[edit | edit source]

Topscore of Robotron2084
  1. Robotron2084 - 235.050 (24.04.2011)
  2. Equinoxe - 219.400 (20.04.2011)
  3. TheRyk - 61.800 (07.12.2012)
  4. Ivanpaduano - 59.250 (26.02.2019)
  5. Equinoxe Junior - 47.400 (08.09.2011)

#2 Equinoxe #3 TheRyk
#2 Equinoxe #3 TheRyk

Links[edit | edit source]