1990 – Golden Axe


Golden Axe


Developer(s) Sega (AM1) (arcade)
Sega (AM7) (MD/Genesis)
Publisher(s) Sega
Designer(s) Makoto Uchida, Takosuke, Moto Cbx1000, Ham Tak, Waka (Mega Drive)
Composer(s) Tohru Nakabayashi, Y. “Dolphin” Takada
Series Golden Axe
Platform(s) Arcade, Mega Drive/Genesis,Master System, DOS, Amiga,Atari ST, Amstrad, C64,Handheld, Mobile, iOS,PCE-CD, VC, WonderSwan,XBLA, Spectrum, PSN, Cloud(OnLive)
Release date(s) Arcade – June 1989
Mega Drive/GenesisJP December 23, 1989, NA 1990, EU November 30, 1990

Mega Drive/Genesis (Virtual Console)- NA November 28, 2006, JP December 2, 2006, PAL December 8, 2006

Arcade (Virtual Console)JP June 23, 2009, PAL September 18, 2009,NA October 26, 2009

Genre(s) Hack & slash, Beat ’em up
Mode(s) Single-player,2-player Co-op,Duel (home ports)


Liam:  Rather aptly I believe Golden Axe is the beginning of what I consider to be the ‘Golden Age’ of console gaming – mainly because it was the best time for me as a child to play video games.

Golden Axe brings back great memories for me as there was a GA arcade machine in the fish and chip shop near my house and if I was really lucky I was allowed to put 20p in for a game while we waited for Fridays dinner to be cooked. Mostly I just stared wistfully at the looping demo screen which would show me the levels I could never be reach even when I did play the game. When I eventually had my own Sega console at home, GA was loved for having a great 2 player coop mode and the worst sound affects in games. How the hell does hitting someone with an axe make a ‘fricken fracken’ sound? The game itself is pretty simple, to the point where I found the single player mode rather dull. The best thing about the game is teaming up and screaming at your partner as he takes all the health and magic only to waste them. I think Joel will be doing a lot of screaming at me.

I think we might even be able to beat the game in under an hour, it’s certainly possible. More likely we will run out of time agonisingly close to the final boss. Anyway… dibs on the dwarf bwahahahaha

Joel:  What a cracker! The hardest part of this game was, when in two player mode, making sure you got to play as Gilius Thunderhead before your buddy beat you to the cut. If you didn’t get to him first, you might as well turn it off – or at least that’s how it felt in those days. I can imagine this being the first occasion Liam and I come to blows on the night, luckily Rachael will be umpiring though and should be able to separate us.

This is a side-scrolling fighter, one of my favourite genres of games, wherein your protagonist must journey across various perilous landscapes fighting all manner of beasties from angry Amazons to reanimated skeletons. Each level has at least one “boss” – these chaps are generally massively tall compared to everyone else, have unbelievable reach and are capable of removing an entire health “block” in one strike. By about the third level you will start seeing a mid-level boss as well as an end one, just to add to your ire. As you go about, you will occasionally meet these little imp-like fellers whom you kick about the place as they drop magic potions, the more of which you collect, the stronger your special magic attack will be when called upon. Each protagonist has a different level of magic wielding ability, with Gilius being the least magically inclined and the Amazon lady whose name I don’t even know being the most. Magic is clearly for girls, I’ll take the giant axe, thank you very much. You also occasionally get imps who drop a piece of meat which allows you to recover a unit of health, which is nice. This was one of the first games I managed to complete without the aid of a game genie or cheat codes, so I will always remember it fondly. It also has, alongside the standard co-op mode, as VS battle and a couple of single-player variations. I’m really looking forward to this one, I still play it quite often as I have it on various modern consoles so I think at least to begin with, I will have the advantage. I’m also really hoping we get to see the ending sequence as it’s pretty cool!


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