Golden Axe

aka: Golden Axe Classic
Moby ID: 199
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Description official descriptions

Golden Axe is an arcade beat-'em-up game that puts players in the shoes of one of three heroes, each with their own reason for trying to overthrow the evil rule of Death-Adder, who - along with his forces of darkness - kidnapped and imprisoned the King and his daughter and stole the legendary Golden Axe.

This is a horizontal fighting game, where you basically take one of the three characters (the barbarian Ax Battler, a dwarf named Gilius Thunderhead or the amazon Tyris Flare) and bash everything which stands between you and Death Adder himself. Each character has a special magical ability that can be charged by kicking small blue creatures that drop a potion. There is also a green variety of this creature that drops food that replenishes your health. Some enemies ride dragons and a scorpion-like creature. The enemies can be knocked off and you can mount the creature yourself and attack the enemies with it.

The original arcade game and most conversions allow players to play up to two characters at once, however in the Sega Master System and C64 versions, this option has not been implemented. The Sega Master System version only has one playable character. Tarik, a close relative to Ax Battler the original barbarian, retelling the story from his perspective. The C64 version allowing only one player at a time, was also limited in other areas, such as fewer levels, only one enemy can engage the player at a time and there are only two types of dragons instead of three.

Spellings

  • 战斧 - Chinese spelling (simplified)
  • 戦斧 - Japanese spelling

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Credits (Arcade version)

4 People

Designed by
Music Composer (uncredited)
"Wilderness" (first stage music (uncredited))

Reviews

Critics

Average score: 76% (based on 69 ratings)

Players

Average score: 3.6 out of 5 (based on 330 ratings with 14 reviews)

We're off to see the Bringer, the wonderful Bringer of Death

The Good
Golden Axe, I always wanted to use the Golden Axe. But alas only the Baddies can.

This was a game which was a side on hack-em-up, for one or two players. Best in two player but fun nonetheless in single player.

Taking control of either Ax Battler (The Warrior Hero who strangely wielded a broad sword), Tyrus Flare (An amazon whose speciality was Fire magic), and Gilius Thunderhead (He was a Dwarf with Thunder & Lightning based sorcery). You must save the day by defeating Death Adder who has taken control of the Land & its people with the use of the fabled & powerful Golden Axe.

There are about 6 levels to this game where you cut the enemy to bits and defeat strong end of level guardians. With the help of the local Reptilian creatures and a bit of Magic for good measure. It is a good conversion of the original Arcade game which is itself an excellent game.

The end of the game 'Brings' a surprise but many Golden Axers will already have found this out for themselves.

The game is extremely addictive and holds excellent replay value. The 'Duel' mode is good for a laugh too.

A very worthy game which is recommended to all.

The Bad
There are parts in the game where you have to leap across larger than normal chasms & gaps in the level. Repeated deaths are often found here & can prove mighty frustrating.

The Bottom Line
The original and best hack-em-up.

Genesis · by Liam Dowds (39) · 2003

NOSTALGIA OVERLOAD RIGHT NOW

The Good
Yet another review-wannabe thing of this!? Of course, because it is GOLDEN FRIGGIN' AXE!

The MS-DOS PC version might be a little bit thin compared to the arcade game, but I didn't know that when I was a kid. It was one of the first games I got more into and eventually have beaten it. It is regarded by most DOS-age gamers as one of the best hack 'n slash action games. I don't want to describe the playing mechanics here, I'm too lazy. But who doesn't know it anyway? Oh yeah, and it has the advantage over the arcade original that it has plus two more levels from the Genesis/Megadrive port.

Beside the "story" there is a Duel mode, where you have to face a small group of enemies in each turn in an arena. It gets harder and harder, but after the last turn nothing particular happens, just a usual rating and then back to the main menu. First I had a buggy version which after a certain duel turn wanted me to insert disk 2 (even when the whole game was on hard drive), and it kept me excited what happens after that. There is even a little practice mode, which is like the main "story" mode but easier and only lasts up to the 3rd level.

There is three characters to choose from when starting a new game. I always pick the dwarf, "Gilius Thunderhead", he was simply the strongest with his axe, even when his thunder magic was the weakest of the three. There was a glitch that changed the colors on him on each level (but I only noticed that when I connected a color monitor to the computer, because originally it had a tiny monochrome SVGA display) Once I even manged to get the maximal A+++ rating at the end. The amazon, Tyris Flare looks soo sexy and she can summon a giant fire breathing dragon! (haha, her bikini and pantie wear isn't a little bit too leisure for a medieval setting?). And there was that barbarian guy... I don't think I have gotten past even the second level with him. The magic system in the DOS version was simplified as I see now.

On the keyboard, Keypad 5 was the weapon attack, Right Shift was the magic charge, at least for player one. There was even a mouse control feature... it was VERY awkward XD

The graphics looks good by 16-bit standards (I am talking about VGA mode of course). It does not use 256 colors, more like 16, or maybe 64 because the gfx was directly converted from the Genesis/Megadrive version.

