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Golden Axe

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Golden Axe II
Revenge of Death Adder
Golden Axe III

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Ax Battler
Golden Axe Warrior
Golden Axe: The Duel

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Golden Axe: Beast Rider
Golden Axe Myth

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Golden Axe II (ゴールデンアックスII) - Genesis, PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, PSP, Xbox 360, Wii, Windows, iOS (1991)

European Mega Drive Cover

Japanese Mega Drive Cover

Golden Axe II was developed solely for the Genesis, bypassing any arcade release. It's perhaps a bit too much like the original in practically all aspects. Gilius, Tyris and Ax Battler are back this time around, to defeat the evil Dark Guld. The sprites are new, with Tyris getting a revamped, slightly less revealing outfit, and some of the spell effects have been modified too. Most of the enemies are the same, though, with a few additions and changes.

Some of the new enemies are lizardmen, headless knights, and other man-beasts. The little thieves have been changed into midget wizards, who drop spell books instead of magic potions. The backgrounds aren't quite as interesting as in the first game, mostly castles and dungeons and such, though the hall where you fight Dark Guld is rather cool looking. However, in general, the visuals have improved a bit over the Genesis port of the original Golden Axe.

The movement and combos are similar to the original, though they feel a little quicker. The magic works slightly differently too. Instead of just blowing all your spell books to cast whatever level of magic they equate to, you hold down the magic button. How long you hold it down determines how much power you use up and therefore the level of the spell which is activated. The difficulty is quite easy compared to the first arcade game; if you put this game on hard, it approximately matches up to the previous arcade release on easy mode.

The music is composed by Naofumi Hataya, who later went on to more lighthearted fare with Sonic the Hedgehog and Nights: Into Dreams. "Ravaged City", the first level track, is fantastic, and in general the soundtrack is catchier than the original. The awesome digitized screams are no longer as cool, as most enemies perish with the same pitiful "Ugh!".

Overall, Golden Axe II is a decent game, but it feels uninspired and ultimately rather redundant. Some new playable characters, or at least some new Bizarrians, would've made this a more worthwhile endeavor.

Quick Info:

Developer:

Sega

Publisher:

Sega

Genre:

Beat-'em-up

Themes:

Fantasy: Sword & Sorcery
Mounts
Player Character: Bearded
Player Character: Woman
Prehistoric


Golden Axe II (Genesis)

Golden Axe II (Genesis)


Additional Screenshots


Golden Axe: Revenge of Death Adder (ゴールデンアックス) - Arcade (1992)

Japanese Arcade Flyer

Golden Axe: The Revenge of Death Adder is undoubtedly the pinnacle of the series. Released in 1992 in the arcades for Sega's System 32 hardware, it improves on the original in every way, but apparently was so good they didn't even try to port it, which is truly disappointing.

The story is typical: Death Adder has been revived, and he's again trying to enslave the world. However, there are four completely new playable characters this time, allowing up to four people to play together simultaneously, depending on the type of cabinet.

Heroes of the Axe

Stern Blade is essentially an Ax Battler clone, who has fire magic that incinerates foes. Little Trix is an imp with a trident. He uses some sort of plant magic that makes trees grow. This is awesome because it causes apples to fall to the ground that refill your life if you collect them.

Dora is a female centaur who uses earth magic, and has the lowest magic cost in the game. Her attacks are faster than everyone else's too, except for Trix, while doing almost as much damage as Stern Blade. She's probably the best character to use if you're playing through the game by yourself. Finally, Dora somehow grows human legs for the purpose of riding beasts and pulling switches.

Goah is a giant who is ridden by Gilius Thunderhead. Gilius wields the magic of death and entropy. Together they form the most powerful character, both in strength and magic, which more than makes up for their low speed.

You can now switch characters when you continue, which is a very welcome addition. There are tons of new enemies too, which include tribal men, giant squids, Grim Reaper type enemies, death knights, and ogres. The graphics and artwork are fantastic, and completely blow any other arcade competitors out of the water. The characters are huge, and everything is much more detailed, due to the System 32 hardware. There are gorgeous waterfalls, giant mushroom forests, even some scaling effects in certain segments of the game.

There are plenty of cool animations for characters being slain, staggered, and knocked away, which gives the game a lot of personality. The best is how when fighting tree men, a well-timed heavy strike will cause them to immediately shatter, their splinters flying into the screen.

There are quite a few changes since the previous games. First of all there are branching paths, which increases the replay value. There's also a diverse variety of rideable creatures which all control a little bit differently. The two highlights are a giant mantis that snaps an enemy's neck as a finisher, and an undead dragon that's stunningly animated. There's another giant mantis that breaths fire, and a scorpion that creates an arc of electricity with its claws.

One cool factor is that you can use mini catapults and ballistae, which can be mounted on your rideable creatures and fired while moving. You can also destroy projectiles when they are fired at you. Magic works differently in this game, as instead of having different levels, you have just one awesome spell that uses a pre-set number of potions. However, you can collect many more potions than this cap. When certain character use their magic, it cuts to an extremely ruthless close-up of the faces of your enemies being incinerated or turned to stone.

