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Golden Axe: The Revenge of Death Adder (Arcade) artwork

Golden Axe: The Revenge of Death Adder (Arcade) review

"The testosterone-powered sequel"

Golden Axe The Revenge of Death Adder is the arcade sequel to the famous SEGA beat'em up and drastically different from its 16-bit Genesis sequel. The game comes back in a huge way as well, amplifying the action and looks of its predecessor and having quite a lot of different enemies added to satisfy your lust for a challenge. The game also would increase its number of players playable up to four characters to choose from. Each character playing quite different from each other as well.

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Set some years after the first game Death Adder comes back to seek vengeance upon those who defeated him, finding only Gillius Thunderhead who spears his own band of heroes to once again lead the fight towards the evil warlord. The new characters taking the mantle of the previous ones are Stern, a barbarian with a huge sword who closely resembles Ax Battler, Dora, a female centaur who can shift into a normal human when riding on monsters, Trix, a halfling-looking character with a trident and who can heal others by using his magic, and finally Guoh, a giant who carries old Gillius on his back while using his axe to decimate enemies.

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New techniques to fight enemies make themselves present in the sequel. You can now pick up fallen enemies from the ground and toss them away, or you can clobber them up when they get up trying to recover after being knocked down. Players can also perform team-up moves like a massive pile driver using all four characters on a hapless enemy. Sprites on this game are massive, giving this sense of realism whenever you engage foes in combat, combined with its incredible soundtrack and satisfying cries of despair when you defeat them, making the sequel a massive improvement over the original in terms of gameplay.

Magic is now limited to one level of attack rather than upgrading it with various potions you collect. You may collect more than the required number of potions to summon your powerful magic, leaving the rest in reserve until you get enough to cast once more. New mounts appear replacing ones from the previous game including giant scorpions, praying mantis, and skeletal dragons. In addition to said mounts you can also carry wooden contraptions that fire arrows and stone along, all which makes it easier to increase your chances in advancing through your quest. Food items are also back to replenish health, and are also presented in a variety of ways including drumsticks, steak, and treasure you can find.

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Like any other quarter-muncher of yesteryear, you will die quite often when surrounded by numerous foes who aren't shy of wanting you out of their master's way. The number of deaths you receive will affect its overall score presented after a game over, or when finishing the game. The game can also branch out to change your own path towards Death Adder's castle, giving the game additional replay value. There is no wrong way chose being its difficulty would not lessen regardless of where you travel. Boss battles are massive and you will at times fight twice the boss characters in certain stages.

One thing that I personally enjoyed was the last stages of the game, raising various points of Death Adder's castle which is shaped like his body, leading to its head at the top where you finally confront him. Doing all this on the back of a massive dragon is quite amazing.

Unfortunately there has never been any ports of this massive title, the Genesis going its own way with sequels that have no connection to this game. The sole transition to anything close to a port is to an Astro City Mini arcade, along with the first Golden Axe.

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Would had been a lot better if this game could had been ported to the SEGA Saturn or even the Dreamcast as a compilation back then. As is you could only play this game in way you could until SEGA would grace us with a virtual console release or anything like it.

Yes, Golden Axe The Revenge of Death Adder is a great experience to play through, one that deserves much recognition among SEGA's titles overall.

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Community review by CptRetroBlue (July 19, 2020)

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