Faxanadu (ファザナドゥ, Fazanadu?) is a platform adventure game for the Nintendo Family Computer (Famicom) and the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES). The name was licensed by computer game developer Nihon Falcom ("Falcom") and was developed and released in Japan by Hudson Soft in 1987. In 1989, Nintendo of America released the game as a first-party title in the US under license from Falcom and Hudson Soft. Nintendo also released the game to the European market in 1990. Faxanadu can be considered a side-story of Xanadu, which is the second installment of Falcom's long-running RPG series, Dragon Slayer. The title Faxanadu is a portmanteau formed from the names Famicom and Xanadu.
The player-controlled protagonist of Faxanadu is an unidentified wanderer. He has no name, though the Japanese version allows the player to choose one. The game begins when he approaches Eolis, his hometown, after an absence to find it in disrepair and virtually abandoned. He meets with the Elven king, who urges him to set forth and restore the realm's prosperity by defeating a being known as The Evil One. As the story unfolds, it is revealed that Elves and Dwarves lived in harmony among the World tree until The Evil One emerged from a fallen meteorite. The Evil One then transformed the Dwarves into monsters against their will and set them against the Elves. The Dwarf King, Grieve, swallowed his magical sword before he was transformed, hiding it in his own body to prevent The Evil One from acquiring it. It is only with this sword that The Evil One can be destroyed. The game takes place across three ascending worlds made to resemble the World Tree's sections: one covered in a fungus-like substance (the roots), one enveloped by poison mist (the interior of the trunk), and one that resembles the tree's branches.
Players guide the hero through a screen-by-screen series of fields, towns, and dungeons. The hero can walk, jump, and climb ladders — all typical characteristics of a platform game. Along the way, he may also purchase usable items with Gold, equip and use bladed weapons against enemies, equip armor, and cast magic projectiles. In addition, he can access information regarding the game's events by speaking with townsfolk or by consulting other sources. The limits of physical damage the hero can sustain from enemies is tracked by a life bar, and the magical power he can exert is tracked by a magic bar. These are listed on the top of the screen along with total experience, total Gold, Time (for items with a timed duration), and the currently held item. When the hero defeats an enemy, it usually leaves behind Gold or life-giving food, and the hero gains a set amount of experience. Experience points help increase the hero's experience Rank (see below). Occasionally, an enemy will also drop an item, some of which activate specific effects when touched and some of which can be stored for later use. Unlike the saved game system used in the Famicom version, the NES version utilizes a password system, allowing players to stop and restart their journeys by entering a sequence of upper and lower case letters, numbers, and punctuation marks. Passwords, or "mantras" as they are known in the game, can be obtained from church-dwelling Gurus. Gurus also bestow Ranks to the hero when he meets certain experience totals; these determine the amounts of experience and Gold a player will possess upon resuming a game via password. Because of its use of statistics, reliance on story, thematic basis upon Medieval fantasy, and provision of interactive NPCs, many observers have classified Faxanadu as an adventure role-playing game.
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