Ax Battler, Tyris Flare, Gilius Thunderhead….these names may not mean much to most people, but for die-hard Sega and Arcade fans, well, they may still not be known. When a young kid pumped his quarter into the arcade cabinet, they were set for a choice between the barbarian, the amazon and the dwarf. Now, those might feel a slight bit generic, but games were of a simpler nature at the time. Golden Axe pitted the fighter of your choice on a quest to defeat the evil Death Adder who has kidnapped the royal family and taken possession of the Golden Axe. These heroes job is to defeat the evil ruler, retrieve the ancient artifact and safely return the royals to their castle. Along the way you battle monsters, skeletons, and very tall warriors. Golden Axe is the original template for wizard and warriors games along with beat ’em ups, which purely has you scrolling along screen fighting whatever wanders out towards you.
I’ve always thought games like this were like their own subset of games; they have unique skills you don’t find in a lot of games. There’s a strategy and timing to fighting hordes of enemies who unexpectedly jump at you, or surround you and take down whole lives at a time. Double Dragon, Streets of Rage , all famous games just like this one; well, except here you have magic and get to ride on bad-ass if not stunted growth dragons.
Golden Axe is a classic game, the beginning of many things to come in this genre, as well as sort of pulling out the Lord of the Rings classic storylines into video games, introducing the fantasy aspect. The fighting is fun, challenging and each of the three options of characters have pluses and minuses: the dwarf has a longer weapon, hits harder, but has barely any magic. The amazon has by far the biggest magic meter but isn’t as strong as the others.
Golden Axe II is a bit easier of a game, not as tough as enemies, not as intelligent AI, but the graphics and music are a bit less detailed. The enemy set in the original can sometimes be overwhelming but in II, it’s a bit more manageable, and the story is a bit shorter as well. Both games are loads of fun and can still give kids of the 80’s (who Rock!) that arcade feeling when they play.
Story – 6
Replay Value- 8
Replay Value- 6
Sega Genesis Rankings:
#1 Golden Axe 70%
#2 Golden Axe II 62 %