Title: Golden Axe
System: Sega Genesis
While a 2d side scrolling brawler in a time with a great number of them, Golden Axe stands out. Ultimately becoming a larger series, it offered some unique game play and was something that was fairly challenging to beat on just quarters. Many did not beat it until they got their console version.
The land of Yuria has been invaded by Death Adder, a ruler with an iron fist, who seized the throne with the Golden Axe. Now, three brave warriors are rising up to challenge Death Adder and free the land.
The story in-game is told with written notes as a quill sketches out what is happening on a map of the world. While still very simple, it is fairly compelling.
The game offers three playable characters, each with their own attack styles and magic attacks.
The Fighter, Ax Battler is more physically oriented and has a short, 6 jar, magic bar. His Magic attack is an increasingly powerful ground based explosives. He special attack is a quick turn-about and overhead slash. His dash attack is a shoulder tackle.
The Amazon, Tyris Flare is more magically oriented, with a long magic bar, at 9 jars, and perhaps the most powerful magical attack in the game. She special is almost identical to Ax’s, as she turns around, spins her blade above her head and brings it down on the enemy behind her. Her dash attack is a fly jump kick.
The Dwarf, Gillus Thunderhead is the most physical of the trio with a very short, 4 jar, magic bar. Having a wide sweeping opening attack, gives him a little better range than most of the other characters. He also attacks the fastest of the three characters. His Special attack has him roll a short distance, attacking, then rolling back. He alternates which direction he rolls each time, so once, left, then right, then left etc. His dash attack is a head butt.
With the console version, there are two new modes added to the game: Beginner and The Duel. Beginner offers a short version of the game, ending after three stages and a fight with Death Adder Jr. The Duel allows two players to go head-to-head, but in single player mode, this lets you take on twelve of Death Adder’s top soldiers. Each fight will be harder than the last.
What makes Golden Axe stand out among all its contemporaries were its rids-able beast. In numerous stages you would find enemies on beast-back that you could un-sit and then take control of their mount. While on the mount, you did not take damage and it usually gave you a good advantage in combat as well. While you could get dismounted yourself, it gave a nice little reprieve in a very brutal game.
The console version offered an improved multiplayer section over the arcade. Just like the arcade, the game supports two players co-op for the main story. The newer mode, The Duel, allows players to go head to head with their characters.
This game is fairly simple to get the hang of. Double tapping allows dashing and you have a dash attack. The magic system is keyed to one button, making for easy use. Attacking is simple, as the characters all have a basic attack chain to take out enemies. Each character also has a unique special attack triggered by hitting Jump and Attack at the same time. Some are harder to use than others.
These are alright. While the Genesis could certainly handle it well, it was not completely up to par with what the system became known for. Still, the magic attack animations are very well done and deserving of note.
Sound Effects & Music
These can get a little annoying. While definitely it fits to the classical time, the tracks get a little old as it does not change much over the course of the game. The sound effects that are there are okay for the time. It gets very annoying listening to the same death sound effect for everything one takes out.
While a classic Sega Genesis game, this will more so be known by Gamers and others who liked to check out the arcades and game rental stores for Genesis.
This I clearly remember as one of those arcade games that I needed a good bit of money for. The enemies were decently tough and the game has some good length to it as well. This might not be one of my favorite side-scrolling brawlers but it certainly is a good one.
Story: 82% Builds nicely.
Gameplay: 86% A bit of variety in style.
Multiplayer: 88% 2 modes, pretty good.
Controls: 92% Very easy to learn, do not miss out on much.
Graphics: 74% So-so.
SFX & Music: 74% So-so.
Obscurity: 60% Wait, you’re not talking about Beast Rider?
Overall: 86% Decent beat ‘em up brawler.