When I first played Golden Axe in the arcades I was impressed by the detail, fantasy setting and of course the impressive magic spells. When it came out on the Megadrive I needed no encouragement to while away many hours with friends playing through it and a great time was had by all.
However, as is the way with retro gaming, some games simply age better than others and sadly Golden Axe is the old man sitting on the porch swigging Tennents Super and swearing at the pigeons.
Whilst the visuals are perfectly functional and don't disrupt the gameplay they are mostly bland and some of the characters feel like they are floating over the map as they waddle about. Whilst the score brings back nostalgia the sound chip fails to bring out a good rendition of the composition. Throw this in with the sound effects cutting the music out when someone dies it all becomes a bit jarring.
There's little variety to the enemies either and their AI is far too predictable. You'll rarely have more than 3 enemies on the screen at one time and when there are just two it's obvious that one wont attack until it flanks you as you move about the screen. It doesn't necessarily make the game easy but when you have this same style of encounter throughout the game it gets very repetitive. It's probably a good thing that it's short then, the 6 stages are over within the blink of an eye, assuming you get that far. Enemy attacks can feel cheap at time with the likes of the skeletons seemingly able to attack you as soon as you get up. Fortunately if you time your attacks you can often do the same.
The highlights are still there with the magic system, the more magic potions you have, the stronger your attack.Read more ›
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