[ Throwback Thursday ] Golden Axe

First introduced to North American arcades in June of 1989, Golden Axe was one of the more well-done and well thought-out beat-’em-ups of its time, in a genre that didn’t really pick up speed until a couple years later. You had three characters to choose from in your fight against the villain only known as Death Adder: a Conan the Barbarian ripoff, an Amazonian woman, or an axe-wielding dwarf. Each character had a short story to tell as to why they came together to defeat the Death Adder but the goal was simple: go through several stages in a concerted effort to defeat the villain and its minions.

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While I played this game, mostly, alone when it was in arcades, I didn’t really get into it until I got the game for the Sega Genesis later that year. I found it much easier to justify putting more time into when I wasn’t using up my allowance to play it and, at the time, I had constant player twos in my life that shared the Genesis with me so it was a whole lot more fun. Of course, the game took a bit of a dive in terms of graphics but the premise and the gameplay mechanics were, for the most part, there, which was quite a great thing at the time; not many games got the pleasure of saying that it was a near-perfect arcade port.

The game was universally praised on nearly all the platforms it was released on and it sold pretty well, prompting a series of sequels in arcades and on the Genesis, as well as bringing about a few spin-offs and some sweet merchandise. This was one of those rare franchises that only ever got better with each release and never stuck around for long enough to see its quality go downhill, which is pretty unique among widely popular franchises, though some will say Golden Axe III didn’t live up to the standards of the franchise.

Was I ever good at the game? Eh, depends on if you catch me on a good day and whether or not I have a decent second player with me. Playing solo, I can get through about a third of the game, no problem, but after that it starts getting increasingly harder and I don’t think I’ve beaten the game in a single sitting in many, many years.

What are your feelings on Golden Axe? Did you get to it at the arcades? Or were you into it mostly on the Genesis?

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4 thoughts on “[ Throwback Thursday ] Golden Axe

  1. I had golden axe on the master system so count yourself lucky on the visual side. Still I loved this game and always enjoyed the challenge, it was one of the first games I picked up after purchasing a mega drive years later. I may have to revisit this and post.

    • The first game always feels like the best. Going over them for the purposes of this article just had me going back to the Genesis version the most because I had more memories attached to that one. I played a lot in the arcades but I didn’t always have the quarters to play. Let me know what you think! I’ve never played any of the Master System Golden Axe titles; I haven’t even SEEN the spinoffs.

      • Master system wasn’t that popular in the US so I gather, it’s a shame because it was a quality system and my first console. Il have a read through of your blog at lunch.

      • I loved some of the exclusive Master System titles but I have no idea what the popularity was when it was out in North America as I was very young, then.

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