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Golden Axe (Genesis) artwork

Golden Axe (Genesis) review

"Say hello to Death Adder Jr."

I have some reservations when it comes to home conversions of Arcade classics, especially with those by SEGA on their own systems due to the fact that at times it leaves a lot to be desired when they boast about how they do what that other certain gaming company couldn't. However in the case of Golden Axe such ports are actually well made, something I wish they could had worked just as hard to give such experiences to other titles like Altered Beast for example. Of course this does not mean the Genesis port is flawless either, but it’s sure a lot more playable than most.

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The Duel

The port offers a few modes of play including beginner and arcade, along with the duel, on which you are pitted against a certain number of matches including various enemies with one life and rated as you would when playing arcade/beginner at the end. Beginner mode its more like a training session allowing the player to go through about half the stages than the entire game, ending with a battle against a color swapped of Death Adder in the end. The mode also cuts off cutscenes and allows you to halve the use of magic use without affecting its powerful effects on enemies. Arcade as you would expect is the whole game, albeit with a few modifications like cutting off sections of stages, enemy placements, and other cosmetic changes that could not be ported from the Arcade original.

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Options don't offer much

Enemies here do not turn to stone after defeated, simply vanishing and on my opinion, having a more dire effect than seeing them otherwise. One positive about this conversion would be that boss characters do not have the ability to toss you away when getting close to them, making it for a bit more of a fair advantage when fighting them. Another exclusive feature to the home port is the addition of an extra stage after defeating Death Adder, battling tougher enemies, dealing with perilous terrain full of pits, and facing another color swapped Death Adder enemy who is VERY unfair in terms of hitting you with any other magical power including the huge dragon Tyris Flare can summon at will after knocking you down.
It’s more likely that you would spend most of your continues here than through the entire thing.

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Death Bringer is a jerk.

Options menu here include setting the number of life bars you can get (up to five max,) a sound test, and button configuration, not too much to go around but then again the difficulty settings are at the title screen to begin with at any rate. The music is one of the things that are pretty well adapted on this port, and the gameply is a bit loose, but still playable enough to have fun and call it overall a great conversion by all means. An annoying factor would be that whenever you are cornered with a beast at your side, your character will immediately attempt to mount it while the enemy will continuously knock you down till you find a way to escape such predicament. In the original Arcade enemies would pause for a brief moment as you would get on said mounts, giving a fair sense of safety during its animation. If anything this would be the equivalent of guiding a brainless AI character to their doom by staying on a safe portion of a pit while they just fall off.

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Introducing Death Adder Jr.

Golden Axe on the Genesis would be a fine addition to your classic 16 bit SEGA collection, along with most of other conversions from their excellent Arcade series. While its apparent its changes from said Arcade, it is still a well made port that will no doubt make you happy that it came out almost flawlessly overall.


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Community review by CptRetroBlue (August 29, 2020)

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