Golden Axe

Sega Master System

Review by Matt Paprocki



Graphics: 9.5

Sound: 8.5

Gameplay: 6.5

Overall: 7.5

Ok...Your about to go into battle during the middle ages. You'll be carrying a nice, rather large broadsword. You'll be going up against multiple adversaries, all ready and willing to slice and dice you into multiple pieces until you are no longer. My question is this....Why would you go into the battle only wearing briefs and a pair of boots?

Besides the obvious lack of logic at times, Golden Axe is an undeniable classic in our industry. Still to this day, it's one of the few beat-em'-ups to be solely weapons based. The Genesis rendition is probably the most well known, but the SMS version more than holds it's own - with a few minor issues that bring it down a few points.

First and foremost, the lack of a 2-player mode is jarring. Nothing is more fun than beating the crap out of enemies with a pal, but you'll have to bring them along in the Genesis version. The second issue is the inclusion of only one selectable character. Even more stunning is the choice: Tarik, the Fabio-looking guy referenced above. Come on, everyone picks the axe wielding Mr. Thunderhead when they play Golden Axe. Honestly: Well dressed axe-wielding bearded midget or brief wearing hunk? Yeah, thought so.

Looking past these issues, this is easily one of the better looking Master System games out there. There's a ton of color being pumped out here, but you'll pay for it with slowdown. When your the only character on screen, you run at a frantic, maybe even uncontrollable pace. Once your challenged, the speed is slashed in half. However, this is actually a good thing. If this game constantly ran at the speed it does when your going solo, it wouldn't be playable. Flicker is surprisingly absent, even during the magic attacks (which are all selectable from the start of the game which kinda makes up for the lack of characters....ok, not really).

The controls tend to be a bit unresponsive (most likely due to the slowdown) but with the classic theme music blaring away in the background, you should be able to ignore the issue. Though the screams of those dying at your feet are missing, it's probably for the better. Digitized voice is not something the Master System is known for and this way you can appreciate the soundtrack that much more, without interruption.

Considering everything, this is more than a satisfying port. The slowdown is certainly disappointing, but the lack of selectable characters and 2-player mode really hurts the overall package more than anything else. If your going to play Golden Axe solo, this isn't a bad choice, but if you own the Genesis version, go that route instead. Great graphics though, and a great game to show off the system's power.


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Last updated: Wednesday, December 10, 2003 02:25 PM