Golden Axe wasn’t technically a launch title for the Genesis when it was released in 1989, but it certainly was one of the early titles that helped sell consoles. Golden Axe, like Altered Beast, is a side-scrolling beat ’em up arcade port that the Genesis specialized in early on. I remember playing Golden Axe a few times in the arcades but don’t have the same quarter feeding memories of that game as I do Double Dragon or Gauntlet. The most I played Golden Axe around the time of release was after a friend owned it for his Genesis in the early 90’s. It made for great multi-player co-op play but still plays well as a solo player game as I discovered after purchasing a copy for my collection.
The cover art couldn’t be any cheesier but the game play is classic late 80’s arcade style. You fight your way through a cadre of enemies and once you defeat that group, you are allowed to advanced to the next screen. I remember scrambling to climb on top of the fire breathing dragons before my friends and either trying to avoid hitting them with fire, as you could harm your teammate, or intentionally hitting them out of sheer adolescent malevolence. I also enjoy kicking the little elfin thieves to replenish magic during level breaks.
I’ve only beaten the game as a co-op experience, as it is fairly difficult to get through as a solo player. The challenge is appropriate in my opinion, not too hard and not too easy. Being such a simple yet fun game with responsive controls and satisfying gameplay, it’s a must have for Genesis fans and won’t break the bank to own a copy.
Currently in my collection: Cartridge only
Wish list add:
- Box and manual for Golden Axe
- Golden Axe 2
- Golden Axe 3