Game: "Golden Axe"
System: Sega Genesis
Published by: Sega
Review: Who in their right mind wouldn't love a game involving the forces of evil going up against a tough dwarf with a big axe, a scantily clad warrior woman and a guy who clearly wishes he was Conan the Barbarian? Golden Axe was definitely one of my favorite hack 'n slash arcade games, and the Sega Genesis port of it was a fantastic translation of the original game.
For one thing, the Genesis version added some more depth to the game by including additional levels and gameplay modes. First, there was "Duel Mode" which was basically a "see how long you can last against impossible odds" kind of game. Nothing too special there, but you could set it to play against a friend in a battle to the death which usually resulted in some glorious shit-talking.
The real game, or "Story Mode", is what Golden Axe was all about though. In this mode, you could choose one of three warriors to fight your way through the seemingly endless hordes of bad guys working for Death Adder. Ax Battler the barbarian (who carries a sword, not an axe), Tyris Flare the amazonian warrior woman, and my personal favorite... Gilius Thunderhead (god I love that name) the dwarf with one hell of an axe. So why do these three warriors have such a grudge against Death Adder? To put it simply, he was responsible for the deaths of their family members, and now it's payback time.
What made Golden Axe such a fun game, aside from the 2-player cooperative action, was the incorporation of magical spells. Each of the characters has their unique spells which they can use to decimate their enemies. Obviously, they had to balance out the use of magic versus the standard weapons of each player. As a result, Gilius has the weakest magic, Tyris has the best, and Ax Battler is right in the middle.
While seeing Tyris unleash a giant fire breathing dragon upon her enemies was damned impressive at the time, the fact is, it takes a while to gather up enough potions for her to use a maxed out spell like that. So it's for that reason that I suggest using Gilius, because he definitely has the best weapon in the game. Ironically, because of the technical color palette limitations of the Sega Genesis, one of the major differences between the console and arcade versions is that Gilius' titular axe is no longer golden, it's silver. I guess they figured they couldn't name the console version "Silver Axe" and expect the same amount of sales... it just doesn't sound as cool.
The game setting is quite interesting as you go from level to level. At first, you'll be fighting your way through villages that have been devastated by Death Adder's minions. Later on, however, you'll find yourself fighting enemies while on the back of a giant turtle and a giant eagle. I never did understand how or why there were buildings erected on the backs of those massive creatures, but I suppose some mysteries are better left unsolved.
Golden Axe is one of the greatest hack 'n slash arcade classics you'll ever encounter on a home console, complete with fun characters, magic a nice variety of enemies and some truly fun boss fights. There's even a bizarre, long-tailed animal with a beak that you can ride on called a "Chicken-Leg". Did I mention you also get to enjoy the warm glow of a campfire while you kick some minuscule thieves until they give you meat or magic potions? If that doesn't make you want to give the game a whirl, then nothing will.
(Scored on a 0.5 - 5 pickles rating: 0.5 being the worst and 5 being the best)
|While seeing Gilius unleash a giant fire breathing dragon|
I remember beating this game while on the Boblo Boat. If anyone else has managed this then you will understand when I say that it has one of the most interesting endings of any arcade game ever.
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