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Golden Axe

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Reviewed by Inkhands Golden Axe is a game I have owned for about three years now, but I hadn't actually played it until recently. Possibly because this game never looked very appealing to me. If I had played this game at the time of it's initial release, I doubt I would have been more impressed with it than I am now. I feel either way I would have been inclined to think that this is a rather average game. Of course, I can't really be positive on what I would have thought of this game if I had played it years ago. The story is that the brutal Death Adder has kidnapped the King and the Princess and sent his soldiers throughout all the villages. You choose to play as one of three players in order to reach Death Adder, defeat him, save King, Princess, Kingdom, avenge the death of their friend, Alex, and so on. My personal favorite of the three characters is the dwarf. His choice of weapon in an axe. He's a very powerful fighter, but weak with magic. The woman is excellent with magic, but weak with her sword. The man is an average fighter and has average magic skills. The dwarf's magic is lightning, the woman's is fire, and the man uses an earthquake type of magic. Throughout the game you will encounter blue elves. They are carrying a sack on their back. Hit them and magic pots will fly out. Once you pick those up, your magic increases. The green elves are carrying food and you can use the food to increase your health on your life meter. There are three modes of play in this game. The Beginner mode simply allows you to play through the first three stages of the game to give you some practice before you get into the other journey. The second mode is a Duel mode. You face off in twelve rounds against Adder's soldiers. Basically, you have a full life meter at the beginning of each round, and you continue through this mode until it is empty at the end of a duel. The main mode of play is Arcade mode. This consists of eight stages and it is the mode in which you journey to save everybody I already stated above. During the mode the players occasionally speak. You also see your path on a map between levels. There is some text accompanying the map, just to let you know where you are going and where you have been. It doesn't really add anything to the game, so you could always skip through it. Most of the enemies are barbarians or armored skeletons. The barbarians look alike with the exception of the color of their armor. Most of these stages are very short and they all end with some sort of boss battle. The armored skeletons are generally the most difficult to defeat, as they take a lot of hits. Sometimes they pop out of the ground. Two or three on the screen running and jumping at you can be a slight challenge. These enemies lack any sort of real variety, but they will pass. To me, the most interesting feature of the game is some of the enemies are riding on things called Bizarrians. If you hit the enemy, you will knock him or her off, and you can then get on and ride them yourself. There is an animal that swings it's tail as an attack. The two dragons spit fireballs or a stream of fire, depending on their color. This was the highlight of the game to me. However, the terrible thing is, if you ride on one of these, there's a good chance that one of the enemies on the screen will knock you off of it. This makes it quite useless, plus the animal runs away after being hit a few times anyway. If only one enemy is on the screen at one time, this is a fairly handy way to attack. The default control setup is not one that I care for, so it's a good thing the control is configurable. The default is A for magic, B for attack, and C for jump. You can change them around to be in any order you choose, however. In any case that does make for very simple control. You can also hit either left or right twice to make the fighter do a running attack. Hit the jump button and then attack button for an even easier way to take out a few enemies. You can also pick up enemies and throw them at other enemies on the screen. The challenge is quite low in this game. The first time I played it I got very far into the game, Level 7. That's a sign to me of low challenge, as I'm not exactly an expert player in any genre. Though I tend to be pretty good at fighting games, probably because of their simplicity. Probably the most challenging part of the game is some of the jumps. For the most part the end bosses never pose too much of a problem. Even Death Adder himself is quite easy. You get a few continues and three lives per continue. Also, on the options screen you can set your health meter to hold either three, four, or five bars. This really cuts down the challenge. There is no difficulty setting, but the challenge is fairly low in this game. Visually the game is pretty good for it's age. The enemy designs are not that spectacular, mostly due to the fact they all look the same other than the color of their armor. The characters you can play as are pretty big and fairly detailed, but they really aren't magnificent either. However, some of the settings of the game look pretty good. You travel through the woods, a village, an eagle island, the palace, and a dungeon to name a few. The nicest thing is when you travel by eagle, and you step off the eagle's head to a bridge. The woods background is just some leaveless trees. The village has stony paths and buildings. The sound effects just consist of hitting each other, the magic attacks, and the moans of all the fighters when they die. This really doesn't sound very good, but it is an effect repeated quite frequently in the game. The music isn't anything memorable either, but this is a fairly old game, so I won't complain too much about the music. Possibly the best part of the game musically to me, was the music that plays on the map screen between levels. It's a dreamy type of sound. For the most part, the music doesn't stand out as being either great or terrible. So, for that reason it's quite average. Each level has it's own theme and most of them try to fit in with the medievel setting. I suppose the game does accomplish that anyway. As for replay value. That really depends. You could play through the entire game as all three characters. I really don't imagine you'll spend much time in the duel mode, though it is a somewhat nice feature added to the game. The beginner's mode is there for only one play through, to help you improve your game. The only reason to play either mode again, might be to get a better ranking. When the game is over, you get a ranking based on how well you did. You might want to play it until you get the best ranking possible. For me though, the replay value on this game is fairly low. Overall, most people consider this to be a classic game. Perhaps I should too, but it really didn't feel like anything special to me. It's a very short game that can easily be beaten in only a few tries, or even less. There's nothing outstanding about the game play. It's a standard fighting game with a medievel setting. Fight your way to the end, beat it, and that's all there is to it. It deserves some credit if it was a forerunner of this type of game, but either way it's still just an average experience. Graphics - 6/10 Sound - 6/10 Control - 7/10 Challenge - 5/10 Appeal - 6/10 Game Play - 6/10 Replay Value - 4/10 Overall - 6/10

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