Genre: Hack-’N-Slash Developer: Sega of Japan Publisher: Sega of America Players: 1-2 Released: 1989
Golden Axe was released in 1989 and can best be described as Streets of Rage with mythological characters. There are three characters to choose from: a male warrior, a female warrior, and an elf. The gist of the story goes like this: Dark Adder is Evil and is killing off people, it is your job to stop him and bring his evil tactics to a halt. Now then, without further ado, let’s get onto the review.
There are two modes of play in Golden Axe: arcade mode and battle mode. Arcade mode pits you against the minions of the evil Dark Adder in numerous levels. This mode is identical to the arcade game; you go through numerous levels vanquishing enemies of various types. You can use magic to aid you, or you can just beat the crap out of everyone a la Streets of Rage or Final Fight. This mode is a blast to play and is simple, mindless fun. Battle mode is a rather unique (for its time) one-on-one fighting mode pitting you against one of Dark Adder’s many minions. This mode can be really fun in small doses, but I wouldn’t recommend spending hours on it, or else you’ll get sick of it.
The control is very responsive and is never sluggish. Sometimes, it’s a little too responsive though. Case in point: doing combo moves. The sensitive control may lead you to do a move that you didn’t want to do. Thankfully, this is the only control issue in the game, and it isn’t all that major because you’ll still do damage no matter what.
The character designs were pretty cool for their time (hey, who can’t love a game with an elf in it?), and they were all well-detailed and rather large in stature. Even the enemies in the game have tons of detail; you’ll be able to distinguish snouts on some of the enemies, as well as mouths. This might not sound like much now, but then it was amazing (it still is actually). The in-game environments were beautiful, and all of them featured a unique look and feel that set them apart from the rest, and they were all full of tiny touches that added to the level.
The music fits the game’s mythological theme perfectly, and all of the songs have a heroic sound to them. The sound effects are for the most part excellent, but some make no sense (the attacking sound is just one example). Thankfully, the excellent music more than makes up for some sub-par sound effects.
Golden Axe is packed to the gills with replay value because it’s always a blast to play. You’ll probably never want to beat the game more than a few times with each character, but no matter what, it’s always fun to plow through a few levels just for old time’s sake. The battle mode adds another link to the chain and is also a tons of fun. That is, as long as you don’t expect a ton of depth and you take the mode for what it was: a fun little add-on.
Overall, Golden Axe is a must-buy game for any owner of a Genesis. It’s got great graphics and sound, exquisite control, and, most importantly, fun and addictive gameplay that will keep you glued to your seat for years to come.
Golden Axe is one of the finest purchases you could make for the Nomad. The screen’s blurring causes no problems, except with the game’s credits (horrid credit text is a universal problem with the Nomad.) The game’s controls are still great, and the gameplay is as addictive as it ever was.