Golden Axe has finally made its way to XBOX Live Arcade, but the short replay value keeps it from being a hit.
Golden Axe for XBOX Live Arcade has single player and multiplayer modes, but the game just goes right away to the character select screen other than just booting the game itself like in the Virtual Console version. The major reason this game on XBLA is way better than the VC port is achievements and the option for online co-op. Even those reasons does not make Golden Axe a good beat-em up. There are three characters to select from which are a barbarian, an amazon, and a dwarf. Each character has their own weapon to defeat enemies and magic at their disposal. The magic in this game requires a certain amount of potions to use depending on the character. The controls are as simple as in most XBLA games just using the face buttons rather than triggers and bumpers. You can beat this game alone and co-op in less than a hour since there are nine stages and four of them are bonus stages where you can pick up health and potions. The five stages themselves are just bland compared to other beat-em ups even though there are animals to ride on to help out once you take out the enemy riding them.
This version of Golden Axe is like playing it on an emulator because it allows save states to save at any time, which makes the perfect win achievement a little more easier. That reason alone ruins the experience because you can cheat your way to the final boss with no deaths if you save at the right moments. The graphics are at least arcade perfect and the sound as well, which there not as much sound in this game anyway. The achievements in this game are pretty easy especially it runs on an emulator so you can get 200 points in less than 3 hours if you are skilled enough.
Golden Axe on XBOX Live Arcade is not a good beat-em up especially with better beat-em ups out on XBLA like Ninja Turtles. Sega should of ported the arcade version instead of this boring Genesis version, but at least you get a better value out of this rather than getting a straight port on the Wii's Virtual Console for eight bucks. Five bucks for this game does not seem that bad, but there are better games to save your Microsoft Points on anyway. This also signifies if the next-gen Golden Axe will be boring too whether or not Sega is still working on it.