Golden Axe (Master System Review)

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What Garth wouldn’t do for a much bigger sword right now.

What Garth wouldn’t do for a much bigger sword right now.

Death Adder has captured the king and his daughter (oh no!!!) and he’s found the golden axe (double oh no!!!!) and it’s up to our hero to stop him by slaying all men, women and children (well, weird tiny elf things) that stand in his way. Golden Axe is a standard scrolling beat-em-up which initially looks pretty good.
Our hero is well defined and the animation when swinging the sword is smooth.  Walking and running look less elegant but that’s nothing compared to the poorly designed enemies. Everything else in Golden Axe looks half baked, some of the levels are well detailed while others wouldn’t look out of place in Legoland.

 

Stealing his hog roast wasn’t enough, they had to whizz on his bonfire too

Stealing his hog roast wasn’t enough, they had to whizz on his bonfire too

The collision detection is poor with the sword not connecting with the other sprites a lot of the time.  You also have to be completely parallel with another sprite in order to hit them.
This can be extremely frustrating especially when surrounded by multiple enemies who have no regard for queuing systems.  A neat way to deal with multiple enemies is to use magic, the type of which you can choose at the beginning of the game and charge up by punting aforementioned tiny elves for potions. This feature plus the ability to mount giant lizards and dragons to use their fire breath or tail whip makes a lot of Golden Axe, fun.

 

Gina needed a nap, the boys had to jump start the lizard themselves

Gina needed a nap, the boys had to jump start the lizard themselves

The learning curve is good, the first couple of levels ease you in and the map feature in between levels is a nice touch.

 

However, later on, the game gets very difficult and the fact that only one continue is available means you have a mere 6 lives plus any health you get from elves.  Due to the hack ‘n’ slash nature of the game it’s very difficult to pick up again once you die. You will also tire of the awful sound – Tupperware bongos would sound more realistic.

A decent kickstart for this genre on the Master System but leaves much to be desired.

 

golden-axe-review

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