The king of a dead genre
The first time I caught a glimpse of Golden Axe was in an Arcade somewhere in France. I was really impressed by the marvelous graphics. On the PC the game still looked pretty marvelous, but unfortunately not on my PC (I had a 286 at the time). But Golden Axe’s graphics are among the best (maybe even the best) of it’s time. I like the creativity of the designers: the island that is a giant turtle, the huge eagle. The design of those stages is extremely well done. Moreover the magical spells are a joy to watch. The graphics are Golden Axe’s best feature. But there are some other things to like about Golden Axe.
- Great sound effects & midi music. I can still hum some of those tunes.
- You can knock enemy soldiers off their dragons and ride the dragons yourself.
- It has a two-player cooperative mode, there nothing more fun than beating up some bad guys together.
- It has a nice story twist. At a certain moment you think you have won the game but the toughest part is yet to come.
- It’s not complete! The intro and the cool ending that MAT is talking about are not included in the PC port.
- The controls feel a little stiff.
- Gilius is a lot better than the other two heroes because of the broad range of his axe (combined with his jump-attack). Not only would this cause arguments about who would get to play with Gilius, it also meant you virtually had to play with Gilius in order to win. I could beat the game easily when I played with Gilius but never succeeded with one of the others.
- The “Duel” mode is lame and very difficult to complete.
The Bottom Line
A side scrolling beat ‘em up best remembered for it’s great graphics. Of course even great graphics look dated after a couple of years. In fact the whole side scrolling beat ‘em up genre is rather dated. Games like this one don’t get released anymore. In the early 90’s they were released in truckloads. Nowadays I find games like Final Fight
, Double Dragon
and Streets of Rage
rather boring, but I still enjoy playing Golden Axe.