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game CDRom
戦斧 (ゴールデンアックス)
©Sega 1989
©Telenet Japan 1990
Release : 1990-03-10 (¥6780)
CDRom² TJCD0005
Action / Fighting game

Golden Axe is a side scrolling beat'em up by Telenet and conversion of Sega's popular arcade game originally released in 1989. The evil lord Death Adder has come to threaten the peaceful land of Yuria. He now holds the king and his daughter captive in his castle, as well as the legendary Golden Axe which he intends to destroy if the people of Yuria don't crown him as the ruler of the country. Three warriors (also on a promise of personal revenge) set out on a long journey to defeat Death Adder and his motley army of mercenaries and undead monsters. Each fighter comes with a signature weapon and fighting techniques : Ax Battler is a muscular barbarian wielding a two-handed heavy sword, Tyris Flare is the only female of the group and carries a long-sword and Gilius Thunderhead is a dwarf armed with a sleek double axe. Each hero can also summon elementals to the party's aid - Ax posses the powers of the Earth, Tyris the powers of the Fire and Gilius the powers of the Lightning - and the more magic potions they collect and use, the more destructive the magic spells become. Another unique twist of Golden Axe is the ability given to the players to ride beasts, as long as their original owner can adequately be knocked off their ride first. All the rideable beasts come with special attacks, some use simple tail whips whereas others can breathe jets of fire. Golden Axe consists of eight stages but is single-player only.
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Golden Axe - Arcade The original Golden Axe arcade game was released by Sega in 1989 and instantly became a smashing success (picture on the left). The game was designed by Makoto Uchida who also created the unique Jūouki (aka Altered Beast) in 1988, and both games do indeed share a little in common. Since its release, Golden Axe has appeared on numerous home systems - Megadrive (1989), Master System (1989), Amiga (1989), CPC (1990), ZX Spectrum (1990), Atari ST (1990), PC (1990), Commodore 64 (1990), PC Engine CD (1990), WonderSwan (1992), Sega CD (1993) and so forth. A sequel, called Golden Axe II, was released exclusively for the Megadrive in 1991. The same year, an odd action/RPG called Ax Battler: Golden Axe Densetsu (aka Ax Battler: A Legend of Golden Axe) was released for the Game Gear and featured Ax Battler. Another oddball was Golden Axe Warrior released for the Master System which is an action/adventure game in the likes of Nintendo's Zelda and Hudson Soft's Neutopia. Golden Axe Revenge of Death Adder - Arcade The true sequel to Golden Axe was released in the arcades in 1992 - it was called Golden Axe: Revenge of Death Adder (picture on the right) and despite its exquisite craftsmanship, it was never ported to any home systems. Instead, Golden Axe III was released for the Megadrive in 1993 (Japan only). As a side note, both Golden Axe II and Golden Axe III were later included in the Sega Megadrive Collection released for the Playstation 2 and PSP released in 2006. The next Golden Axe title was the versus fighting arcade game Golden Axe: The Duel released in 1994 and also later ported to the Saturn. Finally, Sega resurrected the franchise in 2008 with Golden Axe: Beast Rider for the Playstation 3 and Xbox 360. As a side note, a full 3D remake of Golden Axe was released by Sega in 2003 for the Playstation 2 as part of the Sega Ages 2500 series - it is however really average and doesn't come anywhere near the original arcade game.


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This PC Engine version of Sega's classic is a unmitigated disaster and probably one of the worst Golden Axe port ever released. The original arcade game was a great and fun multi-player game and this PC Engine conversion sadly fails in all kind of ways. Graphics are overall unimpressive and rather coarse, the two-simultaneous player mode is gone, but the worst offender has to be the gameplay. I sometimes wonder - was the game consciously sabotaged so it wouldn't have any effect on the sales of the Megadrive version released a year earlier ? It could have been an excellent port, the PC Engine hardware being capable of so much more that it was being asked by Telenet. Only the CD quality soundtrack and the exclusive animated introduction sequences (one for each fighter) give any meaning to this game, everything else just screams of missed opportunity.

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