Golden Axe

by David Shea, Jason Green, Sound Images, Dermot Power
Virgin Games Ltd
Crash Issue 84, Jan 1991   page(s) 72

Virgin Games

Death Adder is to happy families what Nicko is to Metros - absolutely lethal! There's nothing he likes so much as knocking on people's doors, introducing himself, then lopping off some heads. His latest deed of unabashed badness is stealing the fabulous Golden Axe which, for centuries, gave power to the land of Yuria. Now Yuria is crawling with Death Adders evil henchmen!

Three brave people have decided enough is enough and you take your pick or which to control (a second player can also join in the fun). Axe Battler is a muscle-bound barbarian whose favourite weapon is a hefty broadsword. Gilius Thunderhead is a feisty dwarf who carries a massive axe: he's quick on his feet and has a pulverising headbutt. Tyris Flare's favourite move is a shoulder block and she carries a sword just like the barbarian.

Each have been blessed with magic powers: Gilius commands lightning, Tyris fìrestorms and Battler explosions. All these can only be activated by getting potions from imps who run across the screen at bonus stages. Each time you hit one you get a potion, increasing the power of your magic when used. Imps also drop food to restore energy.

Each of the main :characters has a staggering number of moves, including two walking speeds (push right twice in run), piledrivers where you leap up to make lethal downchoppinq blows, kicks and so on. There's also two types of dragon to ride on, one breathes fire while the other spits lethal energy. They're also fast, can make crunching headbutts and disappear after just two hits! The game pits you against ogres with spiked clubs, amazon women, axemen, skeletons and hulking end-of-level baddies such as Sumos and ultimately the Death Adder himself. Each opponent takes a different number of hits to completely destroy and the more powerful the blows, the quicker the enemies fall.

Golden Axe is incredibly fast, the characters zip around the screen like nobody's business! The characters and backdrops are very colourful, but tend to be a bit on the garish side. Most of the combat moves from coin-op have been included and they're needed because when you're faced with three or four bad guys on screen at once you need to be mobile and vicious! I liked the arcade version and this is a good conversion of a very playable hack and slash game!

MARK [85%]

Golden Axe is another beat-'em-up in the same style as Renegade, or practically any ninja game. What makes this different is the choice of characters you have and the abundance of colour in every level. You can choose between three characters and they all seem to possess the same fighting skills. Detail in the graphics is a little lacking: a large red blob stuck to the back of the girlie hero is not what I'd call a good hair-do! Golden Axe is an OK beat-'em-up, but best suited to those who know the coin-op.
NICK [68%]

Presentation: 80%
Graphics: 70%
Sound: 75%
Playability: 72%
Addictivity: 71%
Overall: 76%

Summary: Fans of the arcade original will enjoy playing this more than the uninitiated.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

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