Imagine a cross between Impossible Mission and Kung-Fu Master and you have something similar to The Fifth Axis.
The plot revolves around the evil Professor Chronos who has used a time machine to create paradoxes in time. This meddling has caused time to loop back on itself and caused the fifth axis.
The professor and his machine have exploded in time and started a chain of events that will lead to the destruction of everything we hold near and dear.
It is your job to return through time and restore all the ancient artefacts that the professor has collected over the years to their correct time. You must also return the bits of the time machine to your own time. Fail in your quest... and time itself will disintegrate.
The game is a four way scrolling ladders and ramps game. Your character is able to run along different levels of the professor's lab to find the ancient artefacts. In each level of the lab there are various holes and lifts. A lift takes you up a level and a hole drops you down - though dropping too far will result in your life force diminishing. Holes can occasionally be bridged by finding keys that lie around the lab.
It sounds easy but there are guard robots that make things difficult. These must be fought or pushed down holes. This is where the game starts to look like Kung-Fu Master, as your character can fight very furiously indeed.
All the time that you are fighting off robots, your fifth axis is increasing. This is a score that shows the current percentage of normality that exists. A 100% fifth axis results in the end of the game. Every 10% gives you the chance to travel back in time to recover another part of the machine. Now you enter a different game in which you try to avoid being killed too often - a bit reminiscent of Aztec Challenge, this bit.
The game's graphics are good and fast, with the little man being superbly animated in a similar manner to Impossible Mission. This makes for a challenging game.