When it was released in the arcades, Sega's Golden Axe was immediately hailed as a classic beat-em-up. Just like many other coin-op games, the license for converting Golden Axe was quickly snapped up, this time by Richard Branson's Virgin/Mastertronic software label. After a year and a half of coding, the Amiga version is finally upon us. Is it as good as the arcade game?
Yes it is! The gameplay is all there. The controls move smoothly, and executing an overhead chop (probably the most difficult move in the game) is no problem at all. Control is via the joystick, though the keyboard must be used if one is to cast magic spells. All the major features found in the arcade game, from the running villagers to the great endgame sequence, have been included. The flashing "GO" sign, the camp fire sequences where you can get extra magic potions and health drumsticks, the tattered map with the animated quill - none have been left out.
Most importantly, the fun of bashing monsters (in Double Dragon style) is still there. Many arcade conversions fail to bring the "fun" of playing the original onto the home computer, but Golden Axe conveys this feeling superbly.
So what is the plot? Basically, just slay and slaughter every evil creature that roams the land. The land in question is Yuria, now under the clutches of the evil
Death Adder. It is up to you, brave warrior (or warriors, for your friend can also join in the monster bashing with a joystick plugged into the mouse port) to free the land of this tyranny. When you kill the tyrant, you will also recover the precious Golden Axe, symbol of the good and strong that will return to Yuria following Death Adder's demise.
You can choose from three valiant knights: Ax Battler (a Conan look-alike with a huge sword), Tyris Flare (a female Conan with huge, uh, muscles?), and finally Gilius Thunderhead (a dwarf with nothing really huge at all). All three have their personal reasons for slaying Death Adder.
Each character has a wide variety of combat manoeuvres, as well as a special skill. Ax and Tyris possess a great overhead swing which spins the warriors 180 degrees and kills the monster trying to sneak up behind them, while Gilius has the ability to roll on the ground to avoid attacks and strike at the enemy's under belly (and it hurts, too!). Then there's magic. After collecting the magic potions left behind by blue thieves, our brave heroes are able to call upon this ancient art.
The graphics of Golden Axe are up to Amiga standard, with good usage of colours (especially in the background), shading, and some great detail in the depiction of enemies. The animation, however, is not as good as it could have been. Movement of characters would be more realistic if more frames had been used. Not that the screen is jerky -it's just that the animation is lacking in comparison with other Amiga beat-em-ups.
Musically, the tune is great but the sound effects are pretty ordinary (I especially missed the meaty "Arrgghhh" when your warrior died. On the Amiga, it's just a whimper of defeat).
Overall, Golden Axe is a good game (it got some great reviews in UK mags) on its own, and a fairly accurate arcade conversion. Understandably, the programmers of the computer versions chose to concentrate more on the gameplay of the arcade machine rather than just converting (the brilliant) Sega Mega-Drive version, and therefore some parts of the MegaDrive version (like the extra two levels and most unfortunately, the one-on-one combat section) will not appear. However, the programmers have made the right choice, and Amiga Golden Axe is (after the arcade machine) arguably the best of the lot.
One of the most legendary games of all times. Back in 1990, when it was made, Golden axe made an army of fans! The game places You in a role of Barbarian, Amazon or Dwarf on a holy quest of bringing the peace to their country. All that You have to do is run, jump and cut Your enemies. Real cool thing in a game is a possibility of capturing enemy beasts who will serve You from that moment on. Oh, and there is some magic as well...
Old arcade game, a very big classic! Double Dragon style beat'em up game. You just run across levels and beat every enemies you can reach. You also can use magic. 3 characters available for playing.
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