the NES version can only be played by one player, who controls Astyanax. Like in the arcade version, the player has a life gauge, a strength gauge that fills automatically when Astyanax is not attacking, and a magic gauge for his spells. Also unlike the arcade version, the player can wield other weapons besides the default axe, as well as use different magic spells, which are selected by pausing the game.
By picking up a power-up, Astyanax’s weapon, the Bash, changes shape from its default axe form into a spear, which can be upgraded again into a sword. The spear has the weakest attack strength, but allows Astyanax to use his magic spells more often by consuming less magic points, while the sword can deal the most damage to enemies, but consumes the most magic points when casting a spell. The player will revert to the previous weapon after losing a life.
The player’s magic spells consist of a binding spell that temporarily freezes all enemies for a few seconds, a fire blast spell that damages all enemies within range and a thunderbolt spell that damages every enemy on-screen. Each spell consumes a different amount of magic points, with the binding spell consuming the least points, while the thunderbolt consumes the most.
Other power-ups include a power supply that extends the length of Astyanax’s power gauge (allowing for stronger axe swings), a wing that increases the refill speed of Astyanax’s power gauge, potions that restore the player’s health and magic and extra lives. Astyanax can also encounter Cutie throughout certain stages, who will offer to either change Astyanax’s weapon or refill his magic points.