Genesis Reviews

Golden Axe

Genre: Hack-‘N-Slash Developer: Sega Enterprises Publisher: Sega Enterprises 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.

SCORE: 8 out of 10



  1. I have never been a fan of Golden Axe. The series never really evolved and the first, while a good port, did not strike me as the classic it is often touted. Slow and clunky, but funny for the camp factor. So I’d say I’m in the boat that thinks Golden Axe sucks. I prefer the first Streets of Rage to this one, as far as beat-em-up debuts go. 5/10

  2. Golden Axe was a decent port of an Arcade favorite of mine…..A Score of 8 out of 10 is a little high IMHO but I view this game as a 7 out of 10. I too prefer Golden Axe II and would rate that one the as an 8 or 9 out of 10 and consider it the best of the 3 editions of Golden Axe.

  3. One of the best games for the genesis!
    Seriously better when teaming with a friend! Epic!

  4. It hasn’t aged very well, and isn’t that good to be honest. But I like the theme and it works well for two. I like the sequel more though.

  5. Though I prefer Part 2, the game is pretty good, and held up rather well. It also holds a special place in my heart for being one of the first four Mega Drive games I had, and out of those (the other being Super Real BAsketball, Klax and Castle of Illusion) it was my favorite.

  6. One of my favorite Genesis games of all time! Sega added more levels and the duel mode, which made this the console’s killer app before Sonic arrived. Playing this with a friend, with the stereo pumped up, was just an awesome experience back in the day.

  7. Golden Axe is a long time favorite for me. I’m really surprised to hear people call it boring. That has never crossed my mind.
    This is the kind of game that give you a set of tools and lets you figure out strategies that work for you.
    Between Slashing, jumping, running, dash attack, magic, mounts, jump down attacks and spinning back attacks you’ve got a large variety of different approaches for each situation. There are even regular environmental situations that allow you to try and knock an enemy off a ledge or even trick them into falling off.
    I was never a fan of changing the color of an enemy to indicate that it’s a tougher version but despite this Golden Axe did a great job with the variety of foes and the combination of these enemies that it would throw at you.
    This is an AWESOME game! My only real complaint is that is was too short. Even though it was longer than the arcade version.
    9/10 Easy Verdict

  8. Yeah I’m gonna have to jump on this too, I always found this game to be pretty mediocre at best. Streets of Rage is much, much better. 5/10 from me, nothing interesting to see here.

  9. I agree with Baloo, this is a very boring game for sure and I’m a fan of Beat’em Ups too. The sequel is unfortunately not much better either.

  10. Golden Axe is one of the most boring beat-em-ups ever. Enough said!

  11. This is one of my favorite multiplayer games on the console. I love the sound effects, and music, reminds me of what an arcade would sound like. Also like the dragon that comes down and clears the screen for you when you are Tygris, awesome!. This game was not meant to be played alone, and I prefer to play it with an arcade stick.

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