Yuria is a strange land, with evil oppressors. Death Adder's soldiers have invaded every village. And Death Adder himself has massacred thousands.
Finally, he's kidnapped the King and his Daughter, the Princess, and seized the Golden Axe. Only the strongest and the craftiest warriors now have any chance of defeating him
Three warriors appear to challenge Death Adder. Ax-Battler, the terrible Barbarian, arrives from the far plains. His mighty strength and courage is a match for any enemy.
Tyris-Flare, the Amazon, appears from the deep jungles to overcome the oppressors. With sword-skill and Lightning Magic she vows to save the Kingdom.
Gilius-Thunderhead, the Dwarf, swings a deadly axe. His tricks and speed in battle can outwit even the most brutal giant.
These three, like many others, have lost cherished loved ones in the war against the reptile fiend, Death Adder. Now they swear to defeat him--even at the cost of their lives.
The challenge is overwhelming: defeat all of Death Adder's soldiers and beasts, travel the treacherous route to his castle, demolish Death Adder Jr., and then face their most powerful enemy, Death Adder himself.
The reward: saving the lives of the King and Princess and returning peace to the Kingdom.
That's the plan. But there could be a suprise ending!
--From the Genesis Golden Axe instruction manual.
Golden Axe is a true arcade classic. It was created by the same developer as Altered Beast and the two game engines have a similar feel. The artwork in the game is well done and reflects the war torn fantasy world in which the story takes place. The background art, level design and enemy artwork all fit well together and present a united image. The musical score and sound effects also play their part in setting the mood.
When the game starts you are given three play options: Arcade mode gives you the full game at normal difficulty. Beginner mode gives you the full story, but it's a much easier play experience. Dual mode could almost be considered combat practice. During each round you face an enemy or enemies that you have to beat within a certain amount of time. As the rounds progress the enemies get harder and harder. You can also adjust your life meter and remap your controls under the options menu. Which was rather groundbreaking at the time.
Golden Axe sports three playable characters which actually offer slightly different styles of play. There is a male barbarian known as Ax Battler, a female amazon named Tyris Flare, and the male dwarf Gilius Thunderhead. Each of them seem to do a different amount of damage and each certainly use magic in their own way. Gilius maxes out his magic the most quickly and uses earth spells. Ax is in the middle and uses the power of wind. Tyris uses fire and takes a high number of magic potions to reach her full potential.
Magic is recharged in the game by getting magic potions from sprites that you encounter throughout the game. You have to strike them in order to get them to drop a potion. Then you merely walk into it to pick it up and add it to you magic bar. Life is regenerated in much the same way. Certain sprites drop food when they are hit. Walk on the food to pick it up and refill your health bar.
There are a number of mounts that you will encounter in Golden Axe. In some cases the mount will just be sitting there waiting for a rider. However, in most cases you will have to knock the current rider off and take their place. There is a cockatrice that uses it tail to strike at enemies. There are also two kinds of dragon. The first, and most common, shoots a spout of flame right at the ground in front of it. The second actually shoots a ball of flame across the screen. All of the mount attacks will immediately knock both heroes and villains off their feet.
In order to really shine at this game you have to master all the different attacks that you can utilize. The first of these is the combo. Once you've struck an enemy keep pressing the attack button to beat them down. Once an enemy is stunned you can throw them by moving in close and pressing the attack button. The jump attack is probably the most useful in the game simply because it is so easy to do and knocks enemies off their feet with a single hit. It is particularly useful for knocking riders off their mounts. To do a jump attack simply jump toward an enemy then press the attack button. The dash is also very good at getting enemies off of you. Just press either the left or right button twice to start your dash and then press the attack button. Combining these two moves give you the death jab. Rush at an enemy then jump and attack to drop down from above and put your weapon through his head. Finally the special attack will take out enemies creeping up behind you. Just press the attack and jump buttons at the same time.
The game inspired a number of sequels and spin off games. The Genesis offered both Golden Axe and Golden Axe 2. The Master System offered a Zelda like spinoff called Golden Axe Warrior and the Game Gear gave us Ax Battler. So far the latest in the series is Golden Axe: Beast Rider which was released in 2008. The series has a long and successful history. If you enjoy arcade style game play it is certainly worth giving a try.
The directions couldn't be simpler: Use every move you can to kill every enemy you see. Once they are all dead move on the the next zone and do it again. As I often do I am going to use this area to add a bit of advice to these rather elementary instructions.
Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee! Just like in a real fight you need to be light on your feet. Keep moving at all times. In this game that represents moving up and down and left and right. Don't stand still for any reason until you are down to the last enemy in an area.
Combos can get you killed! Seriously, the combo seems like a great thing because it does so much damage, but you are begging to get back attacked when you take the time to do a combo. You have to stand still to make a combo attack and that breaks the cardinal rule.
Save that magic! You are only going to get so much magic in the game. You can either use it in small doses as you get it or save it up for a grand finally. I like to save it until the boss fights and then loose it in all it's glory to get rid of the bosses henchmen.
Use the special move! The enemies are going to do their best to surround you and beat you to death from both sides. One of the best ways to lay an enemy out quickly is to let him get right up behind you and then press the jump and attack buttons at the same time. You will make an attack directly behind you and knock them off their feet.
Learn to ride! The mounts in the game are very useful, but only if you know how to use them. Their attacks are slower than your normal attack and, at first, getting on a mount is just a good way to get knocked to the ground. However, once you learn to use them they are truly devastating. As always keep the primary rule in mind: keep moving!
Move when it's coming at you! If you get too far from enemies they are going to rush attack you. You can count on it. Learn how far is too far and if you get in rushing range be ready to dodge. If you don't you're going to end up knocked down a lot.
Judge the distance carefully! There are only a few places in the game where you can die by missing a jump, but they are there. It is very frustrating to fight your way almost to the end of the game and then fall to your death. Kill all the enemies near a jump and then take your time and make sure you've got the distance down before you try to make the leap.
Let em fall! In a number of areas you will be fighting on the edge of a wall or cliff. In many cases the enemies will try to get below you. You can use this to your advantage. Move up and down and back and forth near the edge. In many cases your enemies will accidentally fall to their deaths.
Practice your skills! Duel mode is there for a reason. Spend some time getting to know what the enemies that you face are going to be like. Also spend time practicing each of the moves. You need to be able to do them without thinking in order to truly be a master of Golden Axe.
Know if you're a beginner! Again, Beginner mode is there for a reason. The main difference in the difficulty between beginner mode and arcade mode is the amount of life that the enemies have. In beginner mode many of the enemies die if they are thrown down a single time. You will get to play through the levels and get familiar with what you are going to face without getting killed again and again. The beginner mode is an excellent addition that allows you to get good at the game without the frustration factor. Many other older games could have used one.
|In the arcade mode, go to the character selection screen. Press and hold down-left on the control pad. The characters should spin continuously. As you do this, press A and C. Now let all the buttons go and press Start.|