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Release year: 1989 | Players: 1-2 players | Developed by Sega (AM1)

Golden Axe (Genesis – Mega Drive)

Golden Axe (AKA ゴールデンアックス: 戦斧 Gooruden Akkusu: Senpuu, lit. “Golden Axe: Fighting Blades” in Japan) is a 2D side-scrolling, beat ’em up, hack and slash arcade video game released in 1989 by Sega for the Genesis console. It is the first game in the Golden Axe series and it’s… AMAZING!

Golden Axe was originally release in the arcades and was later ported to Sega Genesis since the console was being marketed as a home arcade video game console. And developers did a great job porting the game as it was considered a great conversion during that time. The game is set in medieval times mixed with a bit of fantasy. Three heroes are up against an evil giant who threatens to destroy the Golden Axe and the royal family.

Since it’s one of the first releases for the Sega Genesis, Golden Axe is slow compared to the later games of the same genre. Executing combos make it hard for the player to attack an enemy from behind. A big opening is required for executing combos, which can be frustrating at times. There’s not a wide variety on the enemies that the player will face. There are some males and a female, skeleton with unpredictable attacks, and a few giants.

Golden Axe Cover Box

Pressing the A button executes a magic attack and each character carries a different type and also different max levels. B is used for a physical attack while C makes the character jump. Although control layout might seem simple, movement is clunky most of the time since it’s something game developers haven’t mastered during that time.

Golden Axe was considered a gorgeous game when it was released. It was an achievement even though it had much smaller sprites compared to the games that were released later on the console. There isn’t a lot of detail as well and animation is a bit choppy. Nonetheless, art direction is well done and there are levels that deliver the fantasy atmosphere perfectly.

Golden Axe animated GIF

While it may not be pushing the audio chip of the Sega Genesis to its limits, the game’s music sets the tone for battles in a good way. Sound effects are good but not awesome.

This game is a collector’s item for all Sega Genesis fans. Although a bit raw when it was released, it had some fine moments.

Golden Axe has been ported to Arcade, Genesis (this version), Master System, Sega CD, DOS, Amiga, Atari ST, Amstrad, Commodore 64, iOS, PC Engine CD, WonderSwan Color, ZX Spectrum, and Android.

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Golden Axe
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