If you’re looking for a blast from the past, without spending much cash then go and buy the classic Golden Axe

User Rating: 8.4 | Golden Axe GEN
For those of you who remember the Mega-Drive or infact still play it to this day you will most certainly have fond memories of Golden Axe. You would be forgiven for thinking this game was inspired by Streets of Rage because the similarities are rather shocking. The basic concept is near identical; you take a character through a series of areas and are then asked to clear out the enemies within each section to progress. This game came at a time where characters never had much maneuverability on screen; this was also the case with Golden Axe as you were limited to up, down, left and right being your only options. This does little for exploration; perhaps the games bigger problem resided in the games incessant need for dragging you from one area to the next with or without your consent. If you don’t pay attention to the large arrow guiding you to the next area the screen will then continue to push you towards it regardless. Whilst this does keep the action flowing at a steady pace it doesn’t offer much in terms of variety.

Golden Axe is set in medieval times and it’s apparent from the moment you select your character; you have a guy with a huge sword who wouldn’t be out of place in Highlander; a dwarf not too dissimilar to that of Gimli complete with a pretty evil-looking axe and a woman who possess powerful magic that can take out the strongest of enemies with the minimalist of effort. The enemies fit the style of the game rather well from the standard stone men to an assortment of weird and wonderful monsters including skeletons and some pretty mean ass dragons. The game offers 3 basic forms of attack to help you along your quest; each designated to one of your face buttons. You can jump using the C button, attack using the B button and when you’re really in dire straights you can unleash the might of the A button. Tap this and watch as the enemies fall beneath your feet, the special attack can be your greatest adversary. As you progress through the game you will find yourself collecting blue potions, the more you store the greater your attack will be once you finally do decide a special attack is on the cards. The wise gamer will save these for the end of level bosses as these can be somewhat difficult to overcome; whether it is some demented wolf or swarms of enemies you will always be tested to your very limits.

The game offers up three main modes; in addition to the single-player campaign you also have a co-op mode which sees you and a friend play through the whole adventure simultaneously. Similar to Street of Rage half the battle here is getting one up on your ally by stealing weapons, power-ups and various mountable beasts along the way. If you do manage to suppress the desire of whacking your friend into submission you may find the game a lot easier to play through (although not as fun obviously). There is also a dueling mode which pales in comparison to the main game itself but can make for a welcoming contrast if you’ve exhausted all other options. Here you will be pitted against a friend, now it’s your chance to finally seek vengeance on that potion-stealing chimp. This mode offers a healthy selection of weapons and if you really want to decimate your opponent you can always attack via a dragon, of course this only works if they don’t do the exact same thing.

The graphics don’t take the console to any great new heights and there is space for minor cosmetic improvements but for it’s time it does a pretty solid job. Perhaps the most impressive thing about the graphics comes when the special attacks are brought into play; in the case of the female character the screen will flood with swirling fire which will morph into any number of impressive looking creatures. The sound here is absolutely superb, every tune as additive as the next and builds into one pretty impressive soundtrack. The sound effects aren’t half bad either, everything from whacking enemies in the skull with your axe to the thud they make as they hit the dirt makes for a pleasing accompaniment to the ears.

Golden Axe is indeed a classic of its generation, while it isn’t the most innovative of games it does everything I feel it sets out to achieve and that is no mean feat. A solid adventure from start to finish with addictive gameplay and oodles of replayability it’s hard to dislike a game of this caliber. While it isn’t the most difficult of games you will be bashing your pad on more than one occasion out of sheer frustration as a dragon pushes you over and proceeds to set your head on fire. If you’re looking for a blast from the past, without spending much cash then go and buy the classic Golden Axe.

Gameplay - Addictive gameplay, while not all that innovative still holds strong as one of the best side-scrolling beat ‘em ups to date.

Graphics - Solid graphics support the action, special attacks are surprisingly great.

Sound - Great soundtrack full of memorable melodies and cool sound effects.

Value - The main mode serves up plenty of value, once you have played through it alone you can then call upon a friend and relive the quest all over again.