Sharpening the Axe

The basic fighting mechanics are the same with a few original additions, such as a new kick attack which stuns characters. The awesome running jump followed by a downwards stab attack returns, except this time it can be done even while riding a beast. There are also crates to smash that reveal power-ups, and switches that can be used to free captured slaves.

The hit detection has also improved a great deal. Enemies seem to deal a lot more damage though, and can stun you with almost every hit. This can be frustrating, but thankfully the game lets you continue as many times as you want, as long as you keep pumping in the credits.

The music is composed by Masanori Takeuchi (After Burner Climax) and Tomoyuki Kawamura (Sega Rally 2) and is yet again inspired by the Conan movies. Still, despite the higher sound quality, the overall soundtrack lacks the punch of the original. The sound effects are still cheesy and the "Oh Gawd!!" sound effect is still present.

The game's only flaw is that it's just too damn long. There are only a handful of bosses that you fight over and over again, and while their palette changes each time, they're not even all that different from each other. They all utilize the same pattern, though each has a unique move to differentiate it from the others. There's one boss type that's especially interesting, an armored scarecrow with a scythe, but even his act gets old after a while.

Regardless, this is still one of the best arcade beat-'em-ups made, and certainly shows Sega at the top of their game. It's extremely unfortunate that Golden Axe: The Revenge of Death Adder has never been ported outside of arcades and thus largely forgotten.

Quick Info:

Developer:

Sega

Publisher:

Sega

Genre:

Beat-'em-up

Themes:

Fantasy: Sword & Sorcery
Mounts
Player Character: Bearded
Player Character: Woman
Prehistoric


Golden Axe: Revenge of Death Adder (Arcade)

Golden Axe: Revenge of Death Adder (Arcade)

Golden Axe: Revenge of Death Adder (Arcade)

Golden Axe: Revenge of Death Adder (Arcade)

Golden Axe: Revenge of Death Adder (Arcade)


Additional Screenshots


Golden Axe III (ゴールデンアックスIII) - Genesis, PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, PSP, Xbox 360, Wii, Windows, iOS (1993)

Japanese Mega Drive Cover

Unused Boris Vallejo Artwork

The third console Golden Axe is largely considered to be a disappointment. The biggest reason is that gamers wanted a home port of The Revenge of Death Adder, and they got this instead. It's not a terrible game, but it's not quite up to par either.

Whereas Golden Axe II was too similar to the original game, Golden Axe III is too different. Technically, Gilius Thunderhead is the only returning hero yet again, although you don't play as him. Instead, he sends a handful of new characters into battle against the forces of evil. Kain Grinder is this game's Ax Battler clone, while Sarah Barn is a dancer out for revenge. Braoude Cragger is an impossibly strong man descended from giants, while Chronos "Evil" Lait is a cursed panther man. The antagonist is the improbably named Damned Hellstrike, who is also referred to as the Prince of Darkness.

Not Quite Faithful

The biggest change is that Sega changed the controls to make it play like every other console beat-'em-up, instead of like Golden Axe. The weapon ranges are shorter, and it's a bit faster and smoother, but it's also lacking in distinction.

The graphics are much more washed out than any of the previous Golden Axe games. There's better use of color, but the artwork is less defined, giving it a bit of a grainy feel. There's some very nice backgrounds, in concept, but the overly bright colors kill the detail and the atmosphere.

It has inherited some of the better aspects from The Revenge of Death Adder though, such as the branching paths through the game. Additionally, you can now double jump, and each character has two special moves.

The magic attacks are back to the original Golden Axe method wherein you get potions, and use them to cast spells of a certain level depending on how many potions you have. You can now dismount beasts at any time instead of having to be hit off them or completing a level. You can also gain an extra life by rescuing slaves scattered about the levels.

The music is pretty amazing. Songs like "Ancient Mound" and "Ride the Whirlwind" sound like they are for a different system. The music was once again supplied by Naofumi Hataya, along with Tatsuyuki Maeda (Dragon Force). The screams are similar to the arcade version, but thanks to the scratchy sound of the Genesis, they're not quite as good.

Golden Axe III only saw a retail release in Japan. It was translated and published briefly on the Sega Channel in America, although it later showed up on assorted compilations.

Quick Info:

Developer:

Sega

Publisher:

Sega

Genre:

Beat-'em-up

Themes:

Fantasy: Sword & Sorcery
Mounts
Player Character: Bearded
Player Character: Woman
Prehistoric


Golden Axe III (Genesis)

Golden Axe III (Genesis)

Golden Axe III (Genesis)


Additional Screenshots


<<< Prior Page

Next Page >>>

Page 1:
Golden Axe

Page 2:
Golden Axe II
Revenge of Death Adder
Golden Axe III

Page 3:
Ax Battler
Golden Axe Warrior
Golden Axe: The Duel

Page 4:
Golden Axe: Beast Rider
Golden Axe Myth

Back to the Index