Rediscover the roots of SNK’s Athena on PS4 and Switch

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Athena’s name is magic…

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The first of Hamster’s retro re-releases this week looks at the origins of one of SNK’s most popular heroines, goddess warrior Athena, often muddled with KoF’s Athena Asamiya, but we’ll get to that.

Princess Athena is the heroine of 1986 arcade classic Athena, now made available on PS4 and Nintendo Switch. A basic but cute-and-colourful arcade adventure, Athena sees the bikini-clad young warrior battle through fantasy-themed stages, negotiating platforms and defeating enemies. Athena can bag various pieces of armour and new weaponry to aid her in battle against a series of domineering bosses, en route to a face-off with the evil Emperor Dante in the bowels of the underworld.

An incredibly popular release in Japan at the time, Athena became quite the ’80s pop-culture icon. She would eventually be referenced in later releases Psycho Soldier and the King of Fighters series, where pop-idol Athena Asamiya is depicted as a sort-of “distant descendant” of the original princess – though still dons her relative’s classic looks from time to time.

As a game, Athena is a little dated today, but it’s still a neat piece of SNK history. If you want to check it out, it’s available now on PS4 in Japan and Nintendo Switch worldwide, priced around $8.

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Chris Moyse
Senior Editor - Chris has been playing video games since the 1980s and writing about them since the 1880s. Graduated from Galaxy High with honors. Twitter: @ChrisxMoyse