Game: "Golden Axe"
System: Sega Genesis
Genre: Action
Published by: Sega

Reviewer: -RoG-
Posted: 6/22/2008

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.

Overall rating: WholeWholeWholeWholeHalf
(Scored on a 0.5 - 5 pickles rating: 0.5 being the worst and 5 being the best)

Reader Comments

Forum Virgin
Jun 24th, 2008, 05:53 AM
This was one of those games that demanded to be played in co-op mode cause it was pretty damn hard. I remember how my friends and I discussed as to who had to right to ride whichever beast we encountered first. Along with the Streets of Rage games, the Golden Axe titles are among my favorite games for the Genesis.
Jun 24th, 2008, 06:21 AM
While seeing Gilius unleash a giant fire breathing dragon
typo, Gilius is sposed to be Tyris here
Jun 24th, 2008, 08:00 AM
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.
Jun 24th, 2008, 10:06 AM
I've never played the Genesis port, but it was one of the first games I played through on MAME when I got it (along with The Simpsons*, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 1&2*, and Knights of the Round*). I never got to finish quarter eaters at the arcade and took my revenge with my #5 key at home. Wooohahaha!


*Of course, I own all the original cabinets and my having the ROM images are perfectly legal because of this (wink wink).
Mexican Rambo Doll
Jun 24th, 2008, 11:00 AM
I don't think Death Adder is killable. I've never beat him.
Jun 24th, 2008, 11:29 AM
This was the first game to get busted out when I finally got my MAME cabinet up and running. Oddly enough we all thought there was a 4 player version for some reason(or at least a 3 player version).
Pickled Patriarch
Jun 24th, 2008, 01:08 PM
Thanks for catching that Willie, I fixed it.

Originally Posted by AlliSabbah View Post
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.
Yeah, I always liked the arcade ending. If only it happened in real life.

For those of you who've never seen the arcade ending, here's a video of it:
Jun 24th, 2008, 03:10 PM
I've been trying to track down an arcarde machine of Golden axe: Revenge of Death Adder. $200 for the machine but $800 for shipping is robbery!
Forum Virgin
Jun 24th, 2008, 03:40 PM
I found this video on youtube:

A remake of Golden Axe for the PS2. Another reason why classics should be left alone.
Jun 24th, 2008, 04:41 PM
Yeah, the PS2 version isn't so much of a remake as a...dumbed down version that lacks a lot of story. Some of the graphics may be good, but the cut-scene dialogue is horrid and there's a lot missing. At the end, there's a king and princess that get *no* mention (maybe in the manual, but not in the game itself), not to mention it's a two-player co-op, except for the fact that you damage your partner if you're not careful. It's a good...day or so play through on the PS2, if you have enough continues left at the end to keep whaling on Death Adder, heh.
Jun 24th, 2008, 04:59 PM
Aren't they making another Golden Axe? I also here there going Splatterhouse.
Forum Virgin
Jun 24th, 2008, 06:07 PM
This is the trailer for the upcoming golden axe. Golden Axe: Beast Rider, but Tyris Flare is the only playable character. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X6a28Cw0fR8
Jun 24th, 2008, 08:38 PM
So the new one is going to suck? What were they thinking removing Co-op.
per sempre vigilante
Jun 25th, 2008, 10:17 AM
It's been a number of years, and I still laugh hard when the dwarf clunks the heel of his axe atop a grunt's head.
Turrican't. :(
Jun 26th, 2008, 06:32 PM
Yaaay! Back to the retro! And it's freaking Golden Axe! I have so many versions of this game on cartridges, TV games, compilation discs, etc, it's crazy!

Golden Axe III is the best.
Jun 27th, 2008, 10:48 AM
I hope the next gen Golden Axe is halfway decent.
Space Case
Jun 28th, 2008, 07:26 AM
Fuckin' A! Having an actual arcade piece of Golden Axe would be bad ass.
Scruffy drunken Brit
Jul 3rd, 2008, 04:58 AM
Me and one of my mates used to play this all the time, and I'd cry laughing when he'd manage to beat hordes of badguys using the dwarf and ONLY using the running headbutt and going "HOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!" while doing so.
The comic adaptation in Fleetway's STC was fucking tacky as hell, I loved it.