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Golden Axe

The epoch of the side-scrolling genre was during the reign of the Genesis. With that, the console released countless games that will live long in our memory. Double Dragon, Bad Dudes, and Forgotten Worlds were conquering and spreading with sequels, as the genre relied on repetitive gameplay. Golden Axe came to compete and hopefully add new elements to make the game, as well as the genre, more appealing.

The game allowed the player to select one of three characters. A Viking (filling all stereotypical attributes), a Gladiator (with a striking resemblance to Conan: The Barbarian), and an attractive “Huntress” type character. The adventure crosses over eight different levels and multiple bosses, though immediately you will stumble upon an endless void.

Ultimately the game is addicting featuring numerous enemies and fast-paced action. Although entertaining while playing the game by yourself, the climax of joy is illuminated while playing with a friend. The general downside to all side-scrollers is the lack of including multiple branches of action. Golden Axe fails to change the frustrating standard set by others, offering the same kind of excitement as clones of its type. Soon, you will find yourself searching for other channels of fun, instead coming up empty on each attempt.



Not taking anything from its initial purpose – to please gamers with fast-paced action – the game practices what it preaches. Golden Axe, like many other games during the 16-bit era, was intended to appeal to certain aspects of a genre. Today, games mix and tie in multiple elements of different genres to create a complete experience. That gift was not yet given during the time of its release, but there are no attempts of innovation.  Simply a play on what has been accomplished.



Golden Axe will live on as a classic due to its popularity with gamers during the early stages of console gaming. There weren’t multiple genres to rely on, rather two major ones (RPG and Side-scrollers). Which is why side-scrollers have become virtually extinct making way for a much “harder to please” generation of gamers.


Eric “element” Lahiji

(May 19, 2003)


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