Codex Gamicus

Athena (アテナ, Atena?) is a platform arcade game, produced and published in 1986 by SNK. It was later ported to the NES. The NES version was developed by Micronics. Only the NES version has been released in North America. Conversions were done for the ZX Spectrum, Commodore 64 and Amstrad CPC in 1987 by Ocean Software under their Imagine label.


Athena, Greek goddess of wisdom and defensive warfare, has grown bored with the luxurious life her fellow deities live on Olympus and sets out in search of adventure.


Athena is a selfish princess of the Kingdom of Victory, which inhabits a mysterious world. She was bored with the monotonous life day by day in her castle and desired exciting adventures. One day she opened the Door Which Shouldn't Be Opened in the basement of Castle Victory, and fell to another world called Fantasy World which was dominated by an evil emperor Dante, a creature based on Cerberus.

After Princess Athena defeated Dante (in the sequel Athena: Full Throttle), she is again bored with the peaceful days without adventures. This time she opens the Door Which Shouldn't Be Opened: B, disregarding the advice from her loyal maid Helene, and they both fall to the Elysium World to face a bunch of new villains.

The game features traditional RPG elements. Princess Athena has to beat the boss of each stage by using miscellaneous mythological weapons, equipments and items. Without some items, she can not make it through the adventures. Everything in the game is inspired by Greek mythology or ancient Roman culture including weapons, equipments, items and enemy designs. Needless to say, Athena herself is named after the Greek goddess Athena.

The NES port of Athena is considered one of the most difficult to finish in the NES library, due to its length, lack of mid-level checkpoints, and unforgiving play control. It has also received largely negative reviews from critics over the years due to poor programming, numerous glitches, and poorly designed features. Stan Stepanic of GameFreaks365 gave the NES port a dismal 4/10 in his review of the title, stating "Athena is by far one of the worst games for the NES. It's amazing how many qualities of this game are well below even the likes of a game like Action 52. This is just all-around terrible. There is nothing here that will interest anyone. It's a cool idea with some cool features that went horribly wrong in the programming of said features. I don't think I've ever seen this many mistakes and poorly programmed oddities in any licensed game, ever. Stay away".


After the first adventure, Princess Athena faded out of SNK's stages until fourteen years later, she appears as Athena Asamiya's Another Striker in KOF 2000.

Then she becomes the secret boss of the dream match game SVC Chaos: SNK vs. Capcom as an angelic being guarding the entrance to the Heaven World, which is supposed to be one of the stages of her arcade game. Contrarily, the Capcom character Red Arremer as another secret boss guards the entrance to the Hell World.

Due to her defeat (which is caused by player's character) in SVC Chaos, she is sent to Earth, the human world, by Kamisama for further training through the fighting tournament summoned by WAREZ in SNK Playmore's next dream match game Neo Geo Battle Coliseum as a playable hidden character. Although NGBC's background stories are exhaustively given to every character, it's not a canonical continuation to each game's own title, neither is SVC Chaos.

Also, apart of those titles, appears in the SNK vs. Capcom: Card Fighters Clash trading card game series, as an SNK character card or as an Action/Counter card, and, in Days Of Memories, She cameos in the final game as a foreign cousin to Athena Asimaya.

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