So Athena's bored and decides to have an adventure. She opens a door in the basement of her castle, The Door Which Must Not Be Opened, and it leads to the World of Forest. She'll proceed through a number of themed worlds on her adventure, until... well, I don't exactly know. I've never finished Athena. And that may be one of the reasons for the Athena dislike that's out there: it's extremely difficult and wears its unforgiving nature on its sleeve. It's also very obtuse, with zero in-game explanation of mechanics and almost as little in the manual. If you don't do things exactly right, you'll end up teleported back to the beginning of the level. Or trapped in a fight with a boss that you can't damage. Or stuck in front of a breakable wall you can't break.
Again: I acknowledge that these are things you don't expect from good videogames, and I'm not really defending these decisions. But partially because of them, Athena has always had an air of mystery about it for me.
What can Athena do? She has two heights of jump, a short jump and then if you jump again quickly a higher jump. There's enough time to do two of these high jumps, if you don't dawdle, but wait too long and you'll miss the window and go back to the short jump:
She'll need all that life, too, because enemies are dangerous and they suffer from questionable hit detection. Also, Athena isn't the most mobile Greek goddess around, and if she has managed to acquire an upgrade of some kind, dipping below a certain health threshold will cause her to lose it. By destroying blocks (which not every weapon can do), you'll uncover a number of other items, most of which have unobvious or subtle effects, and some of which, like the original Japanese Super Mario Bros 2's Poison Mushroom, are detrimental to collect. Oh, and she can get poisoned from both items and certain enemies.
|Note the blue life bar. I got slimed!|
Next time: the World of Forest!