To me, the most memorable feature of the game is the PC speaker music and sound effects. I had no sound card back then in my 386 PC and the game still delivered polyphonic music via fast arpeggio beeping, and violent death screams via PCM digitized sounds, all that during gameplay. The mild music with the Adlib is nothing compared to that. The beeper was raw, wild, and LOUD, ear raping awesomeness. The buzzing metallic case created a harmonic bass together with the music. I liked the game called "The Cycles" from Accolade too because of this. PC beeper music lacked percussion, but I didn't realized it until quite recently. The crunchy digi sound effects interrupted the music, but it was not all that disturbing. All these sounded on each computer a little bit differently. The tiny internal piezzo speakers and emulators nowadays can't do justice to that. Yeah, this is the feature of the game that definitely aged much,

On some places where are pits the enemies can be pushed into then, making that part easier.

There is two player mode in both story and duel modes. Me and my friend always argued over the dwarf because we both wanted to play as him, but it was not possible. Also, we could hit each other in story mode too, so the cooperation easily turned into a deathmatch. We never got to the giant eagle in 2 player mode.

I once discovered that each sprites are stored in different files, so with renaming those files you can play as the enemies, haha! It was really buggy although. I scammed my friend with this: on the start of a 2 player game he picked the dwarf and I picked the barbarian. That moment when he realized that the barbarian is Death Adder himself...

My friend liked to make fun of the sound effect when the skeletons rise from the floor, because it sounded like farting.

When running the game with memory hog resident programs, the lesser the memory was, the more features were stripped away. First, no two player mode, then the enemies were all the same. I managed to run it with so little memory that even the magic attacks didn't work.

The Bad
Even with the plus levels, it was too short :)

Jumping over the wider pits... first it was a nightmare before I discovered the headbutting jump attack.

I think they should have implemented a save-able highscore feature in the PC version, because the rating screen was directly lifted from the console versions.

Occasionally, the midgets that held the power-ups, got stuck in the wall, and the game didn't let you further until they were gone, so it had to be restarted. Earlier I didn't even notice that with pressing Esc you can return to the main menu, so I restarted the computer.

It also lack many animations and small details compared to the Genesis/Megadrive and arcade versions. Like the little arrow on the speech bubbles that shows which character is talking, the floating feathers on the giant eagle level, the pen on the map screens, etc. Death Adder also lacks the underground fireball attacks so he is much easier to defeat.

The Bottom Line
Simple. Easy to get into. Addicting. Even if it didn't age well as a hack n' slash, it is still a very fun arcade action game. If you are new to it, I recommend you to look at the Arcade or Sega Genesis/Megadrive versions, or a remake, there must be one out somewhere.

DOS · by 1xWertzui (1135) · 2013

This game will always have a special place in my heart.

The Good
Although the PC version doesn't hold a candle to the arcade version it's still the most successful converstion ever made. The graphics are very detailed and well-drawn, the gameplay is (albeit easy) very addictive and the music is very well done (for the time).

The Bad
Well, the Duel is simply too hard (I never completed it). The game itself, however, is rather too easy.

The Bottom Line
A true classic which you will not regret playing.

DOS · by Tomer Gabel (4536) · 1999

[ View all 14 player reviews ]

Discussion

Subject By Date
Canada? Edwin Drost (9558) Mar 31, 2017

Trivia

German index

On May 30, 1992, Golden Axe was put on the infamous German index by the BPjS. For more information about what this means and to see a list of games sharing the same fate, take a look here: BPjS/BPjM indexed games.

Since August 31, 2005, the game is no longer on the index.

References

The Chicken Stinger is a creature you fight in the second stage of Altered Beast. This creature later showed up in Golden Axe as one of the Bizarrians that you can steal from the enemies in the game (it's now called a Chicken-Leg). The Chicken-Leg also showed up later in the arcade game Golden Axe: The Revenge Of Death Adder.

Sound

The death screams of the bad guys are digitized from screams used in the films First Blood (several) and one from Conan The Barbarian. Fans of the game who watch the movies will be able to pick these out easily.

Awards

  • Amiga Power
    • May 1991 (issue #00) - #96 in the "All Time Top 100 Amiga Games"
  • EMAP Image's Golden Joystick 1991
    • April 1991: Best coin-op conversion - 16 Bit
  • FLUX
    • Issue #4 - #70 in the "Top 100 Video Games of All-Time" list

Information also contributed by Big John WV, mark abrams, Tiago Jacques and Xoleras

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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Tomer Gabel.

Wii added by Corn Popper. Android added by GTramp. Atari ST, SEGA Master System added by PCGamer77. PlayStation 3 added by Lain Crowley. Arcade added by 666gonzo666. Nintendo Switch added by Kam1Kaz3NL77. TurboGrafx CD added by chirinea. iPhone, iPad added by Sciere. Windows, Macintosh, Linux added by Foxhack. WonderSwan Color added by Kabushi. ZX Spectrum added by Martin Smith. Genesis added by Satoshi Kunsai. Xbox 360 added by Ben K. Xbox One added by MAT. Commodore 64, Amstrad CPC, Amiga added by Katakis | カタキス.

Additional contributors: Roedie, Unicorn Lynx, Alaka, Pseudo_Intellectual, masterthiefster, Hong Sik Jeon, Patrick Bregger, Starbuck the Third, GTramp, Jo ST.

Game added August 10, 1999. Last modified May 16, 2024.