4-One Retro Corner: Golden Axe

golden axePrepare for intense nostalgia as we look back at one of the more well known side-scrolling, hack and slash games from the 80s; Golden Axe.

Golden Axe was developed and published by SEGA and released in 1989 in arcades. Just a few months later the game landed on SEGA megadrive and soon after, on many other systems. The main developer of Golden Axe, Makoto Uchida was also involved in the creation of Altered Beast, another side-scrolling beat em up from SEGA.

The game has a typical medieval fantasy setting and is based in the land of Yuria. Some evil doings are going down (of course), and the bad guy, known as Death Adder has captured the King and his daughter and locked them in their castle. Death Adder also finds the Golden Axe which is an important, magical emblem or Yuria. He then threatens to destroy the royal family and the axe unless he’s made ruler of all of Yuria (classic bad guy).

golden axe charactersThree warriors are tasked with saving the day.  Gilius Thunderhead is a bearded battle dwarf with obligatory axe hailing from the mines of Wolud. His twin brother was killed by Death Adder’s soldiers. Ax Battler is the scantily clad, muscle bound barbarian with a broadsword. He is out for revenge after Death Adder took the life of his mother. Finally, Tyris Flare is a longsword wielding Amazonian with a vendetta whose parents were both killed by Death Adder.

The warriors set out and rescue the people of Turtle Village which is on the shell of a giant turtle. The turtle carries our heroes across the sea where they then hitch a lift on the back of a big eagle to the King’s castle. Here they meet Death Adder who they must defeat to save Yuria. There was also a second boss to beat called Death Bringer, who when defeated allows the heroes to claim the Golden Axe and become immortal.

Gameplay is classic side-scrolling beat em up style with magic, hacking and slashing! How could you not like that eh? On your quest to defeat Death Adder you will fight a number of his minions including skeleton warriors, knights and burly looking men. Potions can be collected to allow you to use magic which could be obtained by kicking the crap out of little goblin things with bags. Each character had a different kind of magic with the dwarf casting lightning spells, Tyris casting fire magic and Ax Battler casting earth magic. There were also mounts that you could ride and battle with that could be obtained by knocking the enemy off or just sitting around.

This was a game I used to play two player with my father and I have many fond memories of the game, from the characters, to the colourful graphics to the music. Golden Axe is one of those games that transports me back to my childhood and will remain a firm favourite. Have you any memories of Golden Axe? Tell us  about them in the comments.

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